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ADVANCE NOTICE: COOPER+SPOWART @ AIPP Brisbane ‘Hair of the Dog’ Conference

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Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header


On the 6th of February we will be presenting a breakout session at the annual AIPP Hair of the Dog Conference in Brisbane. Our presentation, entitled OPENING-UP THE PHOTOBOOK will provide a commentary on the contemporary photobook/artists book. Our spiel from the HOTD website states:


The photobook has emerged as a ubiquitous form of story telling. Now everyone makes these books to varying levels of expertise. Photobooks and albums have always been the domain of photographers. To maintain their leadership and innovation in this discipline, professional photographers need to be aware of the options available and emergent trends in the photobook. This Breakout session will present a contemporary view of the photobook in all its forms from simple photo-zines to print-on-demand productions and handmade artisan books.


We will be giving attendees a digital presentation to introduce the topic and a major show ‘n’ tell session will follow that will unpack the contemporary photobook/artists’ book. The books presented will come from our collection including some of our own works. A special part of this session will be inclusion of books from Australia’s best print on demand service providers ASUKABOOK, BLURB, MOMENTOPRO and PICPRESS who have given us examples of their most innovative books.

As a result of this session participants will be able to consider innovative and new commercial publishing products that will provide them with a point of difference from competitors and the general public.


Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper and their C.R.A.P. display

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper at the State Library of Qld’s 2015 Art Book Fair


Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart are leaders in the fields of photobooks and artists’ books. Their books are held in major rare books and manuscript collections of the National Library of Australia, State Libraries and other significant public and private collections. In the last 10 years both have completed PhDs that related to the book and visual storytelling. They have both been awarded Research Fellowships at the State Library of Queensland. In the last 12 months Doug has presented lectures on photobooks at Photobook Melbourne, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and the Auckland Festival of Photography.





Earlybird Rates (End January 15th, 2016)

AIPP Member 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass on Monday – Early Bird $420 After Early Bird $520
AIPP Member 2 Days Only (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $290 After Early Bird $390
AIPP Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $200 After Early Bird $280

Student 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass Monday – $150
Student 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – $120
Student 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – $90

Non-Member 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $435 After Early Bird $585
Non-Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $300 After Early Bird $420


Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header


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Daniel Milnor is Blurb’s Photographer-at-large and inspirational bookmaker.  Last week we attended presentation by Daniel at the Edge (SLQ) in Brisbane. Attended by an audience of around 80 the presentation, of three hours duration, told the story of how to make photobooks. Not just a bunch of photos in a catalogue or folio form but something that told a story – expressing a narrative.

Milnor is the consummate presenter and storyteller – adding to each technical concept and thing to consider in book-making his own personal story. And there were some amazing insights into Daniel’s career as a photodocumentary photographer of exotic places like South America and Sicily, but also of his own life. In one book he discussed, which was made entirely in his own home, he showed a picture of his shower curtain!!

Milnor's shower curtain

Milnor’s shower curtain


In the presentation Milnor provided a step-by-step approach to the making of a book:

Step 1 Make/locate a body of work

Step 2 Give yourself time to edit

Step 3 Time to sequence

Step 4 Start the book using an online POD service – Like Blurb.

Step 5 Get the book

And – not really covered specifically although constantly part of his refinement of book ideas: Step 6 – Review it and re-do it better!!!


His little phrases and comments that stuck in my memory (or notepad include):

Photobooks that are driven by the photographer –“don’t make any money” unless you have a big-name and are chosen by Steidl. However “subject driven books” can be successful

“Leopard lighting” portraits made under a tree – dappled light

Unless you “Think about your work, write about your work, talk about your work and show your work – You are never going to have a connection with your work!”

“Book builder”

Landscape “rocks and twig” photography

“The narrative arc”

“The perfect solution is YOUR solution”

“Don’t be afraid to play around…”


What interested me was the excitement he expressed for his own books – their concepts and development. Towards the end of the presentation he showed examples of books created as collaborations with artists, books that were ‘added-to’ by creative intervention whereby the outcome became a unique state work of art. A seminal book for him in his challenge to the ‘normal’ photobook is the book On Approach which has won much acclaim for him. He commented that a curator he had met casually had described him as a ‘conceptual artist’ he seemed excited by the title and that his work, as art, could enter another space – the gallery.


See Daniel Milnor's book On Approach @ Blurb

See Daniel Milnor’s book On Approach @ Blurb


In the second last question of the day I asked him about the idea of the artists’ book and how artists can inform, as he had found, a new direction for photobooks – in his answer he spoke at length about the proposition — I think he agreed…

Thank you Daniel Milnor, and thank you Blurb for bringing some discussion on photobooks into this country. And the opportunity to engage with so many Australian photographers wanting to tell photo stories using the emancipating opportunities of print-on-demand indie publishing.


Doug Spowart




His Website: http://www.smogranch.com/



Attendees looking a Blurb sample books



Daniel Milnor talking with an attendee during the break



All  photographs  © Doug Spowart 2013.

Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.



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