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ANTIPODEAN Photobooks acquired by Tate

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We are delighted that this collection is entering Tate’s library collection as a rich resource for our public and for academics of photobooks in these regional areas.

.Sarah Allen
Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate

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Some ANZ Tate Photobooks

 

We’ve just completed a commissioned project where a collection of 52 Australian and New Zealand photobooks were acquired by the United Kingdom’s national collection in the Tate. Two years ago the project began as a result of our participation in the 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival and a connection with Martin Parr.

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THE BACK STORY

In 2017 we presented a cyanotype/photobook workshop on the Greek Island of Skopelos. At the end to the workshop we coordinated a visit to our friends Lachlan Blair and Anna Pritz who live near Vienna in Austria. Just after we booked our flights Lachlan excitedly advised us that we would be in Vienna at the time of the Vienna Photobook Festival.

I contacted co-ordinator of the Festival Regina Anzenberger and offered to make a presentation about my research on Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) photobooks. After some conversations between Lachlan and Regina she enthusiastically accepted my lecture offer. Through some further negotiations with Regina and Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro we were able to present the ANZ Photobook of the Year finalists on a table at the Fair.

The 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival exhibition

The 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival exhibition

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The Vienna Photobook Festival was an event of an unimaginable scale – 100+ tables of photobooks new and old, a photobook award, key identities of the photobook community and attendees from western European countries far and wide.

40-50 people including photobook aficionado Martin Parr and photo historian Hans-Michael Koetzle attended my lecture. There was quite a bit of interest about my topic and many of the lecture attendees came by the ANZ Photobook Awards table to view the books and talk more with us about our local photobooks.

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 Martin Parr looking at ANZ photobooks at the 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival

Parr looking at ANZ photobooks at the FestivalPHOTO: Lachlan Blair

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Further to an earlier private meeting in the Anzenberger Gallery and his attendance at my lecture, Parr caught up with us again for a chat on the afternoon of the first day of the Festival. He mentioned that soon there would be a public announcement about his donation of over 12,000 photobooks from his collection to Tate.

Parr felt that although his collection had pretty well covered the world the one area that was under represented was the ANZ region. He had many of the big Australian names but acknowledged that there were gaps. After hearing my lecture he felt that I would be well positioned to fill that gap. He said that he would be recommending me to his Tate contacts to assist with this issue. At first I was a little daunted, but he insisted that I would be the right person for the project. I accepted the role as it would not only be an honour to work with him on the project but also a great opportunity for the ANZ photobook community.

Vicky and I came back to Brisbane in July and both began sessional work with the Queensland College of Art. A couple of months later an email came through from a Tate representative inviting my involvement in the project. I then prepared a list of ANZ books that I thought would be suitable additions to the collection. I also reviewed Parr’s collection to ensure that I had not duplicated books on his list.

Initially I suggested that I would source the books from bookshops, collectors and the photographers and that I would receive a fee for the list development and the management of the process. I mentioned that some books were quite rare and that they would be sourced from my own library as I could replace them as they became available in the future. My Tate contact came back saying that rather than what I suggested they preferred to purchase the books from a single collection and asked, ‘were my books available?’ After some consideration I agreed to take books from my library.

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Part of my ANZ photobook collection c2015

Part of my ANZ photobook collection c2015

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THE PREMISE FOR THE COLLECTION

My curation premise for the 52 books was:

  • That these books should resonate with the Australia/New Zealand social, political, environmental and cultural space of post-Second World War to early 21st century.
  • Where possible, I have selected works that have been referenced or identified by curators and researchers for their prominence within the photographically illustrated and photobook publishing genres in ANZ.

 

In the storage shed opening boxes looking for books

In the storage shed opening boxes looking for books PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

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At this time and still today, my photobook collection is boxed and in storage. So for over a year on my intermittent visits back to our storage sheds in Toowoomba we would seek out the missing books. As we began to assemble the proposed books I became concerned about particular issues that were arising. As my collection has been built up over 50 years some of the books were not necessarily the best condition – some exhibited signs of use including shelf-wear, bumped corners and occasionally missing covers.

I wanted to be able to offer Tate the best possible condition books. Additionally, I could not find some key books that I knew I had in my collection including Carol Jerrems’ book Story about Australian women. What followed was an 18-month process of curation and research to bring together the books.

I sought out and purchased better copies of the chosen books either by online booksellers or by visiting bookshops in Australia. I contacted some of the photographers that I knew to see if ‘as new’ condition copies of the books were available. If they were what would the cost be and if possible, would they consider a donation to extend the potential of the collection. The response was very supportive with many of the photographers prepared to provide pristine condition copies of their books free of charge.

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Meeting with Martin Parr at the SLVPHOTO: Victoria Cooper

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MEETING WITH MARTIN PARR

In January 2018 Martin Parr came to Melbourne to photograph the Australian Open tennis tournament. We flew down from Brisbane and arranged to meet him at the State Library of Victoria where we had about 30 of the proposed books assembled for him to review. As only a couple of books did not fit into his collection approach for the Tate I felt buoyed by the progress. Over the next 6 months I prepared a detailed bibliographic submission and significantly documented the books. We finally found the Jerrems book in a box marked ‘Photobook library extras’ in January this year.

