Archive for September 2015
I attended Volume: Another Art Book Fair in Sydney on the weekend of September 11+13, 2015. The event was a collaboration between Artspace, Perimeter Books and the American artists’ book not-for-profit book shop Printed Matter. Packed into the Artspace building in Woolloomooloo were around 100 ‘Art Book’ makers, publishers and sellers all vying for the attention of potential purchasers. The table holders had spread before them all things book – let’s not try and get into discussions around what an ‘art book’ is, but rather celebrate the range of published products from thin stapled zines and comics, to self-pub photobooks, artists’ books and gallery catalogues, and further to trade-styled ‘fine art’ books and livre d’artiste productions.
Some of the Volume Art Book Fair table participants included:
Bloom Publishing: Lloyd Stubbers + Jay Dymock
Selling books to interested collectors and lovers of books is one thing but as is the case with the emergent trend in self-pub everyone wants to have their own book. To cater to this growing group of keen makers the program included many free forums, workshops and lectures by a variety of key makers and commentators on various aspects of the disciplines of writing and self-publishing (self-pub).
As my interest is in topics related to photobooks I attended two sessions: Why Publish and Designing Photobooks. The why-pub panel consisted of Helen Frajman (m.33), Daniel Boetker-Smith (Asia-Pacific Photobook Library), Brad Haylock, Jack Harries and Geordie Cargill and Shannon Michael Cane from Printed Matter. Attendees, of which there were around 30, heard discussions relating to the usual issues of publishing, getting a designer, edition numbers, marketing, selling and getting your work into the right hands including the international market. Brad Haylock suggested the key themes for photobooks were:
- Technologies and organizational forms
- Social relations
- Institutional and administrative arrangements
- Production and labor processes
- Relations to nature
- The reproduction of daily life and the species
- Mental conceptions of the world
Ultimately the overall message seemed to be ‘Give it a go’!
Associate Professor Christopher Stewart from University of Technology Sydney chaired the Designing for Photobook panel. Each speaker showed examples of their work and discussed design concerns associated with their books. Heidi Romano from Unlessyouwill spoke of her history in design, her passion for the photobook and her experience of the international world of book design. She cited her interest in advancing Australian photobook design as being a driver for her establishment of Photobook Melbourne. Esther Teichmann, and artist from the UK discussed her exhibition work and the challenge of bringing wall-work into the space of the book as well as her experiences, not always pleasant ones, with book designers. Tom Evangeledis, Black Eye Gallery described his interest in encouraging exhibitors at his gallery to consider a book to support the exhibition but also to enhance the opportunity for the artist’s work to be extended beyond the exhibition dates. Chloe Ferres, probably kept the most on track with the topic of book design by presenting a range of works that in some ways subvert the idea of the book being a vessel to hold photographs that express a narrative – she considers the book structure as also important to the narrative and uses a range of design interventions to disrupt the preciousness that many photographers seem to consider important when they make books.
Christopher Stewart posed questions to the panelists to draw out aspects of the topic but when asked if there were questions from the floor Daniel Boetker-Smith asked about how we can make photobooks that are more about the ‘fetish’ of the book – ‘some books all look the same – I’m interested in all kinds of books. A young photographer in Myanmar stapling a bunch of photographs together to make a book is just as important to me as some “coffee table tome”!’ An attendee agreed and responded that books often look the same as they as designed from a dummy where all decisions about the book are considered at the beginning and immutable – whereas another less formal method is the development of a book in a process where opportunities for review and discovery are made along the way allowing the book to be like a collaborator with the artist…
While some attendees attended these lecture sessions others were busy making books. The print-on-demand company BLURB offered bookmaking workshops over the weekend led by photobook self-publisher Garry Trinh. Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive presented a selection of their books at the event and founder Daniel Boetker-Smith and Bella Capezio led photobook-making sessions as well.
The biggest book-making venture over the weekend was a special project coordinated by Onestar Press who, with Artspace and other supporters including Surry Hills Print & Design Konica-Minolta, design students from University of New South Wales – Art &Design. The project, entitled ‘Book Machine’, brought together a designer with a ‘content provider’ (artist or photographer), and over the course of 3.5 hours the two work together to design a book. Overnight the book was printed and made available to its collaborative participants.
