I’m particularly excited to announce that a copy of my essay on Photobooks published in the State Library of Victoria’s La Trobe journal is now available as a free download. Here are some details and links
The photobook: everyone a publisher?
Digital technology, indie DIY and print-on-demand photobooks have transformed contemporary photography book publishing, however the creative and innovative influence that graphic designers have brought to the artists’ book is now extending into the photobook artform.
Over recent years the photographically illustrated book has undergone a massive makeover, in effect freeing it from traditional publisher controls. Digital technologies have been the major cause of this paradigm shift due to the democratisation of photography, new production technologies, and new funding and marketing platforms. The 19th-century polymath Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the positive/negative process for photography, was so enthusiastic about the potential for his discovery that he made a prediction for a future where: ‘Every man [would be] his own printer and publisher’. It would now seem that Talbot’s prediction has come to pass. Increased public access to book publishing is particularly important for those photographers and artists who employ the camera and the photograph in their art practices.
- Photographers desire books
- A new term emerges
- A new critique forms for the photobook
- A new accessibility to book production
- The happy self-publisher
- The artist book and self-publishing
- A new challenge emerges: design my book
- In conclusion
Features a commentary on Ying Ang’s Gold Coast and photos of books by Louis Porter, Lloyd Stubber and Mimmo Cozzolino.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO DOUG SPOWART’s ESSAY DOWNLOAD
LINKS TO OTHER DOWNLOADS
- [Front matter] (pdf,276.52 KB)
- · Des Cowley, Robert Heather & Anna Welch – Editors’ introduction (pdf,105.18 KB)
- · Helen Cole – Public collections of artists’ books in Australia (pdf,617.45 KB)
- · Andrew Schuller – A history of the Croft Press (pdf,859.45 KB)
- · Sasha Grishin – Books in the Canberra region: the golden years (pdf,1011.85 KB)
- · Steven Tonkin – A defining decade: Australian artists’ books in the 1970s (pdf,461.45 KB)
- · Artists’ books from the State Library of Victoria: a photo essay (pdf,5.3 MB)
- · Caren Florance – The changing face of contemporary letterpress in Australia (pdf,493.65 KB)
- · Peter Anderson – Conceptual and perceptual: the early artists’ books of Robert Jacks (pdf,503.25 KB)
- · Marian Macken – Reading time: the book as an alternative architectural practice (pdf,1.28 MB)
- · Doug Spowart – The photobook: everyone a publisher? (pdf,523.78 KB)
- · [Back matter] (pdf,274.28 KB)
Round the [w]hole world on the 26th of April pinholers were out having fun – Making their images for the 2015 WPD. Far away from the darkroom we once had we’ve once again fitted a pin-prick in a piece of aluminium fitted to a body cap of our Olympus Pen EP-5 camera.
This is the 11th year we have made pinhole images to support the WPD project! The other submissions are listed at the end of this post.
Great to take this image of a moving subject – I used a digital camera with a pinhole to make this possible.
I have made pinhole photos with all kinds of technology from tin cans to cars but what I like the most is how direct sunlight splashes a rainbow onto the image. It’s Autumn in Australia s the two ephemeralities – light and autumn leaves were an ideal subject for pinhole investigation.
Vist the WPD Site for other contributors: http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2015/
Our Past WPD images:
HERE IS THE LINK to the 2011 pinhole video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk4vnbzTqOU
As part of its international activities for Queensland and Australian photographers the Queensland Centre for Photography participated in the inaugural Photo Independent art fair at Raleigh Studios, Los Angeles 1–3 May, 2015. The main Australian contingent consists of the wall images of 12 photomedia artists. They are Anna Carey, Belinda Kochanowska, Chris Bowes, David La Roche, Henri van Noordenburg, Kim Demuth, Kelly Hussey-Smith & Alan Hill, Katelyn-Jane Dunn, Lynette Letic, Michael Cook and Marian Drew.
An additional aspect of Photo Independent is one dedicated to the recognition of photographers who work in the book format. Called Photobook Independent the QCP curated a selection of 16 Australian photo publishers to present in the L.A. event.
In QCP media about these two events the following statement was made:
The QCP is excited to be part of this ground-breaking event as the world of photography will set its focus on Los Angeles 1–3 May, 2015 for a weekend celebrating international photography and the most talented image-makers across various genres of the medium. Numerous high profile art fairs including Paris Photo Los Angeles, Photo Contemporary, Photo Independent and PhotoBook Independent will launch their annual editions in Hollywood with additional special photography exhibitions throughout Los Angeles. The weekend promises to offer the enthusiastic art patron a plethora of opportunities to experience photography at its highest calibre.