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Finding Carol …PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

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Packing up the books PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

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SHIPPING THE PACKAGE

The books were protectively packaged and we arranged their shipment and it took only a few days for the consignment to travel from Brisbane to the UK. After nearly 2 years in the making Tate received the books on April 12, 2019. Once catalogued they will form part of the Martin Parr Photobook Collection with the provenance being recorded that the books came from ‘The Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper Photobook Research Library’. The books will be publicly accessible in London in Spring 2020.

Pack and Send - DHL Delivery Proof

Pack and Send – DHL Proof of delivery

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ON REFLECTION

What is important to us is that books from our region are now placed within the context of the worldwide history and practice of the photobook in a significant institution. Although not a complete history of the Photobook in Australia and New Zealand it is an embryonic beginning for a broader recognition of the unique voices and stories from our part of the world and those that make them.

 

Doug Spowart + Victoria Cooper

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are indebted to those who supported us during this process. In particular Sarah Allen (Tate) for her coordination of the project. Martin Parr for his interest and continued support in providing a place for Antipodean photobooks in his Tate collection. We also wish to thank Lachlan Blair and Anna Pritz for making the initial connection with Regina Anzenberger, Gael Newton for her support, Helen and Donald Cole for their advice and storage of the books and the coordination of the final shipment, Des Cowley at the State Library of Victoria for the preparation of books to show Martin, Pack and Send Milton (DHL) for their assistance and coordination of the shipment to the UK.

 

 

THE LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS

Where the photographer has more than one book in the collection the multiple is shown in (brackets).

It should be noted that a book is the culmination of a creative process that may include the contributions of writers, poets, designers, printers and binders. In this list only the photographers are listed.

The photographer’s names are:

 

AUSTRALIA

 

Michael Amendolia

Douglass Baglin

David Beal

Jeff Carter

Beverley Clifford

Paul Cox

Michael Coyne (2)

Max Dupain (2)

Sandy Edwards

Rennie Ellis (2)

Joyce Evans

Juno Gemes

Robert B. Goodman

Marion Hardman

Alan Hirons

Douglas Holleley

Frank Hurley

Carol Jerrems

Georg Lindström

Peter Lyssiotis

Olive McInerney nee Olive Cotton

David Mist

David Moore

Charles P. Mountford

Robert Rosen

Wesley Stacey

Mark Strizic (2)

Richard Tipping

William Yang

PARR’s Australian book donation already included:

Bill Henson

J. Hurley

Frank Hurley

Max Pam

Trent Parke

 

NEW ZEALAND

Laurence Aberhart

Peter Black

Brian Brake

Jocelyn Carlin

Les Cleveland

Bruce Connew

David Cook

Marti Friedlander

Lloyd Godman

Glenn Jowitt

Mary Macpherson

Robin Morrison (2)

Anne Noble

Haruhiko Sameshima

Grant Sheehan

Ann Shelton

John B. Turner

Ans Westra

PARR’s New Zealand book donation already included:

Gary Baigent

Harvey Benge (a significant collection)

Ans Westra

 

FOR  MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOKS and other ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK activities and events follow the BLOG HERE

The Antipodean Photobook BLOG

 

 

READ MORE ABOUT THE TATE DONATION

Tate Media post about Parr doantion

Tate Media post about Parr donation

A LINK TO THE Tate URL

A PDF download of the Tate post can be downloaded by ‘clicking’ this link Tate website post on Parr donation

 

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READ MORE IN THE INSIDE IMAGING STORY

https://www.insideimaging.com.au/2019/tate-commission-for-photo-book-keeper/

Inside Imaging story

Inside Imaging story

A PDF download of the Inside Imaging post can be downloaded by ‘clicking’ this link. Inside Imaging story-R

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BUNDANON Residency 2018 – WHY ARE WE HERE?

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WHY ARE WE – documentation of a page from the Island Book

 

WHY ARE WE … Here at Bundanon?

In 2007 we were successful applicants for a Bundanon residency that enabled is to realize a major component of our individual PhD research. However we still needed to resolve many issues raised by this work and to return our finished works to be documented in the site that they were created. So in 2009 we were granted a second residency to complete this part of our studies.

While we were deep in our research other interesting and unanswered questions arose that have haunted us since this time. Although our itinerant life in the last few years has been exciting and constantly changing, we have missed the opportunity to be in a studio and a place devoted to just working on our practice.

Now this latest residency will give us time to work again at the boundaries of our practice and create the new work that has been gestating in our minds over these few years.

See our COOPER+SPOWART website for further info. (Please note the content of this page are Adobe Flash driven presentations)See relevant aspects of our past Bundanon residencies relating to our PhD research here Victoria COOPER ThesisDoug SPOWART – Thesis.

FOLLOW OUR WORK over the next 3 weeks on our FACEBOOK Page

 

A SELECTION OF IMAGES

From artists’ books, photobooks, experimental projects, artwork documentation and our collaboration made during our 2007 & 2009 residencies.

 

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SINGLE MEN’S QUARTERS CAMERA OBSCURA

 

Documentation of the Camera Obscura image in the Single Men’s Quarters

 

PROJECTIONS

‘CLICK’ to enlarge

 

SOME IMAGES FROM DOUG’S WORK

‘CLICK’ to enlarge

 

SOME IMAGES FROM VICKY’S WORK

‘CLICK’ to enlarge

 

 

TO FOLLOW OUR ACTIVITIES OVER THE NEXT 3 WEEKS “LIKE” our FACEBOOK PAGE and in “Follow” – click “SEE FIRST”

 

FB-Follow

 

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Please join with us in this exciting project…

 

 

 

LIBRIS ARTISTS’ BOOK AWARD – Cooper+Spowart Finalists

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The artists’ book TIDAL by Cooper+Spowart

 

Our artists’ book TIDAL is now on show as a FINALIST in the 2018 LIBRIS ARTISTS’ BOOK AWARD at Artspace Mackay, Queensland, Australia.