Late on Sunday afternoon the Artspace coordinators drew together a distinguished panel of erudite book critics and commentators including Brianna Munting – NAVA, Simon Barney Artist, Alexie Glass-Kantor – Executive Director Artspace, Maddalena Quarta – One Star Press, Bella Capezio – Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, Philip Keir – publisher and artists’ book collector and Nicholas Tsoutas – Curator and Art management executive. A crowd gathered to hear this discussion and celebrate this unusual project.
Towards the end of the day on Sunday I rushed around to catch up with people that I still hadn’t spoken with and books not yet seen. I felt something of the heightened energy levels with which these table holders had been operating in the preceding days. Did they sell enough books…? Did they make contacts with people who will do future business with them or provide content for future books…? Did they get a chance to check out what everyone else was doing…? Did they get to do a Book Machine project…? Buy a pie at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels or take-in the harbor, the Finger Wharf and the view of naval ships at Garden Island.
Volume: Another Art Book Fair was a major undertaking for the visionaries who conceived it and then brought it into fruition. There were so many activities, add-on events, presentations and booksellers and books available for artbookophiles in which to luxuriate. There was a real sense of community created in this art book fair that can only advance the disciplines associated with it. One thing is for certain, at least for me, is that I know I have just attended one of the most significant art book fairs to be held in this country to date. When, and where the next one will be is something we’ll await with much anticipation…
14 September 2015
When visiting the Ballarat International Foto Biennale you very quickly find out that photography is a diverse and amazing communicative medium for storytelling, information transfer and as interior decoration. The 100 or more exhibitions cover walls in and around Ballarat in places as austere as the Ballarat Art Gallery, to classic Victorian halls and buildings and boutique coffee shops. Most exhibition spaces are within walking distance of the centre of town so the visitor becomes a foto flaneur…
This was out 3rd BIFB, in 2009 we were part of the Core Program with our Borderlines exhibition at the Post Office Gallery, so it was easy for us to slip into the exhibition walking process. I might say, it rained – or drizzled, as usual. It was cold, as usual. But people encountered along the way – old friends, new acquaintances were past of the ‘as usual’ BIFB experience.
Presented below are some images from the streets of Ballarat. What follows are some images of exhibitions seen. Occasional and brief comments about the shows, (some from the program), will be given as well as a link to the BIFB Program. Get there if you can —- there’s still weeks to go with workshops, talks and tours to add to the exhibitions.
A wrap-up report posted by the BIFB Committee is available HERE
CHECK OUT THE PROGRAM BIFB Program
BALLARAT: the view from the street
We began @ Sam Harris’ exhibition – The Middle of Somewhere
It was interesting to see the translation of book images into the space of the white walled gallery.
Some great conceptual portrait work by a true master of portraits – David Williams
An amazing exhibition of large format photography with images taken under moonlight conditions. Although the photographer claims that no flash or other lighting is used in his work …
Dupont covers the walls of the gallery with a panoramic portrait of New Gineau tribes men and women. His ‘hold up the sheet’ separates the subject from the background which would imply a purely ethnographic recording. Now the subjects become art…
The Dancing with Costica series initially came about when I decided to brush up on my retouching skills. After finding the Costica Acsinte Archive on Flickr I became fascinated with the images and their subjects. I wanted to bring them to life. But more than that I wanted to give them a story (from the catalogue).
AN amazing exhibition of not just Photoshop technique but more importantly the conceptual construction of narratives and haunting places for these subjects to inhabit and live on…
Some beautiful images enhanced by the best way to make photographic images – Gravure…!
20 Books from around the world were selected as finalists for this award – some interesting works including one of my own… It’s a public vote to select a winner —Vote for mine!!!
The exceptionally cold weather and snowstorms that hit Europe in February 2012, caused traffic chaos, road closures, straining emergency services, grounding flights and pushing the death toll past 300 people and left entire villages cut off. I have documented this event in my series ‘Freezing’ capturing the distant stares of passengers (from the catalogue).
Film-based mosaics – each full width of the subject being a 24 exposure film. Individual frames are ‘wiggled’ to deconstruct the real subject. A detailled plan of each image’s deconstruction is shown alongside the finished work.
A stellar exhibition by the astronomers with cameras – Include work by our telescope here Andrew Campbell.
Marie Watt’s series After the Rush uses infrared photography to emphasise the atmospheric solitude of the lesser known gold rush sites – in a bid to remind us of a wider vibrant, though harsher, past (from the catalogue).
OH!! It was such a busy couple of days…