The photobook publishers were: Ingvar Kenne, Dane Beesley, Anne Ferran, Lindsay Varvari, Rohan Hutchinson, Julie Shiels, Prudence Murphy, Christopher Young, Paul Batt, Ian Tippett, Doug Spowart, Victoria Cooper, Gemma Avery, Michelle Powell, Mathias Heng and Christopher Köller.
Interviews with the artists and photobook makers can be found on the LUCIDA Site: http://lucidamagazine.com/
Biogs on the photobook participants can be seen here: http://qcpinternational.com/portfolios/photo-book-independent-2015/
About Victoria’s Book: PILLIGA
Pilliga is the culmination of 10 years work. It is informed by the many physical, psychological and metaphorical journeys through this enigmatic place during the decade of its creation.
This book is not a topographic depiction of the Pilliga Scrub, a remote location in the Australian Bush. Rather it is a human story of lurking deep anxiety manifested as a destructive invisible entity feeding on fears of the unknown and unknowable.
A PDF of the book can be seen here:PILLIGA-redsmr
The book can be purchased from BLURB here: http://blur.by/1Q9cGhh
About Doug’s Book: I HAVE INHABITED A PLACE FREQUENTED BY ARTISTS MAKING THEIR ART …
This book relates to the experience of being a documentary photographer within the world. The subject, a deserted artist’s studio, becomes an immersive landscape for investigation. This photobook expresses a personal narrative about loss, absence, place, and concepts around the relationship between the non-human and the working practices of artists.
A PDF of the book can be seen here: I have inhabited a place …red2
The book can be purchased from AMAZON here: http://blur.by/1K65dMu
We all know that feeling when you are really getting into a book, its narrative and flow, and then you reach the point where, as the last page is turned, you wish it could go on, and on… Photobook Melbourne (PM) was something of that kind of experience. The books seen, perhaps around 300, the exhibitions seen, and the people met now all vividly reside in memory and digital capture code.
The Photobook Melbourne event took place between February 12 to 22 it was coordinated by Heidi Romano and Daniel Boetker-Smith. It was always an ambitious undertaking. Its vision was to connect international photobook world with makers and lovers of the book from around Australia… and New Zealand. This was achieved through numerous exhibitions, library displays, photobook awards, forums and workshops.
Photobook Melbourne can only be described as a massive success. The photobook community of practice needs events like these so they can band together to affirm their interest and belief in the importance and creative power of the photobook. For once, the world of photobooks has come to us, or at least Melbourne, and for that we are a stronger and more informed cohort of makers, readers, collectors and lovers of photobooks.
Some of the attendees have responded to a request for comments – others are posts from Blogs and Facebook posts…
FROM JACOB RAUPACH: Photobook Melbourne was an amazing week full of a genuinely insightful mix of talks, exhibitions and book exhibitions, with the fair during the first weekend proving to be a great networking point for the rest of the week that followed. … I felt that the inaugural festival set an amazing benchmark for the following years! Looking forward to 2016.
FROM HARVEY BENGE‘s BLOG: On a zero to ten scale I’d give the festival a ten! Visit his site for more commentaries about photobook
FROM CHRIS BOWES: For someone naïve to the world of photobooks, Photobook Melbourne was an eye opening experience. Although coming in as a virtual outsider to this rapidly expanding art scene, I sank my teeth into as many of the talks, exhibitions and book collections I could manage, and came away a lot more informed than I was going in. Personal favourites were the Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards exhibition, where the content of the books was engaging and the calibre unmatched, and ‘The Other Photobook Forum’, where in particular Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison showed that with a little creativity and business sense one can make a buck and do what they love.
FROM LIBBY JEFFERY – Momento Pro: The number of participants, visitors, books and buyers at Photobook Melbourne were fantastic and they confirmed that small press and self publishing is alive and well in Australia. The Awards and Book Fair also proved that a selection of high standard work is being created here, but a collaborative promotion and showcase of Australian photo books to the global market would benefit everyone.
FROM: ANGEL LUIS GONZALEZ FERNANDEZ Facebook Comment Back in Dublin after an amazing first edition of PHOTOBOOK MELBOURNE, having discovered tons of new work and books from Australia, New Zealand, and more -and having met a truckload of awesome people.
