This month’s column includes MAKING BOOKS, highlighting our upcoming slide talk and book signing featuring Violet Isle and three other books, TWO QUOTES from noted book publishers Lesley Martin (Aperture) and Darius Himes (Radius) about the future of the photo book, and, lastly, TWO LINKS, which is a farewell to photographer Larry Sultan who died last month.––Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
MAKING BOOKS: SLIDE TALK AND BOOK SIGNING
This Thursday, join us for a slide talk featuring four of our books and two unpublished projects in the East Village at the Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A at Sixth Street (take the V or F to the Second Avenue Stop). The hour-long talk is part of the PROSE PROS series and will start promptly at 6:30, and ends at 7:45pm. We’ll have a few copies of Violet Isle, The Glass Between Us, and the out-of-print, Under a Grudging Sun (Haiti) available for the signing afterwards. Hope to see some of you there. –– Alex and Rebecca
For more information about this event, visit Magnum’s Events page.
TWO QUOTES: LESLEY MARTIN AND DARIUS HIMES
Over the past month, there’s been a lively online discussion about the future of the photo book, including what it may look like in 10 years and whether it will be digital or physical (you only have to visit Alex’s and my Park Slope brownstone to see where our sympathies lie: We have a collection of over 2000 photo books).
Below are TWO QUOTES excerpted from essays by Aperture’s publisher, Lesley Martin, and Radius Books’ Darius Himes, as well as links to their full comments. Alex found Darius’s perspective particularly refreshing in that it put the photographic book into the historical context of bookmaking through the centuries.––Rebecca Norris Webb
…I’m optimistic, overall, that people clearly love the physical photobook as an object. Hopefully they will continue to put money where their mouth is and buy them from publishers and small bookstores whenever possible. It’s also exciting that people are curious about pushing into new territory when it comes to bringing together images and text –– in both print and digital forms. There’s a shared sense that things are in transition and we need to find new ways of doing things.–– Lesley Martin
…Here are some ideas for “experimentation” with print-on-demand: have the book block created using print-on-demand technology and then take that block and have it bound in a cloth of your choosing at a local bindery; produce a hard cover print-on-demand book and produce a letterpress dustjacket on paper of your choice; design the book for a different trim size, print it in the larger size from Blurb and then have it professionally trimmed to your designed size—you’ll be sidestepping the limits on possible trim sizes; print two slim volumes—one print-on-demand and one using some other method—and have a slipcase or box produced to house the set; use the paper or trim sizes intended for non-photo print-on-demand books and make a photography book. These are just a few general ideas, but I genuinely hope to see more creative innovation with the book form in this next set of contest submissions for 2010 (the contest will launch sometime in the early Spring of 2010, so stay tuned).
With all of the interest in photography books and the history of photography as seen through publishing, there can only be more and more innovation ahead, which is truly exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of these discussions over the months ahead…––Darius Himes
TWO LINKS: LARRY SULTAN, A FAREWELL
I was sad to see that the photographer Larry Sultan died shortly before Christmas. Larry was a source of inspiration to a generation of photographers in the Bay area, where he taught for many years. He produced a fascinating book in the 1970’s called Evidence, which gathered a set of remarkable photographs –– largely from the archives of large corporations –– and showed them in an utterly different context, confounding our expectations of what a photograph is and what it does. Subsequently, he did a very personal –– but also unsettling –– book on his family, Pictures from Home, as well as a book on the San Fernando Valley, The Valley, in which he photographed in homes rented for the production of pornographic movies.
What I find most intriguing about Larry’s work is that it often questions traditional notions of photography, making us revaluate our understanding of the medium. Below is a link to his New York Times obit, as well as a link to a selection of his photographers from the Janet Borden Gallery in New York, who represents his work.––Alex Webb
Tags: Alex Webb, Aperture, Blurb, Cuba, Darius Himes, East Village, Evidence, future of the photo book, Haiti, Janet Borden Gallery, Larry Sultan, Lesley Martin, Making Books, My Dakota, Pictures from Home, Prose Pros, Radius Books, Rebecca Norris Webb, Resolve, San Fernando Valley, Sidewalk Cafe, South Dakota, The Glass Between Us, The Valley, Under a Grudging Sun, Violet Isle