We are excited to be finalists in this Award exhibition. The awards were announced on May 26 – details of the winning works and a download of the exhibition catalogue are available at the bottom of this post.

 

ABOUT OUR ARTISTS’ BOOK – TIDAL :

 

TIDAL is a montage of fragmented imprints made from the solid reality of found objects swept up by the tide–beautiful castaways from the ocean.

These objects as image elements, no longer in their original form, are woven together as if a poem, song or dance. In many ways TIDAL relates to a ‘desire for that melancholy wonder that is the blue of distance’ from Rebecca Solnit’s A field guide to getting lost.  Or just simply it could be about the artist and their art.

It is book of double-sided cyanotype prints, when held to the light, allow for the montage of the images front and back, thus merging and unfolding the space and time of the page and the book. Reading becomes the blending of the fragments through the spatial divide of the turning page.

The video that follows gives a basic view of the TIDAL book:

 

 

 

ABOUT THE TIDAL BOOK PROJECT:

 

This project began with the collection of beach detritus at low tide after the super moon at Wooli, north coast New South Wales.

We worked collaboratively in the intense heat of Christmas Day 2016 to hand coat the cyanotype emulsion on ricepaper, expose the ‘found objects’ to the paper in the sun, and then wash-out in running water with a dash of lemon juice to create the double-sided cyanotype folios.

Over the next year we developed the structural form of the book, and finally returned to finish it at Wooli, as this state, over Christmas in 2017.

The double-sided cyanotype prints, when held to the light, allow for the montage of the images front and back, thus merging and unfolding the space and time of the page and the book. Reading becomes the blending of the fragments through the spatial divide of the turning page.

 

THE BOOK:

A unique state book of 6 double-sided cyanotype images on rice paper.

Book size 49.5x30x1 cm

The text was written by Victoria Cooper and includes a quote by Rebecca Solnit.

Folders and text:
Canson Stonehenge and Arches paper with rice-paper collage elements.

Garamond font family in pigmented inks on Arches paper.

This book is another work created in an ongoing series relating to the locality of Wooli and we acknowledge the support provided by Dr Felicity Rea

 

BOOK TEXT:

 

Frontpiece: TIDAL

 

 

OTHER INFORMATION INCLUDING THE WINNING BOOKS:

 

Category 1. Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal National Artists’ Book Award

Winner: Clyde McGill for his work ‘Witness’

Category 2. Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Altered Book Award

Michelle Vine for her work ‘Contested Biography I (quadrat)’

Category 3. Mackay Regional Council Regional Artists’ Book Award

Jamian Stayt for his work ‘Tagged’

Category 4. Artspace Mackay Foundation Tertiary Artists’ Book Award

Jenna Lee for her work ‘A plant in the wrong place’

 

LIBRIS CATALOGUE

CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE CATALOGUE

Libris_Awards_2018_Catalogue_of_Entries_brochureA4

 

SEE OUR POST ABOUT THE 2016 LIBRIS AWARDS HERE

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GRACIA+LOUISE: A whisker of light @ Maitland Regional Art Gallery

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A Whisker of Light ………PHOTO:  a hold-up of a cut-out from the exhibition’s activity table

 

A Whisker of Light

An exhibition by Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison @ Maitland Regional Art Gallery March-April 2018

Along with the recent work of artists book shown in the vitrines, there was a few wall installations of Haby’s collages and Jennison’s pencil drawn birds.

The books are based on the layering of image fragments into a visual form of poetry and shown under glass much like museum specimens. These books when time is taken to ‘read’ can stir the imagination beyond the space of words.

The wall works, All breathing, all right, are a breathtaking 446 collages constructed on to antique postcards by Haby from 2006 to 2015. Overwhelming to take in on one visit these transformed postcards are regimented into columns that disrupt a formal ‘reading’ by left to right or of the entire work at once. Instead one discovers them individually, up close and at random bringing a kind of child play or ‘I spy’ to the engagement of this work.

Across the room in a free flowing formation is a flock of birds and one butterfly in flight, All flying, all right, drawn by the sensitive hand of Louise Jennison. Serendipitously, in the gallery space at certain times of the day, a streak of sunlight falls across the wall and seems to guide the birds as a reference to the exhibition title. In this gallery space these works form a kind of habit for the reimagining of the fragile relationship between humans and animals.

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All breathing, all right by Gracia Haby

Gracia Haby
All breathing, all right
2006–2015
Postcard collages

All breathing, all right (detail) by Gracia Haby

Gracia Haby
All breathing, all right (detail of 2 components)
2006–2015
Postcard collages

 

All flying, all right, by Louise Jennison

Louise Jennison
All flying, all right
2011–2014
Pencil on paper

 

3 books by Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Disrupted and rumpled
Dim wood, spark bright
A warmed pebble in my hand

 

For further information about Gracia & Louise’s exhibitions see:

http://gracialouise.com/a-whisker-of-light

http://gracialouise.com/all-breathing-in-heaven

http://gracialouise.com/unwinking-night

 

Maitland Regional Art Gallery

 

 

 

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National Works on Paper submission – not shortlisted

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NWOP-banner

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As an artist there is a need for affirmation and justification for one’s life in the activity and practice of artmaking. Artists prepare and curate their work in gallery exhibitions to present work – and then there are awards and competitions.  Each year, as the call for entries comes around, we like many artists around the country, look at recent work and consider its appropriateness for specific awards.

