photobooks

2015; a year in the photobook’s life

2015_year_in_photobooks_life_crop2015; A Year in the Photobook’s Life
A survey of photobook-specic happenings in the US and Europe.

Access the PDF here
Access the JPG here

This survey intends to visualise and in a sense, flatten, the many events, competitions and workshops that are taking place around the photobook right now. In doing so, a lineage — or at least a chronology — can be established, demonstrating a growth of interest and increasing institutional support in the medium.

It has been put together with the view that it will act as a record not just of 2015 but the new age of the photobook (golden or otherwise). is research is concerned only with photobook speci c events and only covers the US and Europe. is is not because these geographical areas can be seen as the home of the photobook – not by any means, but because this is both the focus of my broader research project, and provides an opportunity, through networks, to realistically claim con dence in correctly recording and listing the vast majority of appropriate events. e choice to begin with the year 2015 is similarly bene cial. While of course many events have run in earlier years, or are starting up in 2016, the single year provides a baseline from which to work back in establishing the aforementioned chronology and origin.

Only photobook-speci c events have been recorded — a choice which, if aiming to build a picture of the variety of spaces in which the photobook is present, would be disastrous. Here, art book fairs and non-medium-speci c zine workshops for example, have been excluded. In doing so it is hoped that clarity is improved and subjectivity removed.

Fairs and festivals are subject to a further limitation in that they must be multi-day events. Once again a choice of clarity and con dence and not a suggestion that single day events are not a part of the photobook world. Many single day events have been arrived at during this research, the transient and o en independent nature of which have on many occasions presented quite di erent ideas on what the photobook, and what a photobook event should be.

A list of thanks can be found on the right hand side of this visualisation — these are people who have contributed to this survey and without whom many omissions would have been made. ere are likely still some errors or misses so please do get in touch if you have any: matt@photobookclub.org. A scroll of this document will be produced in Autumn of 2016 on lightweight poster paper, if you are interested in having a copy, please email the above address.

Matt Johnston

Acknowledgements

Despite a relatively strict set of criteria for the events listed here, it was inevitable that I would miss over signi cant happen- ings. In sharing beta versions of this research I was grateful to receive help from a number of contributors. My sincere thanks to Tommy Arvidson, Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa, Ana Paula Estrada, Sarah Greene, Jose Félix Liébana, Hermann Lohss, Malcolm Raggett and Hannah Watson who all got in touch to share information. If you see absences and would like to aid the building of this resource, please get in touch – matt@photobookclub.org.

Photobook Club Aarhus, Books and the City

Great to hear from Moritz Neumüller about the possibility of setting up a Photobook Club Aarhus — something which would extend the great conversations that happen around Aarhus Photobook Week throughout the year. If anyone is interested in attending, or has any ideas/locations etc. to share, please get in touch with Moritz.

Elsewhere, on Wednesday 22nd I will be presenting the Photobook Club’s Box of Books at an exciting conference called ‘Books and the City‘ in Maastricht. Along with a discussion of the box and intent, I will highlight the fantastic variety of events and outcomes of Photobook Club communities all over the world. It is only a brief paper but will be a good way to begin a more thorough survey of the Photobook Club, its organisers, attendees, conversations and locations.

All for now but if you have not already, get your hand on max Pinker’s PDFs here and if you have other examples of free PDFs, please let me know! (matt@photobookclub.org)

The Shift?

It is silly to try and predict the turning point of the photobook – and of course there need not be one. But in cutting for sign we can surely see something is moving against the photobook – in a positive manner. I wrote about the photobook’s dull hierarchical conversations and the trend for contribution of content (and books) to a pointless cycle around the photobook for Code-X recently (a short chapter I hope to have online for free). It seems perhaps there was something in the water, or else everyone got fed up of hearing and seeing the same stuff again and again. A number of notable posts recently pick away at the veneer of the photobook scene as we see it represented by production, consumption, miss communication and poor thought.

