The PhotoBook

April 24, 2017

Two book workshops for the Left Coast

Filed under: Photo Books, Book Publications, Photo Book NEWS — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:03 pm

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Copyright 2016/7 Douglas Stockdale

I am very excited to announce that I will be providing two more photobook workshops in partnership with LACP (Los Angeles Center for Photography) at their Los Angeles facilities later this year. Both have a 20% early-bird sign up until May 26th.

Marketing Your Photo Book – This is a one-day workshop being held on Saturday, July 22nd. This workshop is is intended for photographers who are preparing to publish their work in book form, whether self-publishing or working with an established book publisher, and will provide creative and practical approaches to marketing their photo book.

The morning will be spent understanding your publishing objectives and how that translates to a marketing plan. This will include discussing the basic elements of a marketing plan; what is being published and sold, who might purchase it, where to sell it, how to price it and how and when to promote it. Issues to be discussed include; how soon to start working on a plan, book economics and buyers price points, buy or create a mailing list, selling self-published books, and do’s and don’ts of using social media and web sites. During the workshop, I am planning a series of breakout sessions to enable development of each person’s specific marketing plan for their book.

Introduction to Photo Book Design – This Fall (October 1 and 8th), I will be repeating my popular two-day workshop that focuses on the development of each person’s book dummy for their personal photographic project and provides both creative and practical book design options.

After a morning of studying limited edition artists’ books, trade books and zines, the remainder of the first session will be spent understanding students’ publishing objectives and how that translates to a book object. This will include time discussing the elements of book design and the purpose of a book-dummy, concluding with a hands-on fabrication of a saddle-stitch dummy book/zine. The second session delves into the business elements of (self) publishing a book and photo book production. The remainder of the day students will continue working on the development of their dummy book as a collaborative project.

I hope you can join me as these are intense, yet fun, workshops.

The workshops are being held at the LACP facilities: 1515 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Let me know if you have any questions,

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale

April 21, 2017

Christian Nilson – The Swiss

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Photographer: Christian Nilson (born Lerum, Sweden; resides Zürich, Switzerland)

Publisher:  Scheidegger & Spiess, Zürich, Switzerland, © 2016

Essay:  Jon Bollmann

Text:  English and German

Cloth-bound sewn hardcover with debossed circles and cut holes; 96 numbered pages, four-color lithography, 67 images, not captioned; 19.5×26.5 cm, printed in Germany

Photobook Designer:  Greger Ulf Nilson

Notes:

The essay by Jon Bollmann makes reference to Robert Frank’s The Americans (1956); we are also reminded of Rene Burri’s Die Deutschen (1962+); both of these forerunners are Swiss. And way before that, the German photographer August Sander’s approach to the portraiture of a nation’s people is also well known. While it does not seem possible to capture all the characteristics of a people in a single project, there are always particular reference points and points of view. (Frank and Sander were reviewed here previously: Robert Frank; August Sander.)

Christian Nilson’s viewpoint is different. As a Swede who has lived in Switzerland for over a decade, he shows what the country means to him, in color and in a modern style. There are touches of street photography (somewhat reminiscent of the in-your-face type of work by people like Bruce Gilden). Nilson also often uses flash, even in sunlight, to illuminate every corner of those shots. This gives the images a bright and cheerful appearance. He also has a strong eye for detail, along with humorous juxtapositions and overviews. One detects a sense of respect and wonder, which rubs off on the viewer, and allows an appreciation of his work as fine art photography as well. Nilson displays many of the expected clichés: mountains, traditional folk costumes and local customs, and others that we expect to see when we think of Switzerland. And for good measure, the designer has added a simulated cheese cover with actual holes, and cheese wrapping paper for the special edition! At the same time we see modern everyday life that is not any different than that in other countries – people in their rooms, eating, shopping, and similar daily activities.

The layout of this volume is also varied and keeps us alert. We find a variety of small and large placements of the images, at various aspect ratios, all the way to totally flush double page spreads. The result is that the viewer can puzzle over many of the pictures, trying to figure out the location and meaning of the activity in which the subjects are engaged, as well as their juxtapositions. There is no particular social criticism or political agenda that the author seems to have in mind. The idea we get is that Switzerland is a mixture of old and new, like any other country. It is just that the particulars of the “old” are different (in this case, based on a history of many centuries), while the elements of contemporary life seem universally shared. Thus, for instance, we find adults playing Batman or Superman for their children or for each other’s cosplay amusements, and the vendor of apricots, “Apricot-Andi,” uses techniques of modern marketing, such as his selfie, at his stand, while the stout townsfolk are seen in their expected traditional rural appearance, engaged in the life of country folk. And all of this coexists quite normally, to constitute the contemporary Swiss mix of country and city life, of historical customs and everyday mundane continuity in a modern society.

A thoroughly enjoyable volume!

