The PhotoBook Journal

December 4, 2017

Lea Habourdin – Survivalists

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Artist: Lea Habourdin (born Lille & resides Paris, FR)

Published by Fuego Books, Murcia (ES) copyright 2017

Text: English, French, Spanish

Stiff cover with French-fold over-covers, sewn & glued binding, four-color lithography, Edition size: 500, printed by Artes Graficas Palermo (ES)

Photobook designer: Jorge Fernandez Puebla

Notes: Regretfully in today’s political climate with two mentally unstable leaders of nuclear-armed military armies who are playing a stupid game of chicken (you are bigly fat…No, you are fat, really old with fake yellow hair), the potential need to know how to survive after a nuclear war is now actually plausible. Lea Habourdin’s photobook Survivalist really resonates; it taps into some of my dark feelings that I have with today’s current events. For me, her photobook hearkens back to the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960’s and the proliferation of personal fall-out shelters.

Survivalist has the essential elements of what someone might need to survive on their own. As others might point out, the very basics of a manual. Habourdin’s narrative has three chapters; the first (untitled) is the prologue, is there any imminent danger; Chapter 2 – Objects you will need to survive for three days, emergency evacuation maps, plots of land; Chapter 3 – Re-frame from melancholy.  The three groups of photographs include a series of black & white for the prologue, then in conjunction with Chapter 2 are color natural landscapes with some hand-written text and drawings (flipped on the vertical axis, thus a need for the reader to change the book’s position), and then in the Chapter 3 a mix of black & white with color while the layout orientation changes back to the original.

One small gripe about this small book’s design is the sewn pages are subsequently glued at the spine which really tightens up the binding, as observed in my interior photographs below. In addition to making the book harder to photograph (okay, my issue), there are some photographs which are two-page span with some critical content lost in the gutter due to this book binding design. I am not sure if this was planned, but one outcome of this lost content is to increase the ambiguity and mystery of these two-page spreads.

This is a dark (both in concept as well as many of the photographs) photobook in conjunction with an occasional photographs that has a bit of black humor that overall does not seem to sway my many fears.

Best regards,

Douglas

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November 29, 2017

Interesting Photobooks of 2017 (plus a few from 2016)

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Interesting Photobooks of 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

As in years past, we have been providing a short list of photobooks we have found interesting, whether it was the photographic content, concept of the project, the book’s design or production qualities; and most interesting when it was a delightful combination of all of these book elements.

For our editorial team selection we limited ourselves to the photobooks we received with time to really evaluate the book object in its entirety. I have readily admitted in the past we do not have access to read and study every photobook that was published during the year, thus our list is not meant to be inclusive as there are a great many other interesting photobooks that were published this year. Our list may not be the “Best” photobooks of 2017, but rather we have selected some of the more interesting photobooks for your consideration. In a couple of cases, we have included books that were published in late 2016 that have come to our attention this year.

We have published commentaries for most of these, which are linked-up. It is our intent to publish commentaries for the remaining photobooks shortly. So in alphabetic order:

Roger Ballen, Ballenesque, Thames & Hudson, 2017, a really interesting retrospective of Ballen’s creative body of work, also The Theatre of Apparitions, Thames & Hudson, 2016 (we did not see this until early this year); An astute personal investigation of the mind against intercultural backgrounds.

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Roger Ballen

Paula Bronstein, Afghanistan: Between Hope and Fear, University of Texas Press, 2016; a long term photo-documentary project about the on-going social impact of war in Afghanistan.

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Paula Bronstein

Claire Felicie, Only the Sky Remains Untouched, Self-published, 2016; provides an intriguing layered visual design that creatively investigates the concepts of lingering trauma after warfare.

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Claire Felicie

Lea Habourdin, Survivalists, Fuego Books, 2017; an intriguing book design that investigates a concept about personal/cultural survival. (Review pending)

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Lea Habourdin

Ellen Korth, CHARKOW, Self-published, 2016; presenting difficult parts of a personal history using a very innovative set of books.

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Ellen Korth

Andrej Lamut, Nokturno, The Angry Bat, 2017; a dark and moody investigation which provides an interesting environment to explore a diverse range of metaphoric potentials.

