In my previous post, I outlined some specific thoughts related to the Photography Book Now competition as it enters it’s 4th year. There’s $25k up for grabs for the best in self-published photography books.
Beyond that, I hinted at the “extremely rich moment” we are witnessing in the history of photography and books. Unparalleled resources and tools are available for artistic expression and the possibilities for distribution, primarily of self-published books, are growing. I want to mention these a bit more in-depth.
Topping the list are the efforts of Andy Adams of Flak Photo and writer Miki Johnson, who, on Saturday, June 4, traveled to the Flash Forward Festival Boston to participate in a panel discussion that “explored the state of photobook production, consumption and distribution in the Internet Era.” They presented the results of (and furthered the conversation around) a crowd-sourced blog post on the Future of Photobooks that took place last year with bloggers and contributors from around the world participating in the flow and exchange of ideas. A fantastic video of their event is available here:
Also, Andy is compiling a list of online photobook resources on his website. I won’t repeat that full list here, but want to add some other pertinent resources and developments. (But to continue that conversation head over to Flak Photo’s Facebook page!)
I really can’t emphasize how fantastic I think this is. The brainchild of Larissa Leclair, who has singled-handedly (with an intern or two thrown in occasionally), the Indie Photobook Library is an ever-growing accessible resource and archive for self-published photobooks. Her goal is to eventually gift the collection to a major institution. In the meantime, she has been traveling the library around the continent (and is open to suggestions about fellowships and workshops for the Library).
Bruno Ceschel is to be commended for all his work in promoting the roaring river of great self-published photobooks. (There’s also Self Publish, Be Naughty, a brilliant little side show.)
The Artists’ Books Cooperative is “an international network created by and for artists who make print-on-demand books.” Simple enough. It is a membership based group of artists, in true cooperative fashion, that promotes and distributes print-on-demand books. (Membership information here.)
Foto Book Festival, Kassel and the “Dummy Award”
Each year the Foto Book Festival in Kassel awards Best Books, based on a jury of figures in the field. It also hosts a competition for photobook “dummies”, proposals for future photobooks. The jury this year for the dummy award consisted of Yoko Sawada (Tokyo), Gabriel Franziska Götz (Amsterdam), John Gossage (Washington), Jeffrey Ladd (New York), Frank Seltmann (Lüdenscheid), Andreas Müller- Pohle (Berlin) and Markus Schaden (Köln). An amazing line-up!
Supporting the overall scene
As the interest in the photographic book form has blossomed, I want to take a moment to emphasize how important it is to support the overall scene. The arts have always required patronage; traditionally it was the Church and Crown. Now, quite literally, it’s us. Just as the Internet is connecting us globally in real-time, so too must we connect with the bricks and mortar component to these resources.
That means both sending your self-published book to the Indie Photobook Library as well as purchasing books through the Self-Publish, Be Happy store. It means going to workshops and festivals and book shows. This growing, ever-morphing, loosely knit community requires our creative input and our $$$ to survive.
How? Check out these links:
Distributed Art Publishers online resource: ArtBook.com
Markus Schaden is the best bookseller in Europe: Schaden.com
Where to drool in NYC: DashwoodBooks.com
The hardworking folks in Santa Fe: photo-eye Books
If you really want to geek out for a moment on some amazing photo book spines, check out this microsite for the Robert Adams archive at the Yale University Art Gallery. Sweet!
Lastly, over the past 3 years, Mary Virginia Swanson and I have been working on a book titled, Publish Your Photography Book (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). It’s now available! And we like to think it has some useful information in it (along with 50+ contributors from across the industry).
San Francisco, 2011
(And remember, to continue this conversation head over to Flak Photo’s Facebook page)