There are of course thoughts of winning an award but perhaps more importantly is the opportunity to be shortlisted for exhibition and considered for purchase or collection. Equally important for us is the opportunity to connect with fellow artists in the curated exhibition that represent the judge’s opinion of what constitutes the most relevant works based on the competition’s criteria.

This year I submitted to the National Works on Paper Award an artists’ book that I had made during our Skopelos Works on Paper workshop in Greece last year. The book is an exploration of the idea of a montage of light capturing the performance of reading a book. Simultaneously the reader, the location where the reading took place and the page-turning action of reading is imaged in light sensitive cyanotype on the watercolour pages of the book.

 

Doug Spowart opens SKOP PHOTO after its creation in Greece     PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

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Here’s an image of the book:

SKOP PHOTO artists’ book by Doug Spowart

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Other images of SKOP PHOTO folder, cover and details

 

ARTIST’S STATEMENT: SKOP PHOTO an artists’ book by Doug Spowart

This book is created using the cyanotype (sun print) process as part of the author’s ongoing investigation on the ontology of reading.

The book was folded into a concertina form to eventually allow for a variety of potential readings; either extended or page after page. The author then coated the light sensitive cyanotype emulsion onto the pages of the book.

The pages were slowly turned and extended over several minutes allowing the sunlight of the Greek island of Skopelos to strike the emulsion as author performed reading.

After washing in a bath of water, an image of the Aegean light was formed in Prussian blue on the pages of the book. Alternatively, where the light had not fallen on the page – there seemed to be no image formed. But this apparent absence was a “shadow” – a kind portrait of the artist reading the book in its moment of creation.

 

Today I received an email advising that my submission was not shortlisted..

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Not a big problem for me as only 1 in 16 artworks were accepted for the 2018 awards and those names on the list are a fine group of artists.

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If you are interested the 2018 National Works on Paper finalists were:
Raymond Arnold, Peter Atkins, Alec Baker, Martin Bell, Ray Besserdin, Solomon Booth, David Bosun, Godwin Bradbeer, Kate Briscoe, Jane Brown, Jon Campbell, Susanna Castleden, Danica Chappell, Hua Cun Chen, Sam Cranstoun, Lesley Duxbury, Robert Fielding, David Frazer, Ian Friend, Dana Harris, Katherine Hattam, Pei Pei He, Kendal Heyes, Mark Hislop, Deanna Hitti, Anna Hoyle, Natalya Hughes, Alana Hunt, Locust Jones, Jennifer Joseph, Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Brian Martin, Georgie Mattingley, Mish Meijers, Viv Miller, Helen Mueller, John Nixon, Open Spatial Workshop, Elena Papanikolakis, Louise Paramor, Hubert Pareroultja, Jemima Parker, Riley Payne, Dan Price, Lisa Reid, Louise Rippert, Cameron Robbins, Brian Robinson, Elissa Sampson, Emily Sandrussi, Geoff Sargeant, Jo Scicluna, Liz Shreeve, William Smeets, Kylie Stillman, TextaQueen, James Tylor and Laura Wills, Trent Walter, Rosie Weiss, Mumu Mike Williams, Puna Yanima, Yvonne Zago, Tianli Zu.

 

Exhibition details at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery:

The opening event and award presentations will take place on Saturday 21 July from 4-6pm. An electronic invitation will be sent to you closer to the date.

 

Now I’m looking forward to 2020

In the meantime I’ll be pursuing some more cyanotype documentations of the act of reading – maybe during our upcoming Bundanon Artists Residency in June…

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A Spectrum: Photobook to Artists’ Book

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About 4 years ago during post doctural research I was involved with at the State Library of Queensland as a Siganto Foundation Research Fellow I submitted a paper concept to a call-out for contributions to a major book on photobooks being prepared by a significant contributor to the international photobook discipline at that time. Unfortunately the publishing project was never realised and the essay did not enter the critical discourse on photobooks.

Recently there has been much discussion about terminologies in photobooks and some aspects of the artists’ book are beginning to blur. I passed the paper on to a UK PhD candidate who found interest in the discussion that I raised and suggested that I self-publish the essay.  

So here it is…

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Spectrum

. A Photo Spectrum: Photobook to Artists’ Book 

.. [DRAFT@January 21, 2015]

 

The contemporary popularization of the ‘photobook’ is arguably attributed to the three published commentaries that have become seminal texts on the subject, the first of which: The Photobook: A History Volume I was released in 2004 by photographer and photobook maker Martin Parr, and photo historian Gerry Badger. Commentator and photographer Tim McLaughlin observes: ‘The term “photobook” which never really existed before Parr and Badger (most dictionaries still do not recognize it), would, within a few years, come to identify a growing industry…’(McLaughlin 2013). Interest in the photobook has never been greater. Digital technologies have emancipated photography and book publishing and now anyone can take photos and make their own photobooks. Accompanying this publishing revolution are awards, ‘books of the year’ lists, catalogues, and an auction market. Specialist online and bricks-and-mortar bookshops now service an ever-increasing buying and collector market.