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Andrej Lamut

Robert Lyons, Pictures From the Next Day, Zatara Press; An introspective project that explores aging, personal relationships and American culture. (Review pending)

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Robert Lyons

Tymon Markowski, Flow, Self-published, 2017; a great utilization of a book design that captures the essence of photo-documentary project’s investigation of a region.

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Tymon Markowski

Duane Michals, Portraits, Thames & Hudson, 2017; a retrospective of his portrait work in the context of his trademark, if not iconic, creative storytelling.

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Duane Michals

Nancy Rexroth, IOWA, University of Texas Press, 2017 (first edition, self-published, 1977); an updated and re-edited edition of this fine art photobook “classic”, which still maintains its artistic vitality. (Review pending)

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Nancy Rexroth

Douglas Stockdale, Bluewater Shore, self-published, 2017; (A little bit of personal bias) Exploring American culture and family as well in part for its production merit as it is the first photo book that was printed with a duotone (black & white) digital lithography printing process.

Bluewater Shore limited edition artist book

Cheers!

Douglas & Gerhard

November 3, 2017

Douglas Stockdale – Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book

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Author and Principal Photographer:  Douglas Stockdale (born Butler, PA; resides Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)

Publisher: Self-published; first edition, first printing of 400; copyright © 2017

Text: English

Stiff-cover saddle-stitched book of 40 numbered pages with 14 images on several types of paper; 7.5×9 inches; full-color digital lithography, printed by Dual Graphics, Brea, California; $19.95 plus shipping ($4.50 in US & $15.00 USD other countries)

Book Design: Douglas Stockdale and Craig Evans – Text Editor: Gerhard Clausing – Cover Photograph: Scott Mathews

 

Notes: 

This book had its debut at the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, California, on October 26, 2017, and was received with great enthusiasm. It is a detailed guide to help the artist through all the steps and considerations to keep in mind when thinking about and executing an independently published artist book.

Douglas Stockdale, editorial founder of and prolific contributor to The PhotoBook Journal and SoCal PhotoExchange, who has been our guide through many artistic and publishing intricacies which he has discussed in hundreds of book reviews and articles, really gets to the point in this publication. Fortunately, his collaborator and sponsor in this venture is the renowned printing and communications company Dual Graphics in Brea, California, which already assisted Ansel Adams in artfully transferring his photography to print many years ago.

Doug certainly practices what he preaches. As a successful mentor and leader of workshops dealing with planning, producing, and marketing photo books, and as an author of a number of them himself (In Passing, Ciociaria, Pine Lake, Bluewater Shore), he is able to lay out logical and creative patterns for planning and doing artist books that are designed to help artists avoid many possible pitfalls that he has observed over time. The discussion is divided into five stages, which also constitute the chapters of this book:

  1. Book Pre-Visualization
  2. Marketing (including funding and fundraising)
  3. Book Development (including editing, sequencing the images, and making a book “dummy”)
  4. Book Design (and options)
  5. Book Production

Just to name one very important consideration, this Guide introduces marketing issues early in the process, rather than at the end, as others have done, since marketing information and decisions are integral to all other considerations that follow. Doug also devotes important space to the topics of selecting and sequencing the images to be included in an artist book, a topic that is sketchy in other guides on publishing your own artist book. There are many other planning considerations that he discusses to help the reader untangle potential difficulties.

Another fascinating feature of this book, extremely useful and exclusive, is the addition of sample pages of several different types of paper on which the same color and monochrome images are printed, so that the effect of printing on papers with different surfaces and characteristics can be seen. While the images below are no substitute for getting the actual book and studying the printing on the actual paper, they allow you to begin to see some differences. This feature alone is worth more than the cost of the book, as it is the best demonstration for working closely with a top-notch printing company, and to alert the potential maker of an artist book to all the details that can make a huge difference. There are also detailed descriptions of the papers included, as well as definitions of many terms that make the artist more knowledgeable when dealing with the printing and binding options. Needless to say, the author’s style is to the point, easy to read, and not filled with unnecessary technical jargon.

This book is highly recommended, especially if you are not quite sure about doing an artist book. The overview and the details provided here will help you understand and appreciate the process and will serve as a checklist to guide you through the entire process when you have made the decision to take the plunge, which will be greatly facilitated when consulting this publication during the sojourn.

