The PhotoBook

February 26, 2016

Published Photobook Competition announced

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Recently announced Left Coast photobook competition, this one is for photobooks that have been published and the winners need to be available for sale during PhotoBook Independent at the end of April in Los Angeles. Details are as follows, and if you have a published photobook, then check it out. By the way, there does not appear to be a restriction on when your book was published; all are fair game, as long as you still have copies to sell.

2016 PHOTOBOOK COMPETITION

PhotoBook Independent announces the 2016 PhotoBook Competition. Winning books will be exhibited and for sale at PhotoBook Independent and will be featured on the Photo Independent website and in their marketing campaign.

PhotoBook Independent will again take place at the Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles April 29-May 1, 2016 together with Photo Independent.

Now in it’s 3rd year, Photo Independent weekend celebrates international photography and talented image-makers across various genres of the medium. PhotoBook Independent will include curatorial walk-throughs, book signings, artist talks and other events. This is an incredible opportunity to reach an audience of photo book lovers and collectors in Los Angeles and environs, and to have your book featured on our website, social media and other marketing platforms.

Three books from the PhotoBook Competition will be chosen as Best in Show and will be honored at the Fair.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

The PhotoBook Independent competition is open to all photographers and independent publishers in the United States and abroad.  Entrants may submit books of any size, format, or style. Submitted books may be self-published, by an on-demand service such as Blurb, Lulu, Apple Books, etc.; created by small run publishing companies; or have been hand-made/hand-bound. Dummy books and PDFs will be accepted, though actual books are preferred, so they can be offered for sale at PhotoBook Independent.

Submissions will be judged on book design, including page layouts, text, cover; strength of the photography and emotional impact of the overall book. All judging is at the complete discretion of the jurors and all decisions are final.

SUBMISSION FEE
The submission fees are as follows:

  • $25 for 1 book
  • $35 for 2 books
  • $45 for 3 books

SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Entries must be received (in hand) no later than March 21, 2016.

Winners will be notified in early April.

To enter:

  • Full out form here including uploading a JPEG file of your book cover(s)
  • Pay Submission Fee
  • Mail one copy of each book submitted to the following address:

Fabrik Media/PhotoBook 2016
269 S. Beverly Drive, #1234
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

If you would like the book returned, you must include a pre-addressed mailing label and sufficient postage. Otherwise your book will become the property of Fabrik Media.

Winning PhotoBook photographers and publishers will have the option of sending additional books to have for sale at the fair. Winners need not be present at the Fair.

All submissions must be original works created by the submitting photographer or be submitted by a publisher who has permission to submit the work.

By entering, the photographer or publisher warrants that the submission does not infringe any third party’s rights, and that you have obtained all necessary permissions from any third party. Once entered, all Submissions are final; no changes or edits may be made to your book.

February 23, 2016

Alessandra Kila – Calabria Upon Return

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Copyright 2015 Alessandra Kila

Photographer: Alessandra Kila (born Reggio di Calabria, IT, resides: London UK)

Publisher: Paper Tiger Books (London)

Poems: Alessandra Kila

Text: English

Stiff-cover book with French folds and elastic strap closure, loose binding, concertina insert four-color off-set, printed in UK by Jigsaw Colour in a numbered addition of 300

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Photobook designer: Laura Braun

Notes: Kila’s investigating the concept of “never being able to go home again”, as that once you leave a place, perhaps even for a short while, many things are not perceived the same upon returning. A person returns with different “eyes”, the new experiences change and modifies one’s memory and the subtle day-to-day changes that once went unnoticed become very staggering in retrospect.

This small photobook has a very smart, if not brilliant design. The text is printed on a concertina insert that weaves through the interior literally and conceptually holding the loose photographs, thus the book content’s, together. A photobook that immediately captures my imagination; recommended and I hope you can obtain one, as I suspect that these will disappear fast.

Cheers, Doug

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January 29, 2016

Agnieszka Rayss – American Dream

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American Dream Copyright 2011 Agnieszka Rayss

Photographer: Agnieszka Rayss (born, resides Poland)

Publisher: Foundation Photography Institute Pro Fotografia (Poland)

Essays: Agnieszka Rayss

Text: English

Hardcover book, linen cover with foil stamping, page marker, sewn binding, four-color lithography

Photobook designer: Ania Nalecka (Tapir Book Design)

Notes: When I was asked by the editor of Emaho magazine to become the “American” expert and write about contemporary American photobooks, I took this suggestion very broadly; not only American photographers but anyone who investigates the American culture and things “American”, either directly or as to what they consider to be attributes of America. It would seem that I could accomplish and a bit qualified as I was born and raised in the American Midwest (Pennsylvania, Michigan) and lived most of adult life on or near the Pacific coast (California and Arizona) and traveling throughout Western Europe, Caribbean, Central America, Asia and Canada.