Although photobook publications have aesthetic definitions for what a photobook is, the term has a lot of ground to cover. Photography writer and teacher David Campany recently noted in Aperture’s Photobook Review that: ‘The compound noun ‘photobook’ is a nifty little invention, designed to turn an infinite field (books with photographs in them) into something much more definable’(Campany 2014). But while the ‘infinite field’ may be ‘easily defined’ the term photobook can only serve as a generalised umbrella for the plethora of photobook products that shelter under it.

The definition of photobook today could include a roughly printed or photocopied zine-like object created by a child, to a blatantly over-designed limited edition book. In between these bookends lies a range of products: Print-on-demand and hand-made unique state, small editions, self-published or bespoke books, ephemeral items, newspapers, pamphlets and zines. Although many of these published forms may not have the universal distribution and commercial opportunities afforded a trade published book, they are, none the less, part of the broad practice of the contemporary photobook. Additionally many of these books occupy much of the emergent contemporary scene and tend to be overlooked as the critical discussion is usually focussed on the photobook exemplars from the past.

The boundaries of the photobook discipline are blurred by their intersection with a variety of other book genres including the expansive mediums of artists’ books and zines. As independent publishers of books, artists have for over 100 years communicated their ideas and stories using their chosen media in book form. Artists have embraced photography and the various forms of photography from found collaged photos, to screen-printing, photo etching and gravure, as well as actual silver gelatin, type C, inkjet or laser prints in their artists’ book works. Anne Thurmann-Jayes commented in the catalogue for ars photographica, an exhibition about artists and photographers and their photobooks, that: ‘In very general terms, it is possible to say that half of all artists’ books produced to date have been based on photographs’ (Thurmann-Jajes 2002:19). For that reason any discussion of the photobook needs to consider a broader range of contributors to the discipline as well as other forms of the book where photographs act as carrier of the visual communiqué.

In her essay Thurmann-Jajes also comments on the differences that she felt existed between the artist and the photographer in conceptual aspects of making a photobook. She states that:

The authors of photo books followed photographic tradition, according to which the photograph as such was decisive, becoming the bearer of meaning… By contrast to the photo book, the artists’ book is not the bearer, but the medium of the artistic message. (Thurmann-Jajes 2002:20)

In highlighting the differences in the way the photograph is used and considered by these two groups, Thurman-Jajes has identified a division may have always existed between the photographer and the artist using photography. Yet making books with the photograph as a ‘bearer of meaning’ or ‘message’ should not belong to any particular practitioner. If the photograph is therefore a universal and an open medium for all book makers then any questioning on what is and what can be a photobook requires consideration that embraces this diversity.

To ensure that the photobook remains vibrant and relevant, a flexible space for discourse and critique needs to be created that is inclusive of the broad range of authors and book forms in this medium. In 1998 artists’ book librarian, collector and curator Clive Phillpot suggested a metaphor for the artists’ book discipline as being ‘white light’ and the individual colors that made up white light as being the ‘many categories of the spectrum’ representing the broad nature of the practice. In this essay Phillpot’s ‘white light’ metaphor is now applied to the range of published forms that employ or contain photographs beyond that of the artists’ book. (Phillpot 1998:38)

Through an extension of Phillpot’s prism, this essay will propose a grouping of the various forms of the book from photobook through zines to artists’ books and their salient characteristics using individual colors (wavelengths of light). As the visible light spectrum has a rainbow of seven visible colors this proposition has seven as well. Although two additional ‘colors’, familiar to photographers, that of infrared and ultra-violet, have been added to recognise specific aspects of photography publishing at the extreme ends of the range. Each color and book form has specific characteristics and identifiers associated with it – it is recognized that many books may challenge attempts to place them within just one color in this spectrum.

The transition from the infrared to ultra-violet intentionally locates those books conceived and produced by photographers at the warmer end of the spectrum. Book forms in the cooler end of the spectrum would be principally books made by artists using photography. Placement within this spectral framework may create some interesting challenges including the divisions of ‘artist’ and ‘photographer’, and how practitioners describe themselves and their creative products.

The 9 colors and their identifiers are:

Infrared – The Deluxe Photobook

  • A book of monumental proportions approaching what bibliographers and librarians call ‘double elephant’ (up to 78cm tall for Helmut Newton’s Sumo);
  • Usually consists of a monograph styled ‘best of’, or, of a tightly thematic subject matter by a particular photographer;
  • Are limited editions, expensive to buy and have limited markets that center on private collectors and institutions; and
  • Are usually commissioned by a small number of specialist art publishing houses as opulent objects of art, design and packaging.

An exemplar:

Genesis, Sebastião Salgado, Taschen

Genesis, Sebastião Salgado, Taschen

Genesis

Sebastião Salgado, Taschen, Hardcover, 2 vols, with bookstand, 18.4 x 27.6 in., 704 pages, £ 2,500. https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/02613/facts.sebastio_salgado_genesis.htm

Viewed: April 6, 2018

 

Red – The ‘Classic trade’ Photobook

A book form in the tradition of Walker Evans’ American Photographs (1938), William Eggleston Eggleston’s Guide (1976), Robert Frank’s The Americans (1959), and John Gossage’s The Pond (1985). Characteristics of these books may include;

  • A single photograph per opening, the facing page blank and may sometimes contain a title or caption;
  • Sometimes it is a book co-published with an exhibition of the same title;
  • Simulation of the gallery experience of viewing photographs and therefore is sometimes referred to as an ‘exhibition in a book’;
  • Images in these books are carefully and purposefully sequenced to carry the narrative intended by the author; and
  • An essay relating to the work by the photographer, curator or writer often accompanies this book form – occasionally the essay may be of an obtuse content.