These are some great starting points for a critical perspective…

Harvey Benge – Link
Craig Atkinson Pt I – Link
Craig Atkinson Pt II – Link
Lewis Bush – Link

In the spirit of thought over reaction, i’m not going to add much here for now but spend more time with these pieces. I will finish with this though…

Craig Atkinson comments that

The main problem to my mind is that so much photography is made with no intent. People don’t know what to do with their pictures. Naturally, they want people to see them, so they head for Blurb, or Lulu and often never speak to a printer, never consider paper stock, typography, sequence, size, fold, edit…

To which it might be worth adding that perhaps worse than those who don’t make well made books, are those who do – who speak to the printer and get on the latest trendy designer – the artist formally known as SYB? They get gorgeous paper and interactive elements, only to realise that the book costs £40, they don’t have an audience beyond family and friends, and the book says nothing other than that they value style over communication.

Oh, and if this is all a little negative. This will make you laugh…

The continuing presence of SPBH as an arbiter of the DIY spirit affirms Ceshel’s belief that self-publishing is an independent state of mind, an attitude as much as an aesthetic. “DIY culture,” he says, “is by its nature an ethic in opposition to society’s rules at large. It flourishes in environments of communitarian support, collaboration, and even informal barter economics. It is rooted in self-affirmation against a conformist and normative system … An army of young artists is undermining the greed-run system at its foundations, one page at a time.” Long may it flourish.

Photobook day in Hondarribia

Over 2 million folks reached via the #WorldPhotobookDay tag on Twitter and Instagram is pretty awesome, but this report from Gabriela Cendoya (who has a great blog, here), a collector from Spain is so fantastic to hear about. One of the goals for this year’s event was to engage with non-photobook lovers and here Gabriela has certainly done that…

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Images from Gabriela’s library

This years photo book day has been special. For the second time, it was an open house day, for all the people to come and enjoy the books.

Two friends came in the morning, wanting to see some books, planning to publish a book themselves, and looking for ideas and cool tips. It was nice seeing them and talking about their project, as they seemed to enjoy lots of books. One of them is a teacher, and we agreed that she would come back with some of her students to see some books and discuss about them. I think it is a great idea, and I really cant wait to see it happen.

What happened in the afternoon was even greater for me. I live in a rather small town, a fishermen town. That doesnt mean there is not much cultural life around, there is a nice public library and some interesting art galleries. But not much on photobooks, despite the fact that we are near Donostia, where we have a Photobook Club, and a very nice photo book shop

Well, I invited some neighbors to come and see my house and books, explaining it was a day to celebrate. None of them knew exactly what was what we usually call a photobook. Some brought nice books with old pictures of Donostia, and other beautiful places, wondering if that was all right And of course, it was! But then I showed them some of Julión Barón books, and well, that was something else! Rinko Kawauchi was somehow easier to love, and Stephen Shores Uncommon Places a very good start for a very nice and rich conversation. Nami, by Syoin Kajii, was a beautiful way to feel in communion with each others.

In the end, it was a wonderful day, for me at last, and I hope, for all the people who came. Photobooks are a world within themselves, a world to share with everybody. Thanks, and see you next year!

Gabriela Cendoya

World Photobook Day in Manila!

Great news from Thousandfold in Manila, Philippines who will be celebrating the anniversary of the first photobook with book launches, an inaugural photobook club meeting and a bunch more. You can find out about the event and RSVP here…

Along with the rest of the world, Thousandfold, as the first photobook library in Manila, invites you to join in celebrating The Photobook, born in 1843. October 14th marks the anniversary of the purchase by the British Museum of the first known photobook: Photographs of British algae. Cyanotype impressions, by Anna Atkins.

The Photobook Club Rochester ( #RochesterPBC )

Rikard Osterlund and Tracey Affleck have just launched the Photobook Club Rocherster with an opening night on October 15th at INTRA. The event is free but sign up required here. More information from Rikard below…

Come along to an informal evening all about photo books. This is the first of what we are hoping will become a monthly get-together where you might be inspired by something you haven’t seen before.

To kick things off we will talk about ‘The Americans’, Robert Frank’s groundbreaking book from 1958. You are welcome to BYOP (Bring Your Own Photobook – bought or made) for everyone to look at and chat about. Anyone with an interest in the photobook format is welcome.