 

Gerhard Clausing

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September 16, 2017

Open call – The Anamorphosis Prize

Filed under: Artist Books, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:31 am

Bluewater Shore limited edition artist book

Bluewater Shore, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Open call: The Anamorphosis Prize for self-published photo-based books.

The Anamorphosis Prize was established to promote excellence, dialogue and excitement in the field of self-published photobooks and photo-based artist books.

The word anamorphosis is derived from the Greek, ana meaning again and morphe meaning form. Anamorphosis is a distortion that demands a change in perspective from the viewer in order to be properly and completely viewed. This can be interpreted today as a whole new way of looking at things.

Self-publishing is creatively liberating. The most interesting and daring developments often occur on the margins. Allowing greater control over a creative vision and expression, self-publishing drives revolutionary change within the orbit of the photobook culture and enables the artist to autonomously sculpt a vocation.

The Anamorphosis Prize will be held 3 years in a row starting in 2015 and the winner will be chosen from a shortlist of 20 books, 3 of which will receive special jury mention. All submitted books will be donated to Franklin Furnace and the shortlist of 20 books will also be included in the MoMA library.

The winner will receive $10,000. Best part: No strings attached!

Requirements for a self-published book to be submitted:

Book must be self-published in an edition of 50 or greater

Self-published means just that: self-published!

No collaboration with any publisher, no matter the size, is allowed

There is NO entry fee (but a copy of the book will be required as part of the submission)

In order to be considered, the (book) entries must be received by November 1st, 2017.

The shortlist of 20 books will be announced by end of November (then you will need to submit two more books; one for display at a pending exhibition and one for the MoMA library).

Winner will be announced January 1st, 2018 (great way to start the year for some lucky person!)

Expect some stiff competition (yes, my submission of Bluewater Shore is #45), but if you have self-published a photo-based book, there is no reason not to enter. So check it out.

Cheers & Best of Luck!

Douglas Stockdale

August 10, 2017

Announcing LUCIE PHOTO BOOK PRIZE

Filed under: Artist Books, Book Publications, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:13 pm

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Lucie Foundation

We think that this is another interesting photobook prize to consider; here are the details:

The Lucie Foundation is dedicated to celebrating all forms of photography, in print and online and is pleased to introduce the Lucie Photo Book Prize. This program is a juried competition open to a diversity of submissions – from published to prototype to hand-made books.  The awards will be presented to photographers, editors, curators or publishers who have created such projects anywhere in the world within the last 24 months of our public call, starting July 25. The Lucie Foundation is proud to offer two cash prizes to the top two finalists for their outstanding work – one Traditional $3,000 cash prize and one Independent $2,000 cash prize. The Traditional Prize will be awarded to a photographer, editor, curator or publisher whose book is commercially produced and distributed. The Independent Prize will be awarded to a photographer, editor, curator or publisher whose book is published and distributed independently. The Lucie Photo Book Prize will coincide with the Lucie Foundation’s programming in New York City this fall, which includes the prestigious 15th Annual Lucie Awards, the 3rd annual Lucie Technical Awards and our sister-effort, the International Photography Awards Best of Show.  The top 30 finalists will have their work displayed at Splashlight Studios in New York City on October 28, 2017.

SUBMISSION PROCESS

Photographers, editors, and curators are all welcome to submit their books. Eligible books include exhibition catalogs, prototypes, proposals, independently published, self-published, traditional, limited edition, multi-artist, multi-author, single-author, intersectional, zine, handmade, reissue, and more!

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: August 25, 2017 (08/25/17 update): Extended to September 6th!

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: October 2, 2017

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: October 28, 2017

APPLICATION PROCESS:  Complete Submission Form and upload PDF File of Book- http://luciephotobookprize.com/submit/ (Photobook does not need to be provided unless juried into the NYC exhibition)

  1. Traditional- $50 for first submission, $30 for each additional category.

The Traditional Prize will be awarded to a photographer, editor, curator or publisher whose book is commercially produced and distributed.

  1. Independent- $25 for first submission, $10 for each additional category.

The Independent Prize will be awarded to a photographer, editor, curator or publisher whose book is published and distributed independently.

CATEGORIES:

1-Exhibition Catalogue: Printed publication made to accompany a temporary exhibition or installation at a gallery or alternative space.