 

An exemplar:

 

A Road Through Shore Pine, Photographs by Robert Adams

A Road Through Shore Pine

Photographs by Robert Adams. Fraenkel Gallery, 2014. 42 pp., illustrated throughout, 9¾x11¾”. http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=DS364

 

Orange – Design Photobook (collaboration)

The authors of this form consider that photobooks are an experience that can be enhanced by the influence of creative graphic design that may include:

  • Usually is a collaboration between the photographer and a designer so as to transform the photographs into a strident work of visual communication;
  • The presentation of photographs over double pages, or being montaged, or printed full-bleed as well as being scaled variably;
  • Inventive typography and layout design enhancements;
  • High quality book production, printing, finishing and packaging; and
  • A differentiation from other photobooks by the inventiveness of the design features and the surprise that is encountered by the reader in engaging with the physicality of the book and how it operates as a communicative device.

 

Exemplars:

Gold Coast, photography by Ying Ang, co-designed with Teun Van Der Heijden

Gold Coast, photography by Ying Ang, co-designed with Teun Van Der Heijden
Self-Published, 2014. 132 pp., 72 color illustrations, 9½x11¼”.

http://yingangphoto.com/page.cfm?id=34&subid=121

 

 

Iris Garden, photography by William Gedney and designed by Hans Seeger

 

Iris Garden, photography by William Gedney and designed by Hans Seeger

63 pages plus insert, 6.75 x 9.5 in. Heavy softcover with wraps & slipcase,

Little Brown Mushroom, 2013, in an edition of 1,000.

http://www.littlebrownmushroom.com/products/iris-garden/

 

 

Yellow – POD Photobook

  • These books are usually self-published;
  • They may emulate bookstore trade books from simple booklets to grand coffee table tomes;
  • They can be produced by anyone with minimal photography and computer skills and just require access to online photobook-service providers;
  • Single book or multiple copies can be made;
  • Affordable pricing considering the sophistication of the product;
  • POD services generally utilize templates for ease of use by clients of limited skill;
  • POD books may have designer input, but due to the limited range of options for special finishing or designed-in features; and
  • Many POD book users create book ‘dummies’ that may lead to a more trade-based publication at a later stage.

 

For exemplars see works offered in the photography category of http://www.Blurb.com.

 

On Approach by Daniel Milnor, BLURB Book

 

On Approach by Daniel Milnor, BLURB Book, 13x20cm, 26 pgs

http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=ze462

http://www.smogranch.com/2012/09/26/cleveland-musuem-of-art-diy-photobooks/

 

 

Promised land by M Bruce Hall

 

Promised land by M Bruce Hall, Blue Sky Books/MagCloud. Standard 8.25″ x 10.75″. 56 pages, perfect-bound.

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/815317

 

Green – Emergent – PhotoStream* [of Consciousness], Photozine*or Insta-photobook*, Imagistbooks*

This aspect of photobook publishing is occupied by a large number of DIY practitioners accessing a range of print technologies from desktop inkjet and laser printers to affordable digital press printing and binding technologies. Content of these books could be considered a visual form of imagist or concrete poetry – they exhibit and subject and assembly sensibility that could match ‘stream of consciousness’ approaches to art. Other aspects include:

  • Usually self-authored or collaborative publications;
  • Are made in limited numbers/editions, often hand sewn or stapled;
  • The books are sold through specialist popular culture bookshops or online;
  • Often these books may be the result of crowd sourced funding and may be derived from online image storage or social media platforms like Instagram; and
  • Their locale of popularity and distribution may be regional.

 

*Names considered to best describe these emergent forms

 

Exemplar:

Conflict Resolution by Louis Porter

Conflict Resolution by Louis Porter, published by Twenty Shelves (Melbourne/Australia), 164 Pages full color, Design by Pierre Hourquet, Section sewn paperback with de-bossed cover, 20 x 27 cm, Edition of 1000.

http://louisporter.com/twenty-shelves/

 

 

Blue – Photopapers* Photomag* (broadsheet / newspaper / magazine)

These emergent photobooks take their physical form and production values from conventional print media. Other aspects include:

  • Availability through POD service providers;
  • Print runs may be small and limited or quite extensive of 1,000 copies or more;
  • These works may parody existing newspaper or magazine titles as a form of activism or commentary on print media and society; and
  • They may provide a photographer with a larger-scale publication format at a low production cost.

 

*Names considered to best describe these emergent forms

 

Exemplars: Photopaper

 

LBM Dispatch #7: Georgia photography by Alec Soth and Brad Zellar, designed by Meredith Oberg

LBM Dispatch #7: Georgia photography by Alec Soth and Brad Zellar, designed by Meredith Oberg
Little Brown Mushroom, Publication Date, November, 2014
48 pages 11.25 inches x 15 inches, 50 lb newsprint paper, Edition of 2000
http://www.littlebrownmushroom.com/products/lbm-dispatch-7-georgia/

 

 

Exemplar: Photomag

 

PIGS Photography by Carlos Spottorno, designed by Carlos Spottorno and Jaime Narváez

 

PIGS

Photography by Carlos Spottorno, designed by Carlos Spottorno and Jaime Narváez based on a replica of The Economist magazine.

