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June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: David Alan Harvey’s Reunion with a Long-Lost Subject (and Other Surprises)

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey’s artist talk on the main stage at LOOK3 in Charlottesville on Saturday included several surprises: a peek at some of Harvey’s precocious early work, images from his latest project (called Beach Games, an exploration in black and white of beach sports culture in Rio), his insistence (against much evidence to the contrary) that he doesn’t consider himself a color photographer or an extrovert–and a heartwarming guest appearance by a long-lost subject from a project he shot when he was 22. (more…)

May 21st, 2015

Winner of Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015 Has Best Title We’ve Seen This Year

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold's award-winning book.

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold’s award-winning book.

Irish photographer Ciarán Óg Arnold‘s book, I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again, has been named winner of the Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015. The award is presented by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation in partnership with MACK Books.

It was one of three prizes awarded at a ceremony on Tuesday by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation. The prizes celebrate books which have made “original and lasting educational, professional, historical and cultural contributions to the field.”

Also awarded Kraszna-Krausz prizes were Amore e piombo: The Photography of Extremes in 1970s Italy (published by Archive of Modern Conflict), a reappraisal of reportage from Italy in the period associated with paparazzi documenting La Dolce Vita. A 10,000 pound award accompanies the prize. The book was chosen by jurors from among a short list that included The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip (published by Aperture) and Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful (published by Yale University Press).

The judges for the 2015 prizes were publisher Michael Mack, Polly Fleury of the Wilson Centre for Photography and the National Media Museum’s Greg Hobson, along with guest judges Simon Baker, photography curator of the Tate Museum, and Lucy Kumara Moore of Claire de Rouen Books.

The winners and finalists for the Kraszna-Krausz books are being exhibited at the Media Space at the Science Museum in London through June 28.

March 13th, 2015

Blake Little’s Preservation: Dipped in Honey

© Blake Little

© Blake Little

Photographer and artist Blake Little’s new project, Preservation, kicked off a run at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles (March 7 – April 18) with a book also available now. The behind-the-scenes video on YouTube (NSFW) drew over 2 million views in a little over a month and a deluge of comments (690 as this was published), including persistent criticism about the use of honey and a dog as a subject. We reached out to Little via email for his thoughts on the project and the reaction it sparked online. (more…)

February 18th, 2015

Gerd Ludwig Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book of the Year Award

Gerd Ludwig has won the 2015 POYi Best Photo Book of the Year honors for The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, his book about the lingering environmental, social, and economic consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The award, part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition, was announced on the POYi web site.

Ludwig’s book stands out as a case study in the challenges of photo book publishing. Not only did he pursue the project at great personal risk, as he explained in this PDN video interview last year, but he struggled to find support. He undertook two separate Kickstarter campaigns to fund his travel to Chernobyl, as well as the printing and distribution of the book.

Gerd Ludwig: The Long Shadow of Chernobyl from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

The project dates back to 1993, when Ludwig first visited Chernobyl while working on a story for National Geographic. “From that point on, I always wanted to return,” because he didn’t get as much access as he had hoped for, he told PDN last year.

He  returned in 2005, after Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution enabled him to gain better access. He planned to return again in 2011, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the disaster. “The general media was not interested,” he said, so he collected funds for the 2011 trip through a Kickstarter campaign.

Ludwig left for Chernobyl while his Kickstarter campaign was still underway, and while he was there, the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan. That stimulated more contributions to Ludwig’s Kickstarter campaign–a total of $23,316, which was almost twice his goal of $12,000. After his return, he used the extra money to publish an iPad app titled The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

With plans to produce a printed book in time for the 30th anniversary of the disaster, in 2016, Ludwig made another trip to Chernobyl in 2013 on an $8,200 grant from Kulturwerk der VG Bild/Kunst, a German artists’ rights organization.

Meanwhile, publisher Lois Lammerhuber of Lammerhuber Editions (Austria) had approached him at the Lumix Festival of Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany. “He said, ‘I want to do your book,’but then the  distributor said to him, ‘Bad news doesn’t sell and Chernobyl is bad news,'” Ludwig recounted.

So he and Lammerhuber turned to Kickstarter once again in the spring of 2014, and managed to raise $45,571–well over twice his goal of $20,000–in pre-order book sales.