Gerhard Clausing

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April 20, 2017

Ellen Korth – CHARKOW

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Photographer: Ellen Korth, (b. The Hague, Netherlands – resides Deventer (Netherlands) & Nordhorn (Germany)

PublisherSelf-published, Deventer (Netherlands), copyright 2016

Interviews by: Ellen Korth, Sybren Kuiper

Text: Netherlands, English & German

Seven (7) Stiff-cover books in slip-case, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed by Fine Books Weesp (Jos Morree) in Netherlands

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Photobook designer: Sybren Kuiper ( -SYB- )

Lithographer: Colour & Books (Sebastiaan Hanekroot)

Notes: Ellen Korth’s CHARKOW photobook is a very layered and complex set of photobooks, both physically and in her narrative, in part similar to and driven by her mysterious and complex past. Essentially this is an investigation of the question of what constitutes “home”?

It is a collection of short visual stories that delves into the subject for each person or couple as to what is “home” (where their heart is) for them? Perhaps for Korth in attempting to understand how others sense “home”, it might be a therapeutic process for her to deal her own feelings of belonging. It appears to me that this photobook also investigate a related and equally beguiling question; how deep must one’s roots be to feel “grounded”?

Each of the thin books create a fascinating visual metaphor; as each successive full-bleed photograph becomes smaller, the outer framing of the previous photographs can be read as a background border to create a complex, layered environmental context for the developing narrative. The unbalanced trim of each page spread adds to the visual layering effect. Once at the center of each book, it is difficult to read the photographic spread, the only image with a small white margin, without noticing the Kaleidoscopic background framing that reminds the reader about how complex a person’s story might be. A wonderful analogy to the layering of skins surrounding an onion and the effort to peel each layer to get closer to the central heart. The reader imagines that that they are slowly delving deeper into the layers of her subject’s life to get at the core of who they might be as it relates to being “home”. Both visual tantalizing and emotionally elusive.

For Korth, her personal story is cloaked in dark secrets and a sense of loss as to her family history. This may be in part as a result of her mother’s need for secrecy since fleeing from Charkow (Kharkov) during the absolute terror and chaos of the German invasion during WWII. Korth is dealing with the issues of an incomplete and hidden past and perhaps the unanswerable questions of how to resolve those feelings.

Highly Recommended! (my basis: I was one of the jurist for the International Photo Book Competition sponsored by Photo Independent and I was absolutely blown away by this brilliant photobook and immediately knew that I had to provide this to the readers of The PhotoBook. Oh, it also won the photobook competition as well)

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale

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April 17, 2017

Shane Lavalette – One Sun, One Shadow

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Photographer: Shane Lavalette (b. Burlington, VT – resides Syracuse, NY)

Publisher: Lavalette, Syracuse (NY), copyright 2016

Essay: Tim Davis

Text: English

Clothbound hardcover book, embossed with tipped in image, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Lithuania

Photobook designer: Lavalette

Notes: Shane Lavalette’s photobook is resulting from an earlier commission by the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA) for a exhibition series that they were working on in 2012 “Picturing the South”. Probably similar to Lavalette, I have visited the “South” on only a few occasions and realize that I have mind images of what constitutes this region of America. Perhaps other than one image of an alligator lurking in a pool of green mossy waters and another of fireflies, Lavalette avoided what I had imagined as topological stereotypes and created instead a poetic interpretation of what he experienced.

Lavalette states that he went looking for the music of the South, perhaps for some that might be a connotation for the Delta Blues, Smokey Mountain bluegrass or perhaps some kick-ass Georgia County Line country-rock. Regretfully for me I did not find this musical element in his photographs, but there are quiet, pensive moments that could lend to being lyrical, just not for in a musical sense.

Do I think that I know what it means to live in the South from this body of work? Perhaps not, as there are ambiguous landscapes and portraits that appear that these could have been found anywhere in the United States. Does it bust my stereotype image bank that I have about what is the South?  Most certainly and to further understand that the “South” is really not much different than many parts elsewhere in America. Perhaps this could be the source of the book’s title; One Sun, One Shadow; we are really the same regardless of where we are as we share this underlying sameness.

Cheers,

Douglas Stockdale

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April 12, 2017

Frances F. Denny – Let Virtue Be Your Guide

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Gerhard Clausing @ 4:03 am

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Photographer:  Frances F. Denny (born San Francisco, CA; resides Brooklyn, NY)

Publisher:  Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM, © 2015

Essay:  Lisa Locascio

Language:  English

Cloth-bound sewn hardcover, protective transparent acetate dust cover; 108 pages, color lithography; 36 9×9 inch images, a composite sepia leporello fold-out, and the reproduction of a sampler; 10×10.5 inches,  printed in Italy

Photobook Designer:  David Chickey

 

Notes:

All of us have been recipients of the expectations and prescriptions of the generations that came before us. Occasionally these conventions and social mores have kept us under what we might have considered unwarranted constraints, or might have caused us traumatic conflicts that had to be resisted and/or resolved as our own development in life proceeded. I wanted to review this book because I consider it an important contribution to intergenerational understanding and individual development.