Published by: RM Verlag and Phree, Madrid, 2013

112 pages 27 x 19 cm
http://spottorno.com/web/pigs

 

 

Indigo – Innovative Artists’ Book

This genre of the book is based around the idea of the artist as author, publisher and maker, and forms of the book that represent innovation, creativity and exploration of the book form. Historically this book form has been the domain of the artist and the way photography finds its way into the book can be more about the photo as a record, a fact or a trace representing the world and society that created it. Rather than something representing the passion that photographers have for the photograph as the product of their special visual perception of the world. Characteristics of these books include;

  • Forms integral to the narrative expression and the artist will break rules and conventions to achieve their expectations for the book;
  • Books engineered in ways that demand interaction, both through the visual senses but also through the haptics of handling and reading – the turning of pages;
  • Books that may mix photographs and text or text over photographs, or text as photographs and photographs as text;
  • Multi-media productions where the photograph becomes a part of a larger interplay of media; and
  • Bespoke unique state or a work that is published as a limited edition.

 

It should be noted that the artists’ book discipline might encompass an equally diverse range of book forms

 

Artists’ Book exemplar:

 

Eleven, Marshall Weber et al.

Eleven, Marshall Weber 1960- ; Christopher Wilde; Sara Parkel; Alison E Williams; Isabelle Weber; Booklyn Artists Alliance. New York : Booklyn :c2002

http://www.booklyn.org/artists/Marshall%20Weber.php

 

 

 

Violet – ‘Artists’ Book’ Codex

Related to books that utilize the conventional codex form and may explore the narrative form, conceptual art ideas as well as artmaking techniques. These books may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Codex book form;
  • A range of production values including artisan printers and binders;
  • Contain texts as well as graphic elements and photographs; and
  • Printing techniques such as silkscreen, photoetching and gravure, inkjet, digital press and alternative imaging techniques like cyanotype.

 

An exemplar:

Google vanitas : autobiography # 7 concept and design by Scott McCarney

Google vanitas : autobiography # 7 concept and design by Scott McCarney.

16, [2] p. : col. ill. ; 22 x 20 cm.

http://scottmccarneyvisualbooks.com/Pages/google%20vanitas.html

 

 

Ultra-Violet – ‘Book Arts’, Livre d’Artiste Book

Consistent with the production and aesthetic values of the ‘fine press’ with the following characteristics:

  • Texts are usually handset letterpress, photographs made by traditional photo etching or gravure techniques and binding and presentation in cloth and leather often with ‘book arts’ embellishments;
  • The books are limited editions and utilize artisan practitioners and specialists in the production of the work;
  • Often the book may be commissioned by an entrepreneurial publisher following the French tradition of the latter 19th century; and
  • These works are expensive to buy and have limited markets that center on private collectors and institutions.

 

An exemplar:

Extinguishing of stars Carolyn Fraser and Holly Morrison

Extinguishing of stars Carolyn Fraser and Holly Morrison

Idlewild Press, Cleveland, Ohio :2003. 61 p. : ill. ; 24 cm., in case 26 x 20 x 4 cm. Edition of fifty.

https://thedesignfiles.net/2011/03/interview-and-studio-visit-carolyn-fraser-of-idlewind-press/

http://www.carolynfraser.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Issue4_Uppercase_Fraser.pdf

 

 

In any attempt to define creative book publishing caution needs to be exercised. The artists’ book discipline has for years been dogged by attempts to define ‘what is, and what isn’t an artists’ book’. In 2005 Johanna Drucker put forward a proposal for classification of artists’ books. Even though she predicted that her proposition would ‘… cause strife, competition, [and] set up a hierarchy, make people feel they are either included or excluded’, (Drucker 2005:3) it inspired worldwide debate and furore from artists and librarians and became known as ‘Druckergate’. Ultimately the angst cooled and the artists’ book field continued with qualified debate, in both academic literature and everyday conversation, thus creating a basis for ongoing questioning and commentary on the discipline.

More recently, in 2010, Sarah Bodman and Tom Sowden from the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England sought to define the canon for the artists’ book in the 21st century. They did this by creating a survey of world practitioners of bookmaking by artists in every conceivable outcome, including the emergent eBook. They found that the hierarchical form of a tree diagram was ‘too rigid and too concerned with process’ (Bodman and Sowdon 2010:5). They discovered that their respondents wanted to alter the diagram to satisfy the, ‘cross-pollination that is often required by artists’ and added in, ‘connectors across, up and down to bring seemingly disparate disciplines together.’

Just as Bodman and Sowdon found from their research, this visual spectrum structure is open to challenge where practioners and commentators are encouraged to mix and augment new color palettes for the presence of the photograph within the book. So what is proposed is not a rigid structure, deeply rooted and immovable as in the tree trunk, branch and leaf, but rather one where books of similar characteristics can be grouped, blended and mixed.