I had earlier received Agnieszka Rayss’s photobook American Dream, which at first look was interesting but it did not initially take a hold of me. Nevertheless with the “American” assignment, this was one of the many books that I had immediately thought of. This is Rayss’s investigation of one of many cultural changes to a post-communist country as it adapts to a new reality of western trends of fashion, self-appearance and modeling contests. There are definite parallels of her subjects chasing the American, if not universal, dream of stardom, wealth and beauty in the hopes of finding success and a wonderful life. Rayss begins her investigation as a documentary photographer, but over time, finds herself intrigued by this lifestyle and is soon standing in front of the judges as a willing participant. Becoming a model similar to her subjects adds another dimension to her project as someone who is looking from the inside out, not as a coolly detached observer. This book is evidenced from a feminine perspective as I sense warmth, intimacy and empathy in her photographs as someone who has walked a mile in her subject’s high-heel shoes.

Best regards

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January 26, 2016

Michele Cera – Dust

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Dust Copyright 2013 Michele Cera

Photographer: Michele Cera (born Bari, resides Rome, IT)

Publisher: Kehrer Verlag (Germany)

A conversation between Michele Cera and Francesco Zanot

Text: English

Hardcover book with tipped in image, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany

Photobook designer: Vincenzo Schiraldi

Notes: Cera’s urban landscapes provide a lonely setting for his subjects who frequently have their eyes hidden or averted from the photographer’s inquiring lens. His subjects are usually absorbed in some ambiguous task and seemingly caught mid-stride. His documentary style does not capture a decision moment, the point of when the action within the frame is at an apex, but more of the anti-decisive-moment, the more routine moment that his subjects appear to usually exists in.

Cheers

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January 23, 2016

Marcin Grabowiecki – Babie Lato

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Marcin Grabowieckibabie lato (Indian Summer) Copyright 2013

Photographer: Marcin Grabowiecki (born Gliwice, resides Warsaw, PL)

Published: Muzuem in Gliwicach with Czytelnai Sztuki (Poland)

Essay: Marcin Grabowiecki

Text: English & Polish

Stiff cover book, embossed cover, stab-sewn binding & string closure, edition of 300, four-color lithography, printed in Poland

Photobook designer: Marcin Grabowiecki

Notes: The subject of Grabowiecki’s babie lato (Indian Summer) is an investigation of his identity in the context of exploring the rites of a family summer’s vacation that has evolved over time. He is using his own family photographs culled from a span of over sixty years.

Grabowiecki states “Even though the photographs included in the book come from different periods, they are linked by a common, nostalgic mood. Regardless of the passage of time, we remember summer holidays in a similar way. Time influences the shape of our memories, and it doesn’t spare photographic materials, exposing their fleeting nature mercilessly.”

I am very intrigued by projects that look back at family photographs as visual fragments of events not possible for the author to have experienced. Photographs can become a  melancholy document that point to past events that once those subjects present in the photographs are no longer with us, can only lead us to speculate on what might have been. I find that looking at these, as might the reader, spins me back to my own family history and the unknown stories which are now forever lost.

The book production of 350 copies (300 numbered) borders on being an artist-book; part high production printing partnered with the stab binding and the use of the extended strings to function as a book closure. It has the appearance of a collection of prints, thus the form follows function creating a very nice book object. Well done and on my list of interesting photobooks in 2014.

Recommended!

Best regards

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January 15, 2016

LA Art Book Fair – coming soon to SoCal

The LA Art Book Fair will again be at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and will be another delightful maze of rooms with amazing displays of photobook and zines. This event has always been punctuated with some wonderful finds for me.

From Printed Matter:

Printed Matter presents the fourth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 12 through 14, 2016, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Downtown LA. A ticketed preview will take place on Thursday, February 11, 6-9PM.

Free (another aspect of this event that I love) and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a (very) unique event for artists’ books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by more than 300 presses, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from over 20 countries.

The LA Art Book Fair is the companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair, held every fall in New York City. Over 35,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and other enthusiasts attended the NY Art Book Fair in 2015.