In a telephone interview today, Ludwig emphasized that the total funding he raised on Kickstarter “sounds like a high number” but only covered his expenses for the production and printing, and helped promote the project “It’s not a money maker,” Ludwig says. “If I count all my time, I definitely didn’t make money on this project. It’s a labor of love and an important piece of history that should be told. It’s a warning, a document to human hubris.”

Ludwig says he is continuing work on the project, and most recently had a story published in National Geographic about tourism inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. “There are constant surprises” at Chernobyl, he says, and it stands as an archetype of nuclear disaster. “From Chernobyl, you can see what’s going to happen to these other areas” like Fukushima, he says.

Related:
Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors

January 14th, 2015

Nadia Sablin Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

"Two-handed Saw." © Nadia Sablin

“Two-handed Saw.” © Nadia Sablin

Nadia Sablin has won the 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for her series on her aunts who live in northwest Russia. The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, which administers the prize with The Honickman Foundation, announced the award today. Sablin’s book will be published in November 2015 by CDS Books and Duke University Press.

The prize, which is awarded every two years, supports North American photographers who have never published a book-length work. Past winners have included Gerald H. Gaskin, Benjamin Lowy and Danny Wilcox Frazier.

Sablin, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, has been making color photographs documenting the lives of her aunts, Alevtina and Ludmila, for more than six years. Sablin says in her description of the project that  the women, who are in their seventies, “carry on the traditional Russian way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes and making their own clothes.”

Sandra S. Philips, curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Photography, was the judge for this year’s prize. Joshua Chuang, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, chaired the selection committee that chose the finalists for the prize. The finalists are: Victor Blue, Scott Dalton, Cate Dingley, Hannah Kozak, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, Joseph Michael Lopez, Diana Markosian, Jeanine Michna-Bales, Chrystie Sherman, Jeffrey Stockbridge and Donna Wan. Their images will be featured on the first Book Prize blog this year.

Related Article
Project on African American and Latino Ballroom Subculture Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize

November 14th, 2014

New Book Explores the Rich and Wacky History of Toy and Novelty Cameras

 

The Charlie Tuna camera,  manufactured in 1971.

The Charlie Tuna camera, manufactured in 1971, could be had for three StarKist tuna labels and $4.95. Photo by J.K. Putnam.

Early in his career, renowned fine-art photographer Stephen Shore made a project using a Mick-a-Matic, a snapshot camera shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse. True story.

It’s funny to imagine one of America’s foremost photographers out in the world making art with a Mickey Mouse head hanging from his neck. But many artists have used toy and novelty cameras. For Shore, the Mick-a-Matic allowed him to explore snapshot photography as a concept and phenomenon at a time when photography as an art form was formal and almost exclusively shot in black-and-white.

Other artists are drawn to the unpredictability of toy and plastic cameras. Photographers “love these toys, they love the authenticity of the unexpected,” says Buzz Poole, co-author of Camera Crazy, a new book that recalls the history of mass-market cameras, from the Eastman Kodak Brownie Camera, released in 1900, up through present day toy cameras. The book is a delightful look at the fascinating and, at times, ridiculous forms cameras have taken. In addition to popular and well-known cameras from Diana, Holga and Lomography, there is a Fred Flintstone camera, soda and beer can cameras, a Charlie the Tuna camera, a Looney Tunes camera that talks, and a spy camera shaped like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package. “That is just a weird product,” Poole laughs. “[The manual] tells you how to trick people into stopping so you can get a clear picture of them without them knowing.” (more…)

November 14th, 2014

Nicoló Degiorgis Wins $10k Paris Photo-Aperture First PhotoBook Award

Nicoló Degiorgis received the First PhotoBook prize from the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, the Aperture Foundation announced today. The award, which is given for an outstanding first monograph, comes with a $10,000 prize. Degiorgis’s first book, Hidden Islam (Rorhof, 2014), depicts semi-permanent and makeshift Muslim places of worship in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The book is made entirely of gatefold pages. Black and white depictions of unassuming buildings like garages, shops and warehouses open to reveal color images of the interiors of these places of worship.

In other prize categories, Christopher Williams won Photography Catalogue of the Year honors for his exhibition catalogues Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness and Christopher Williams: Printed in Germany (Art Institute of Chicago, 2014).