2- First: Open to photographers, authors, and publishers who have not previously had a book published by a third party publishing house.

3- Handmade: Self-published book made by hand.

4-Intersectional: Publication that mixes photography with another medium. This can include text, music, painting, graphic design, poetry, and more.

5-Limited Edition: A book that is released in a limited quantity print run.

6-Multi-Artist: More than one artist, curator, etc. is featured in the publication.

7-Multi Author: Publication composed by more than one author.

8- Proposal: Plan or scheme of a publication, including visual and text which outlines book idea. To be juried by three publishing companies.

9-Prototype: Mock-up of a proposed publication.

10- Other: Publication that does not fit within in any of the thirteen categories.

11-Reissue: A book that has not been available for a period of time, but is now being published or produced again.

12- Self-Published: Publication of any book or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.

13-Single Author: Publication produced by one author.

14- Zine: A small-circulation, self-published work.

SUBCATEGORIES: Culture, Documentary, Fashion, Fine Art, Nature, Other, Photojournalism, Portrait, Single Subject

JURY

The newly established Lucie Photo Book Jury – consisting of independent curators, creative directors, editors Lucie Honorees, and photography critics – will take part in recognizing and rewarding deserving photographers, editors, curators, and publishers  who share the passion of making incredible imagery through the photo book medium. The Jury is responsible for choosing the 30 finalists, as well as the top two cash prize winners.

ABOUT LUCIE FOUNDATION

Lucie Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization whose three-tiered mission is to honor master photographers, discover and cultivate emerging talent, and promote the appreciation of photography, worldwide. Lucie Foundation presents a variety of programs throughout the year, including its signature program, The Lucie Awards.

July 31, 2017

Alla Mirovskaya – Old family Photos and Deep Sky Objects

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Artist: Alla Mirovskaya (born & resides Moscow, RU)

Self-Published & Limited Edition (100): Moscow (RU) copyright 2016

Text: English & Russian

Stiff cover with glued printed panels, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Moscow (RU)

Photobook designer: Alla Mirovskaya

Notes: I will have to admit that lately I have become fascinated with artist books that utilize vernacular photographs to create a narrative. Perhaps even more so when it becomes apparent that the archive source for the photographic material is from one’s own family. This is probably due in no small part to my personal artistic book practice that utilize photographic material from my own family archive. Thus I find Alla Mirovskaya’s artist book Old family Photos and Deep Sky Objects extremely intriguing in how she layers and creates juxtapositions of her archive photographs with found photographs of distant galaxies and star systems.

One aspect of her vernacular photographs is that these appear to be of family, friends and acquaintances. The same subjects keep reappearing throughout her narrative. Another layer of this charming narrative is the inclusion the images of unknown individuals, which are photographs that have been found but without any notes or other information to inform Mirovskaya as to their identity. We would suspect that these photographs are included in a family archive for a reason. With the inclusion of these additional unknown subjects she further acknowledges how complex memory can be when there are potentially related persons and now their identity appears to be lost to the current generation. In some ways I think that this is another form of death as the memory as to who this person represents has died for the family. I think it might be easy to read that these photographs of individuals relate to the transitional nature of memory and its fragility.

Understanding the physics of the speed of light in space Mirovskaya’s found photographs of deep sky objects is the documentation of events that have occurred thousands and thousands of years ago, an even longer transitional memory that makes our current memories pale in comparison. Nevertheless, these two bodies of work within her book share the same context for memory; something was recorded and we have the opportunity to ponder who/what these individuals/events are? Mirovskaya has confounded the reader with another aspect; she mixes the captions of the individuals with those of the star systems and we are left adrift as to who might be whom. This tactic also unmoors the reader from a word/name association and allows deeper introspection of the book.

Equally fascinating for me is the close similarities of how a family archive from Russia compares to that of my own, which speaks of a universality of family. Perhaps all that more poignant given the current economic and political friction that is occurring now between the two respective countries of Russian and the United States. I think that we need to remember that at the family unit level we all share similar interests related to making a living, ensuring we have substance and a decent roof over our heads, love of our family and memories of our past that we attempt to hold on to.

Mirovskaya’s artist book is a very delightful and complex narrative about family memories in the context of the big picture of our complex and changing universe.

Cheers! Douglas Stockdale

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