A full list of this year’s exhibitors can be found here.

Highly recommended for those who love photobooks and zines on living (or visiting) the Left Coast.

Cheers!

January 13, 2016

Adam Voorhes – Malformed

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Malformed – Forgotten Brains of the Texas Mental Hospital Copyright 2014 Adam Voorhes 

Photographer: Adam Voorhes (born San Jose, CA, resides Austin, TX, USA)

Publisher: powerhouse Books (USA)

Essay: Alex Hannaford

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in China

Photobook designer: DJ Stout & Stu Taylor (TX)

Notes: I obtained this book due to my own fascination with memory and our attempts to preserve it. The brain is where memory both occurs and resides and memory essentially defines who we are. With physical defects of the brain resulting from issues at birth, personal choices we make, an accident or perhaps a disease or condition that had been lurking which has become fully manifest, the ability to have an effective memory in conjunction with cognitive thinking can be at risk. Interestingly, while photographing his subject, Voorhes metaphorically found that many of the his subjects had identification labels that could no longer be read, thus representing a true lost memory.  While these elegant photographs may be difficult to view, both due to the morbid nature of how the brains were obtained and the state that his subjects are in as well as the fact that being examples of deformed brains, these beautiful photographs challenge the viewer to reflect on the lives and memories that these individuals attempted to have.

Cheers

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January 10, 2016

Julia Borissova – DOM

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Copyright 2014 Julia Borissova

Photographer: Julia Borissova (born Talinn, Estonia, resides St. Petersburg, RU)

Self-published artist book, signed and numbered edition of 100

Text: English & Russian

Stiffcover book with stab-sewn booklet and multiple gatefolds, naked-sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Russia

Photobook designer: Julia Borissova

Notes: Borissova investigates home and identity in a subtext of the Document Object Model (DOM) in this complex, layered and very creative self-published photobook. DOM is an acronym from the programming world and is a cross-platform application convention for representing and interfacing with objects using a structured and logical organization. The design of the book’s extended cover allows it to be constructed as a cube and with the full bleed printing; the results can appear like a small model of a house. Borissova has subsequently photographed this model house in a number of environmental situations which she uses for the interior gatefolds of her book. These gate folds open to reveal interior photographs and smaller pages of text by her subjects as to what constitutes a “home”. She has utilized this same model house as a planter for the interior photographs of the accompanying booklet, which as the book progresses, the plant continues to grow and soon overflow the planter.  Combining the concepts of programming organization and logic with inherent messiness of a creative investigation as to what is the meaning of “home” is brilliant. I highly recommend this book if you can still find a copy.

Other photobooks by Julia Borissova that have been featured on The PhotoBook: address & Running to the Edge.

Cheers!

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December 29, 2015

Ken Schles – Invisible City

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Copyright 2014 Ken Schles

Photographer: Ken Schles (born & resides in Brooklyn, NY)

Publisher: Steidl (Germany)

Excerpts: Lewis Mumford, George Orwell, Jorges Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Jean Baudrillard

Text: English

Hardcover book with dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Germany

Photobook designer: Ken Schles and Jack Woody

Notes: This is a new Steidl version of Schles photobook Invisible City, which was first published by Jack Woody and his Twelvetrees Press in 1988. In an interview with Ken, he states:

Long story on the prints. I’ll go back to when I first made the work and the struggles I had with the material. I always saw myself as a fairly accomplished printer. I built a dry darkroom in a boarded up room in my old tenement from cobbled parts and pieces of old Omega D2 enlargers. I worked as a custom printer for the likes of Magnum photographers Gilles Peress, Eliott Erwitt, Burt Glinn, Erich Hartmann and others who were quite exacting. After the landlord abandoned the building I added filtered running water to the mix.

Printing my own work, given the limits I was pushing the slow film material at the time, printing had its challenges. Working in low light, the resultant negs were thin and contrasty by nature. The photogravure printing of the first edition of Invisible City gave the work another dimension that was hard to replicate (and played nicely off my very contrasty prints). After the work came out in book form, the work became known in that way. A funny thing to say, but I even identified the work with that gravure printing technique. The fact was that the original/traditional silver gelatin prints didn’t look like the gravure and the gravure didn’t have qualities of the silver prints. The look of the book was something I tried to replicate with available silver papers, largely failing. I shouldn’t say failing: it was simply different. A different interpretation. Over the years I sometimes moved radically far in that interpretation. For a time I used a very warm Hungarian paper called Fortezo. I tried matte papers.