FROM KELVIN SKEWES: As someone that attended almost all of the events that were part of Photobook Melbourne I can only describe it as a tour de force for lovers of the Photobook. The festival opened on February 12th at the Centre for Contemporary Photography with Robert Zhao Renhui’s exhibition
A Guide To The Flora And Fauna Of The World and with a smoking ceremony by the traditional owners to welcome the festival to their land. Also announced on the opening night was the Australian Photobook of the year which was won by Raphaela Rosella for her unpublished book ‘We Met a Little Early But I Get to Love You Longer’ and I was humbled to be the runner up with my newspaper as photobook ‘Nauru: What was taken and what was given’. …
The main event for the first weekend of the festival was the Photobook Melbourne Book fair at CCP an event at was full of frenetic energy and far too many photobooks to browse let alone buy; amongst the many booksellers highlights included the infatigable Perimeter book with titles from Mack and Spector books and Anita Totha from Remote books who is doing to sterling job promoting photobooks from New Zealand. …
Great thanks are due to the entire Photobook Melbourne team so thank you Heidi Romeo, Daniel Boetker-Smith, esteemed guests Ángel Luis González Fernández, Ron Jude and the Dysturb Photo Collective, festival partners and sponsors Momento Pro, Photography Studies College, Copyright Agency and venues CCP, MGA, Strange Neighbour, Colour Factory, Neo Space, Baron Said and James Makin Gallery and to all the volunteers without whom this could not have happened so thanks to Felix Wilson, Kate Robinson, Bella Capezio, Katrin Koenning and countless others.
See you next year!
MORE COMMENTS WILL BE ADDED AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE…
WHAT FOLLOWS IS A PERSONAL DIARY OF PHOTOBOOK MELBOURNE
Our arrival on the first weekend was delayed by my recent medical incursion so we fly into Melbourne on Wednesday. Through a friend we were able to stay in an apartment right in the middle of the city and our journeys out and about were by tram, train and lifts given by friends.
THURSDAY: We attended two book related exhibitions at the Monash Gallery of Art. Badged as the ‘Home of Australian Photography’ the gallery presented two photobook exhibitions, one of images from the collection that featured the theme of books and reading and was entitled ‘Light Reading’. The other was The Natural Collection an assemblage of books by The Photobook Club’s Matt Johnston and co-curated by Lucy Johnson. The Natural Collection brings together photobooks that explore “the harmony, tension and play” that occurs in the human relationship with nature and the natural landscape.
The exhibition space was setup for readers to sit and work their way through a most interesting selection of Euro/American centric responses to the theme. Grand trade books sat next to simple fold ‘n’ staple zine-like booklets. We were there with Heidi Romano, Simone Rosenbauer from Sydney and MGA Gallery’s Education and Public Programs officer Stephanie Richter. We engaged in a spirited debate about book design; production methods and how to evaluate books.
That evening we attend a dinner for PM speakers, contributors, supporters and sponsors. By this stage it was acknowledged that the PM had been an enormous success so congratulatory statements were announced and a great feeling of an Australian photobook community being well and truly launched by this event.
FRIDAY MORNING: A breakfast of avocado, bacon and relish was partaken at a suburban street café while being interviewed by Australian Photography contributor Anthony McKee for a feature on photobooks. Morning tea with Robert Heather and Des Cowley at the State Library of Victoria and a visit to the SLV exhibition Bohemian Melbourne – a fascinating reflection on the creative, musical and arty sub-culture of Melbourne. Rennie Ellis’ photos contributed much to this history as well as poster art, paintings and the ephemera and memorabilia of the different eras represented by the theme.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: We visited Photography Studies College to view ‘The Library Project’, a collection of photobooks brought to PM by Ángel Luis González Fernández from PhotoIreland. ‘The Library Project’ aim is to collect contemporary publications based on photography to create a public resource library. We viewed many books that are not easily available to see in Australia including Cristina de Middel’s Afronauts.
FRIDAY EVENING: Later that evening we were involved with The ‘OTHER’ Photobook Forum – Artists’ Books, Zinesters and the Photobook took place. We have been working on this project for a couple of months now and we were able to bring together key practitioners from these ‘other’ photobook disciplines who discussed and provided commentary on their use of the photo in the book. The participants included photomonteur Peter Lyssiotis, zinesters Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, artists’ book maker Dr Lyn Ashby, Des Cowley from the State Library of Victoria and Victoria Cooper who stood in for Georgia Hutchison who was unable to attend due to extenuating family issues.
It was an event that stirred much interest with artists like Deanna Hitti and Theo Strasser attending as well as Momento Pros’ Libby Jeffery, and photobook makers Kelvin Skewes, Daniel Boetker-Smith and Chris Bowes.
SATURDAY: A day to attend artists talks at the Centre for Creative Photography by, amongst others photobookmaker Jacob Raupach and the exhibition FELL – Bought a copy of his latest book WEALTH. Following up with visits to the Momento Pro Australian Photo Book of the Year Award at the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive and the Aperture Photobook exhibition @ The Baron Said and a stimulating lunch with Peter and Tess Lyssiotis @Babkah.
Photobooked-out we headed back to the city by tram and had a chance meeting with Lismore artist and Siganto Artists Book Fellow Jan Davis who was attending a Print Council meeting – Only in Melbourne could strange intersections like that could happen.
SATURDAY EVENING: Melbourne White Night event
450,000 Melbournians took over the streets of the CBD – everything stayed open and performances and projections, bands and music were everywhere. Amongst other things we went to see the projections in the Dome at the State Library of Victoria at 10.30 at night – queued in line for 30 minutes with 1000s of others what a night…!