PhotoBook of the Year went to Oliver Sieber for his book Imaginary Club (Editions GwinZegal and BöhnKobayashi, 2014), an assemblage of years of work depicting the places and people that define various music subcultures.

Vytautas V. Stanionis received a special mention for his book Photographs for Documents (Kaunas Photography Gallery). To create the book, Stanionis printed photographs from negatives his father shot as passport photos for residents in a small Lithuanian town who were applying for Soviet passports.

Judges for the awards were Alkazi Foundation for the Arts curator Rahaab Allana; MoMA chief photography curator Quentin Bajac; designer and director Cléo Charuet; curator Sebastian Hau; and gallerist and publisher Pierre Hourquet.

Via Aperture.

November 13th, 2014

Cowboy Lifestyle Photographer David Stoecklein Dies, 65

Idaho cowboy coverPhotographer David Stoecklein, who built a small publishing empire on his photographs of cowboys, horses, and western lifestyle and landscapes, died November 10 at the age of 65, according to a report in the Idaho Mountain Express. The newspaper gave no details about the cause of death.

Based in Ketchum, Idaho, Stoecklein began his career as an outdoor lifestyle photographer shooting advertising assignments for clients including Coca Cola, L.L. Bean, Reebok, Timberland and others. According to his website, his passion for the ranching heritage of the American West led him to focus on that subject, which led to assignments from Stetson-Roper USA, Wrangler, Agri Beef, Eddie Bauer, Chevrolet, Ford, Marlboro, and numerous others. He also contributed to numerous magazines including Western Horseman, Farm and Ranch Magazine, Cowboys and Indians, and Working Ranch magazine.

In addition to his assignment work, Stoecklein published at least 28 books, among them titles such as The Cowboy Boot, Dude Ranches of the American West, The Cowboy Horse, and The Idaho Cowboy. Along with the many books, he sold cards, calendars, posters, and prints through his website.  Stoecklein also ran frequent photo workshops at his ranch in Mackay, Idaho

He is survived by his wife, Mary, and three sons.

November 3rd, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: So, You Want to Publish a Photo Book

During her PhotoPlus seminar titled “To Be Published, or Self Publish,” Mary Virginia Swanson, consultant and co-author of Publish Your Photography Book,
ran through the steps involved in producing and marketing a photo book, but again and again she returned to the questions  photographers need to ask themselves before they even consider publishing their work in a book. She asked, “Have you established an audience, and have you established value for your work?” She added, “I see photographers jump ahead before they’ve built an audience for their work.” She said when photographers describe their dream book to her, some mention special papers, large format, and special binding. “I think: ‘That’s a $100 book.’” She urged the audience to consider carefully what prospective buyers will pay to own a book of their images.

She said that photographers have to ask themselves why they want to publish: “Do you have a story you want to share with everyone? Is there a cause or idea you want to advance? As an artist, is it time to get your work out?” As an exercise, she recommended that photographers answer the submission guidelines available on many book publishers’ websites. She showed the lengthy guidelines on the site of Princeton Architectural Press, which ask for a “project description and audience assessment” in eight pages or less. “I feel that if you can complete the Princeton Architectural Press submission guidelines, you can talk to any publisher,” she said. Filling out answers to their questionnaire can help photographers refine their proposals, Swanson said, because “it gets you into the mind of the publisher.” Portfolio reviews, she noted, also provide opportunities to meet two or three book publishers who will “fire back questions” that can help a photographer articulate a book idea.

When shopping for a publisher, she said, “Understand there are small presses and major trade publishers.” A large trade publisher might have staff who can help with design, editing, production management and publicity. Swanson appreciates the attention many small presses will put into designing a book that fits the photographs, but notes that a small press “may be a one- or two-person office” that needs help from a photographer or author on tasks such as editing and publicity. Swanson says there are situations when a publisher, confident that a book can sell well, won’t ask a photographer to contribute towards the cost of production, “and may even pay a small advance.” Those deals are unusual, however. “Most publishers will ask you to contribute in some way,” she said. (For more on this point, see PDN’s article, “The Costly Business of Photo Book Publishing.“)

Whatever the size of the publishing house, she said, “author support is vital” to selling a book. Publishers “will want you to have a website and be active on social media.” While a book takes about a year from concept to binding (less if you self publish), the marketing plan has to begin much earlier, she says, starting with registering a domain name for the book project, planning exhibitions and book signings, and reaching out to potential buyers. Photographers may be affiliated with an association that would buy some copies at a pre-publication cost, or they may be represented by galleries that will buy copies to sell to collectors. Limited edition books have become increasingly collectible, Swanson noted. These are often printed in small quantities, include a signed, limited-edition print, and sell for a few hundred dollars. However, to sell these highly priced editions, a photographer needs to have “established value”—that is, demonstrated that their prints can fetch a high price.