The intention for this nomenclature is to bring visibility to the diversity of creative publishing forms using the photograph. It is offered as a potential tool that recognises this evolving and extended medium to: curators, judges, cataloguers preparing ‘the best books of the year’ lists and books for sale or auction, and commentators engaging in critical debate. Additionally the links with artists’ books and zines can also be acknowledged thus extending and enriching the discipline of the photobook.

In the debate surrounding the evolving photobook this photo-specific spectrum analysis is offered, as a non-hierarchical, flexible and creative nomenclature. The spectrum should be able to move with change and developments within the photo in the book and the ideas and the motivations behind those who create these communicative devices and their commentators and readers. Each constituent of the spectrum, although emanating its own ‘wavelength’ or ‘color’, forms a part of the “white light” that is the continuum of the photograph and its place in the book.

 

 

Dr Doug Spowart[1]

January 2015

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Bodman, S. and T. Sowdon (2010). A Manifesto for the Book: What will be the canon for the artist’s book in the 21st Century? T. S. Sarah Bodman. Bristol, England, Impact Press, The Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.

Campany, D. (2014). “The ‘Photobook’: What’s in a name?” Aperture: The Photobook Review(#007).

Drucker, J. (2005). “Critical Issues / Exemplary Works.” The Bonefolder: An e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist 1(2): 3-15.

McLaughlin, T. (2013). “Classic – The Photobook: A History Vol 1.”   Retrieved 17 June 2014, 2014, from http://imageonpaper.com/2013/05/17/131/.

Phillpot, C. (1998). Books by artists and books as art. Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists’ Books. C. Lauf and C. Phillpot. New York, D.A.P./Distributed Art Publications Inc.

Thurmann-Jajes, A. (2002). ars photographica: Fotografie und Künstlerbücher. Weserburg, Bremen, Neues Museum

 

[1] This essay is informed by an ongoing and long term personal interest which involved a practice of making, observing and considering the position of photographs published in the creative book realm along with recent research into the intersection of photobooks, zines and artists’ books.

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TEXT © Doug Spowart 2018
Most of the images in this post are from the promotional websites for the books and some are by the author – copyright resides with the authors and the images here are used for the purpose of review and commentary. Source links are provided for the reader’s connection with the publication under discussion.

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OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF A PHOTOBOOK COMPENDIUM FOR AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks vPBNZ

Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks v.PBNZ

To celebrate PHOTOBOOK NEW ZEALAND in Wellington over March 9-11 2018, I have published an updated version of my Photobook Compendium that was first issued in October 2017 at the VOLUME ART BOOK FAIR in Sydney.

 

Associate Professor Ann Shelton launches the Compendium @ Te Papa PHOTO: Libby Jeffery

Ann Shelton launches the Photobook Compendium PHOTO: Libby Jeffery

 

The Compendium is a soft cover 40 page A5 booklet that lists key contributors, both contemporary and historical, to the Australian and New Zealand photobook discipline. Apart from photographer’s names and many portraits I’ve included publishers, designers and book shops.

To extend the coverage of key aspects of the genre I have included visual coverage of significant photobook events and activities as well as portraits of many practitioners. Most of the photographs come from personal documents made in Australia, New Zealand and Vienna of these events.

The book is designed with two covers so both countries have prominence. The Compendium is printed by MomentPro and is a Numbered LIMITED EDITION of 40.

The book was launched at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington by artist and photobook maker Associate Professor Ann Shelton on Saturday 10 at 2.00pm. At the event books will be available through Remote Photobooks.

WHAT’s IN THE COMPENDIUM…?

  • Over 400 listings relating to the photobook
  • 26 portraits of photobook people
  • 50 photobook covers – exemplars of the discipline
  • 60 photographs of events
  • Australian and New Zealand Photobook of the Year winners list

 

The book is now SOLD OUT!  Although REMOTE PHOTOBOOKS may still have some copies

Some of the pages

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The Compendium preface by Doug Spowart

The Compendium preface

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FOREWORD TO THE BOOK

 

This Compendium does not attempt a definition of the ‘photobook’ – therefore to reflect the breadth and depth of this evolving medium I have considered a range of photo-based products that may include photographically illustrated books, albums, catalogues, photobooks, zines, artists books, text-only references to photography and photo ephemera.

 

This data and images has been compiled over many years as a result of my interest in the photobook from the historical viewpoint as well as its contemporary phenomenon. I am particularly interested in books where the photograph acts as the principal narrative agent. Additionally I am also drawn to the haptic experience and design of the book and how it operates as a vehicle for presenting ideas and telling stories.

Listed here are names of people and organisations who have contributed (both historically and recently), to the development of photobook discipline. Although most of the listings are from New Zealand or Australian residents and establishments there are some inclusions relating to itinerant or short-lived connections with this region. Some publishing houses listed may be based offshore and have a presence in this region.

I wish to acknowledge the energy and support for Antipodean photobooks provided by Libby Jeffery and the MomentoPro company. Through their patronage and sponsorship they have played a pivotal role in the building of a strong and active photobook community.

This current Compendium is published in a limited edition of 40 on the occasion of the 2nd Photo Book New Zealand Festival in March 2018. Subsequent revised versions will contain new information arising from my ongoing research.

As much of this knowledge lies hidden in personal archives and libraries, I am most interested to receive information about New Zealand and Australian photobooks and the discipline’s community of practice.

Doug Spowart

Email: Greatdivide@a1.com.au
Mail: PO Box 3063, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, AUSTRALIA

 

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