Date: Thursday 15th October
Time: 20.00-22.00 (turn up a bit earlier)
Location: INTRA, 337 – 341 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA
Hashtag away on social media #PhotoBC #RochesterPBC

We have been wanting to do this for a long time and can’t wait to get a group of likeminded people together.

The organisers:

Rikard Österlund is a freelance photographer with an irrational love for photobooks, with many years experience as a photography lecturer at UCA and London College of Fashion.

Tracy Affleck is a photographer/artist and educational facilitator who works primarily with found photographs.

World Photobook Day 2015

The day is almost upon us – October 14th, World Photobook Day. For the past few years all sorts of events have taken place to mark the anniversary of Anna Atkins ‘Photographs of British Algae’ and the birth of the photobook. This year is no exception, already Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper have organised a great day at Maud Creative in Brisbane as well as encouraging all to share photobook selfies (#PhotobookDay). Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa has created the most awesome gif for the day…

…and I will be running an event in Coventry which is open to as many as can fit in the room (email matt@photobookclub.org ). There will be other events popping up all over the shop but right now there is something you can do.

I saw this and thought of you” – Share your books

It is easy to excite fellow photobook nerds with the contents of my bookshelf. Much harder to interest my colleagues, family and friends who have little interest in the medium itself – though I try, often. Many times my waxing lyrical about design and production falls on deaf ears – not that this suggests a need for further discussion and education – a more powerful force is at work here. The books that resonate are those that the reader likes – straight up – likes. It might be the project, it might be the book, it might be the photographs or the cover – who cares.

When I manage to excite someone with a photobook, someone for whom the photobook is not the perfect medium of artistic expression, I have achieved something. Not only in extending the reach of the photobook, bringing work to a new audience, but also in overcoming my own photobook snobbery. I still get something from this encounter too – the book in question might have fallen out favour and found itself relegated to the edges of the shelf, but hearing someone speaking about it passionately, and unfettered by judgement helps remind me why I bought it in the first place.

So, this photobook day, spread the love by sharing something you think someone will like, not something you think they should like. Oh, and if you get a chance, let us know the book you chose and what the reaction was #PhotobookDay.

Photobook Workshop in Casablanca

Really excited to be running a workshop with Daniel Donnelly in Casablanca this September (4th – 6th) for locals, both professional, amateur and interested. The 3 day workshop will focus on connecting with an audience through edit and design but will also feature a binding tutorial. 11831639_10152985628246835_7613163850113137134_n

Participants will leave with a dummy book and the knowledge, as well as basic equipment, to take the next steps in bringing a photobook into existence. For more information, see the event page here.

This event is supported by the DMLL at Coventry University

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The Photobook and Dance in Barreiro

Great to hear about this experimental workshop and reading session in Barreiro that looks to explore links between photography and dance. Thanks to Sofia Matos for the report and images…

24st may | Auditório Municipal Augusto Cabrita

Studies for the Impossible Body

Magda Fernandes (Imagérie – Casa de Imagens)

Studies for the Impossible Body is a series of little artist books that document the making of the Impossible Body project, developed in a photography workshop, in partnership with the photographer Susana Paiva and the Olga Roriz Dance Company, in Lisbon.

In pursuit of an elusive territory, that could be inhabited by photography and dance simultaneously, there were many dead ends and bifurcations along the way. These books are diaries of experimentation and exercise books at the same time, and they speak, through images and words, of discovery, as well as of the infinity and the poetry that emanate from the dancing body.

cargocollective.com/magdafernandes
imagerieonline.com

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The Photobook Club Reykjavik’s Inaugural Meetup…

Whopppaateee! Lot’s of people came to visit the kickoff meeting of the Reykjavík Photobook Club. We briefly introduced the phenomenon ‘photobook’ and ‘photobook club’ and than we enjoyed a bunch of nice books that people brought along. Unnamed Roads from Jungjin Lee, Disko by Andrew Miksys and Rob Hornstra’s Sochi Project were a few books among many. Already eager for our next meeting on May 20th.

– PBC Reykjavik Team

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