In this volume Frances F. Denny examines the impact of previous generations on her as well as other women in New England today. Her images present women of her family spanning several generations, along with their accoutrements and surroundings. They are also quoted as they evaluate traditions and admonitions that have been passed down to them, both in New England and from Europe. The photographs are all in color and seem to present a world that is cheerful and in order, with occasional signs of unrest or disturbances showing through the veneer. Most of the images are accompanied by historical material as well as by short personal quotes and anecdotes from the women’s lives. Some of these expectations have always been explicit, others implicit. Examples are: “In my family the default was decorum, but with kindness” (p. 27), or: “A lot was unsaid. I think more up-front talking would have been helpful” (p. 37), or: “Don’t talk about yourself too much.” (p. 53) Among the problems that are dealt with: the suppression of emotions; the pros and cons of entitlement; alcoholism; taking advantage of those below you in the social hierarchy and the guilt associated with that; the problem of exhibiting slight imperfections; and many others.

It is interesting to observe the portraits of the women of several generations against the background of the many struggles necessary on the road to self-actualization and assertiveness. Denny makes a special effort to contrast two generations in some of the images as well as in the pairing of images. The pictures are captioned, and care is taken to display some of the women without showing their faces, so that it is possible to project oneself into the character and her moment and to imagine one’s situation to be similar. Page 85 presents a leporello-type fold-out that shows three pictures from a wedding in the early 1940s, including two of the bride: a perfectly organized tableau, behind which conflicted feelings regarding past and future might also be lurking. The “primer” by Lisa Locascio takes us from definitions of virtue as compulsory moral excellence to the stage of self-discovery and personal redefinition, as the process of one’s individuation proceeds. The book ends with the picture of an old needlepoint “sampler” as a reminder of this former test of marriage-worthiness that also displays all the “right” expectations and prescriptions from long ago.

An important work with much food for thought and a very attractive design as well!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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April 11, 2017

International Photobook Competition 2017 – The Results!

Filed under: Photo Books, Book Publications, Photo Book NEWS — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:06 pm

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Douglas Stockdale, Sarah Hadley & Chris Davies photo 2017 copyright by Marissa Caichiolo

I was very honored to be a jurist for a second time of the International Photobook Competition. which is sponsored by Photo Independent. The selected photographic books will be featured as part of Photobook Independent during the same event in Los Angeles later this month.

From the press release: Los Angeles, Calif. (April 3, 2017) – Photo Independent announces the winners of the 2017 International Photobook Awards. The competition received photobooks from 16 countries. The judges selected six books as Best in Show, three self-published/handmade photobooks and three published photobooks.

Self-Published/Handmade photo books include:

Ellen Korth, Netherlands: Charkow 

Claire Felicie, Netherlands: Only The Sky Remains Untouched

Frank Hamrick, USA: Harder Than Writing a Good Haiku

Published photo books include:

Manca Juvan, Slovenia: Guardians of the Spoon — Zalobzba ZRC / ZRC Publishing (review is pending)

Stanislav Briza, Czech Republic: Hitchhike — BFLMPSVZ

Susan Burnstine, USA: Absence of BeingDamiani

Honorable Mentions were also awarded to:

Jason Paul Reimer, USA: 197 — Dummy Book

Shane Lavalette, USA: One Sun, One Shadow Self-Published

Xiomara Bender, Switzerland: North Korea, The Power of Dreams — Kehrer Verlag

Steve Diet Goedde, USA: Arrangements -Volume III | 2007-2015 — Century Guild

The Best in Show photobooks, as well as the Four Honorable Mentions will be exhibited and available for purchase during Photo Independent, April 21-23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo Independent location: The REEF, DTLA (Down Town Los Angeles), 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

General Fair Hours: Saturday, April 22, 11am–7pm & Sunday, April 23, 11am–6pm

A number of the winners of this competition have been previously featured on The PhotoBook (links are provided, above) while I have noted the photographers and their photobook which have reviews that are still in process. So more to come, stay tuned!

The competition judging panel had a slight change and included (in addition to me):

  • Marisa Caichiolo, Curator and Executive Director, Building Bridges Art Exchange
  • Chris Davies, Publisher, Fabrik Magazine
  • Sarah Hadlee, Independent Curator and Founder of the Filter Photo Festival
  • Sarah Lee, Curator
  • Douglas Stockdale, Photographer, Author/Book Artist, Photobook Reviewer, Curator

This was a really interesting and wonderful opportunity to review a broad and diverse group of photobooks. I feel fortunate to be able to get a strong pulse of what is happening in the greater photo book community.

Congratulations to those photographers whose books were juried in!

Cheers!

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