When it came time to work with Gerhard on the reprint he asked how I would like to work the images. We could do a facsimile by two methods: I still had a set of prints the original book was made from and we almost went with that. We could also scan an extant copy of the original book as Gerhard did so wonderfully with the reprint of Fabrik. In that facsimile reprint he reproduced not only the original images, but the structure of the original gravure technique.

But even though I wanted the feel of the original gravure, I didn’t want to scan from the book. That certainly would have been easiest for my situation. But after spending so many years struggling to get the prints just so, I knew there were better solutions to be had with the original printing of Invisible City. Back when I made the original prints papers were slower and burning and dodging laborious. I knew the negs had more information to give up. And while the original IC had a great quality to it, I wasn’t convinced that simply porting it to a new edition using contemporary technology would be the answer either. Contemporary printing is quite better. More detail, more precision …what looked good in 1988 using what was, even then, an archaic process (albeit beautiful process) might not work so well now. I decided to scan everything and work from there. This way I was able to shift a few things… get more detail in the blacks, more detail in the highlights without the image blowing out or getting too flat. And I was able to use the same files to make pigment prints so now there is consistency even across media: pigment prints, offset prints and screen images.

The images look different in the different media and have a different presence, but there is a thread that unites the images now, provided by using the same base scans. But even saying that, the final decision to make the exhibition prints using scans and printing with pigment inks wasn’t a predetermined outcome. Working with Howard Greenberg we explored most every silver paper available, even tested making negs from the digital files and Lama printing onto silver paper. I think we all wanted the traditional “wet” silver materials to work. In the end we came back to the pigment prints I had made myself. They seemed the most direct and “honest.” And then tested all variations of ink jet papers available. In the end I went with the Harman Baryta Gloss: it doesn’t have a strange “artsy” texture to it and doesn’t feel too glossy. Surprising how hard it was to find a paper that simple and clean. In the end I made several hundred prints: for the exhibition for Howard Greenberg and the large show at Noorderlicht in The Netherlands. The prints look fantastic. And I think the years of work I put into fine-tuning shows. Prints were just acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MoCP in Chicago, Museum of the City of New York and the Chicago Art Institute for their permanent collections.

As for the Steidl printing: we used the book that Gerhard printed of Koudelka’s Gypsies as a reference point while on press (that Aperture book was where Gerhard felt he perfected this five plate quadratone technique to replicate the feel of the old gravure process). I’d pull a sheet off press and compare. I think we did a better job with my book. I told Gerhard that. He said, “Well, you hope to get better the more you do it. The Koudelka book was the breakthrough.” He’s been perfecting the technique since and it shows.

Now to compare the two editions? They each use their respective technologies to ultimate ends. I was able to correct a few things in the original after 26 years. But the original has a real quality to it as well. I still love to flip through the two together and compare the differences in printing. Some are obvious, some subtle. Some only I notice. But both printings sing and they sing loudly.

xxx

When I curated Schles Invisible City into the 10×10 American Photobooks exhibition (2013), I stated:  A gritty documentary project that brought the essence of Robert Frank into the city. A photobook that is a classic and a wonderful example of the progression in photobook publishing.

Other Ken Schles photobook reviewed on The PhotoBook: Oculus

Cheers

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December 28, 2015

Alejandro Cartagena – Before the War

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Copyright 2015 Alejandro Cartagena

Photographer: Alejandro Cartagena (born Dominican Republic, resides Mexico)

Publisher: Self-published (Mexico)

Text: English & Spanish

Multiple components, variable sizes, unbound in a heavy printed board folder, black & white lithography (newsprint), printed in Mexico

Photobook designer: Alejandro Cartagena & Fernando Gallegos

Notes: For Cartagena, “in 2008 the war against the drug cartels erupted in México. The State of Nuevo León in northeastern México became an increasingly violent place. The book project is a compilation of images and texts that obsessively revisit places where the war was eventually fought and look for signs of an evil that lay underneath but was invisible to everyone´s eyes at the moment these images were shot.” This complex project is indirectly a critique of photography itself which questions the “meaning” that photographic images seem to hold for the viewer. What do we really know by looking at a photograph of a landscape or a portrait at a given moment in time?

Previous Alejandro Cartagena photobooks reviewed on The Photobook: Carpoolers

Cheers

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