Self-publishing gives photographers total control over design, production and marketing. Photographers who are used to managing photo productions or long-term projects may find self-publishing appealing. “Are you able to manage a publishing project? Are you able to keep to a production calendar?” She noted that print-on-demand companies like Blurb and others now offer a high degree of customization. Swanson showed images of the studio at Conveyor Arts, a production house in Jersey City, New Jersey, that specializes in small-run, custom-designed editions of artists books and exhibition catalogues, and has worked with photographers such as Paula McCartney.

Whether you design your book yourself, or work with a publishing house’s design team, Swanson recommended consulting the many resources available to learn about options for papers, format and binding. Her recommended resources include the Indie Photobook Library, which also organizes traveling shows of photo books; the site Thephotobook.wordpress.com; Aperture’s publication The Photo Book Review; the annual NY Art Book Fair; and the website of the online bookstore Photo-eye,  which includes a showcase of self-published books. If you see a book you admire, she recommended reading the colophon in the back, where the typeface and type of paper used in the book is noted. “Learn the language of publishing so when you work with a designer on your book, you’ll know the vocabulary, and be able to talk about the elements.”

Related Articles

Photographers Share Details of Their Recent Book Deals

The Costly Business of Photo Book Publishing

Tips for Self-Publishing Your Photo Book

The Value of Self-Publishing

October 28th, 2014

Blue Sky Gallery Starts Book Publishing Program to Mark 40th Year

Portland, Oregon’s Blue Sky Gallery entered its 40th year with a retrospective exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, and the launch of Blue Sky Books, a new print-on-demand publishing program that offers affordable books by 36 of the artists who’ve shown at the gallery.

Since it opened in 1975 as a collaborative project by local photographers, Blue Sky Gallery has grown into an important photography outlet with an international reputation, showing the work of both emerging and established photographers from the region, the country and throughout the world.

The museum exhibition, which includes more than 120 works, looks back on more than 700 exhibitions at the gallery by 650 photographers.

The book program grew in part from the gallery’s DIY esthetic. “We’re a very populous, democratic gallery,” says Christopher Rauschenberg, the president of the Blue Sky board of directors and the editor of Blue Sky Books. “We’re an artist’s space, and artists don’t have any money,” he adds. The books cost $18 dollars on average and can be ordered through MagCloud, the print-on-demand service owned by Blurb. The price includes a 15 percent fee for the artist and a 15 percent fee for the gallery.

The program was inspired in part by an artist who’d shown at Blue Sky, who reached out to Rauschenberg about a deal a publisher was offering him: the publisher would put out the artist’s book if he raised $30,000. Rauschenberg told the artist it was a standard deal, “but I can’t say it’s a good deal and I don’t have anything else to offer you,” Rauschenberg recalls. Other photographers had asked similar questions. Rauschenberg realized he wanted to be able to offer photographers “something else.” In looking back at the history of the gallery, Rauschenberg also realized there were “all these bodies of work that were never published as books and great shows that we had 30 years ago,” he says. He chose to use MagCloud, which he had used to make small catalogues of his own work for portfolio reviews, to create a series of books that were affordable to buy, and to publish.

By releasing 36 books at once, as the gallery did last week, Rauschenberg felt the artists could leverage their collective networks to promote the endeavor. “We’ve asked everybody to not just put your own book out but promote the whole series,” Rauschenberg says.

Community support and collective effort have contributed to the gallery’s longevity. For instance, Bruce Guenther, who recently announced his retirement as the chief curator of the Portland Art Museum, was instrumental in helping the gallery figure out how to buy the space they now occupy, Rauschenberg says. “Portland has a really wonderful spirit” in which people come together to get things done, and the local audience responds.

Rauschenberg remembers the flood of exhibition proposals the gallery received soon after they opened so many years ago. “We came in with a certain amount of a dream, and then other people’s dreams have added to it.”