A day of traveling home to cyclone weather drenched Brisbane.
UNTIL NEXT TIME —- For PHOTOBOOK MELBOURNE 2nd EDITION….
Through documentary photography and social media Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart have explored connections with Place in urban and regional communities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The purpose of these Nocturne Projects is to capture everyday scenes of each community in nocturnal light, dusk and dawn. These images are then posted on a Nocturne project Facebook page to evoke stories, memories and shared experiences from the community.
In each project Spowart and Cooper found different ways to include community participation. In 2014, they were invited to work in Miles, a major town of the Western Downs Region of Queensland. The Nocturne Miles Community Documentary project sought to engage with the broader public to undertake self-documentation projects and skill development in nocturne photography. Both local and temporary residents who enjoy taking photos, as well as those more skilled in photography were all invited to participate. After an initial workshop, Spowart and Cooper mentored the 18 participants to create images for the project including self-portraits and daily assignments and produce Facebook reports and a zine.
To begin the project consultations were undertaken with staff from the Western Downs Regional Council’s Cultural Development team Ashleigh Campbell and Anne Keam at Dogwood Crossing to refine the project to match the needs of their community. Then centre staff sought out members of the community who could be interested in the project. Possible candidates then completed an Expressions of Interest form to provide some information on their experience and the photography tools they had access to e.g. DSLR camera, point and shoot camera, mobile phone or tablet cameras. Another important consideration was that the applicants were going to be in the region during the project to participate in briefings, workshops and shootouts as well as the final day’s zine making activity.
While numbers were limited there was a desire by the artists and Dogwood Crossing that the project accessible to as many participants and be as inclusive as possible. The one proviso was that project participants needed to live and/or work in or near Miles including the smaller surrounding towns or on properties/work camps in the Miles district.
The participants engaged with the project in a variety of different ways including:
- An initial introduction to the project and skill development workshop;
- Guided evening photography shoot-outs in the main Street of Miles as well as at the Miles Historic Village;
- Daily photo tasks over the week of the project assigned through a project Facebook group;
- Optional mentoring sessions, where required, to enable images to be prepared and uploaded for the project;
- Display of participants photos to a digital screen at Dogwood Crossing; and
- A practical ‘zine’ making workshop.
The project began on Sunday November 30 with an introductory workshop, briefing and a shootout. Progressively images were collated and uploaded to the Nocturne Miles Community Facebook page. Each day a new topic was presented a challenge and their interpretation formed into a photocollage. Communication with the participants was made through a private Facebook group page that enabled hear 24hour contact with participants and Cooper+Spowart. Some participants came into Dogwood Crossing with their photos or with requests for support in making and/or optimising better photographs. On Wednesday evening special access was provided to the Miles Historical Village for group to experiment with ‘painting with light’ and ‘projection’ techniques.
Cooper and Spowart added their images to the Facebook page as well and some visitors to the page posted stories about the places pictured. By the project’s end the page had 241 Page Likes, 60 Posts and the Total Reach was 17,771. Both the group page and the community page are still active.
Some of the photocollages that formed the 8 page Zines that were made using the Dogwood Crossing’s A3 colour photocopier. These were cut and folded into zines that were inserted into a red and yellow special edition of the Centre for Regional Arts Practice’s Artists Survey Books.
Some of the Photocollages
The photocollages presented here are examples of the image sets created by the participants. It is interesting to note that the original images may have emanated from all camera formats fro iPhone, simple digital point-n-shoot to sophisticated DSLRs.
We hear a lot about documentary photographers and student photographers travelling out into the country to create documents of life outside of the metropolis. Once on the ground these photographers seek out subjects to pursue and photograph. In this way significant documents are created of these outlying communities. However, the subject of the of the photographer’s gaze, and what is photographed, is based on the view of ‘outsiders’. The photographs they make may match preconceived ideas, and mythologised opinions, that they bring with them rather than how the people who inhabit these places feel about how and where they live.
What the Nocturne Miles project shows is perhaps that in an age where everyone can be a photographer what is important is the photograph itself. What then stands out the most is the link between the photograph and it’s authenticity. With this in mind these photographs are actual fragments of the lives of local people, whether they are from the farm, or people engaged in extractive industries, or those who work in administration roles or students at school, their voice in this conversation adds another view we can have of our regional communities.
The project was undertaken between November 21 and December 7 2014 and was overseen by Western Downs Regional Council’s Cultural Development Coordinator Ashleigh Campbell and Cultural Development Officer Anne Keam. The success of the project was also made possible by the enthusiastic support of the WDRC team at Dogwood Crossing.
What follows are more photocollages and individual images from the project
More images are on the Surat Basin.com.au website HERE
Text and photos unless otherwise accredited are Copyright ©2014 Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart