The PhotoBook Journal

March 23, 2018

Laia Abril – On Abortion

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:09 am

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Artist: Laia Abril (born & resides Barcelona, Spain)

Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK, 2018

Text: English

Hard cover, sewn binding, four-color and duotone lithography, printed by Grafiche dell’Artiere, Bologna (IT)

Photobook designer: Laia Abril, Ramon Pez

Notes: The extended title of Laia Abril’s new book is A History of Misogyny, Chapter One, On Abortion and the Repercussions of Lack of Access, which is a bit more informative as to her extended photojournalist investigation. The key word is repercussions, as she provides ample evidence of how over the years many women have suffered extensively due to their reproductive capabilities.

Abril has not shy’d from this thorny inter-continental and multilayered cultural, political and religious land-mine like subject. Abril and her co-designer Ramon Pez have incorporated this multi-layering theme into the design of the book which incorporates narrow interior pages that create overlapping pages. These narrow pages when turned  then reveal additional text and images to further inform the reader. The book design reinforces their narrative as to state; nothing is very easy or as straight forward as it might first appear.

In her earlier book The Epilogue, she weaved sharply delineated family archive photographs of her subject in with her own documentary style photographs, while in this book the archive photographs of her subject are frequently less defined. In many instances there is only a hint of a potential likeness of her subject, perhaps due to confidentiality.  Nevertheless I find the abstracted portraits to create more visually expansive images and allowing the reader to reflect on their own version of this story. Does it really change the impact of her narrative if we see the actual likeness of someone who has passed away as a result of some botched medical procedure or social/cultural taboo?

This book is a call to action and the subject is still extremely slippery, while she makes a strong case that we as a society need to reexamine many of our cultural and moral beliefs as to these difficult situations for women.

Other photobooks by Laia Abril featured on The PhotoBook Journal: The Epilogue and Thinspiration

Cheers

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March 18, 2018

Report on Photobook Day at LACP Open House, March 17

Filed under: Artist Books, Book Publications, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: — Gerhard Clausing @ 9:30 pm

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Yesterday was a very exciting day at the Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) in Hollywood. During its Open House Weekend, March 17 emphasized photobooks.

The day started with a fascinating presentation by our own Douglas Stockdale. In covering the topic “Photobook Pre-Visualization,” he took the audience on a tour of his own book-publishing history, and shared some of the thoughts, trials, and tribulations behind each of several projects. Contrasting his commercially published volume Ciociaria with several projects in the self-publishing category (Bluewater Shore, Middle Ground), it was an apt demonstration how projects move from the conceptual stage to the finished product, and what all can happen in between. Doug especially emphasized the importance of the necessary haptic and visceral experience with physical “dummies” (maquettes), since you can change the format and sequence around as much as necessary until a satisfactory sample is arrived at. For his latest project, Middle Ground, he showed four stages of dummy preparation.

Dan Milnor, Creative Evangelist for Blurb, was next, with his presentation “Self-Publishing for Photographers: Blurb Books.” Here too the emphasis was on creativity and experimentation. Blurb provides a variety of tools and printing sizes and formats to fit any idea a photographer might have. Dan emphasized that potential photobook artists should dare to break out of the constraints of predictability and sameness. He encouraged each photographer to be “an interesting original human being” and to collaborate, especially with excellent designers.  He then presented a range of photobooks, published by himself over time, as well as by others, showing multiple format ideas, and discussed some cost issues as well.

The third major event was a panel discussion on “How to Get Your Book Published.” With Douglas Stockdale as moderator, experiences were shared by Stephen Schafer, Cat Gwynn (we will be reviewing her book here shortly), Sarah Hadley, Dan Milnor, and Mark Edward Harris. Projects covered included, among others,  photography in exotic locales, publishing offbeat projects, and the role of photography as a therapeutic experience.

In the vendor area, it was possible to check out products and services presented by ASMP-Los Angeles, Blurb, Canon, Dual Graphics, Fabrik Projects, Freestyle, Hahnemühle, and The Artist Corner. A portfolio and book walk by LACP members and presenters (shown above), as well as raffle prize drawings, rounded out the afternoon. The day was also enhanced by food and refreshments facilitated by the one and only Julia Dean (Executive Director), Brandon Gannon, and other dedicated staff members and assistants. Thank you to all — it was a lovely and productive day!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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Douglas Stockdale, explaining one of the dummy stages of Middle Ground

 

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Dan Milnor, Blurb Creative Evangelist

 

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Panel Discussion: D. Stockdale with Stephen Schafer, Cat Gwynn discussing Ten-Mile Radius, and Sarah Hadley

 

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Sarah Hadley discussing her project about Venice, with Dan Milnor

 

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Dan Milnor listening to Mark Edward Harris

 

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Photography is about sharing!
All photographs © Gerhard Clausing 2018

March 14, 2018

Michael Dalton – The Great Falls

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:22 pm

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Photographer: Michael Dalton (born Marshfield, MA & resides in MA)

Published by Peperoni Books, Berlin, DE copyright 2017

Text: English

Hard cover book, sewn, printed by Wanderer, Germany

Photobook designer: Kiran Puri

Notes: I was fortunate to share a table at the Medium Festival in San Diego last October adjacent to one that Michael Dalton was hosting and able to leisurely discuss his first book, The Great Falls, in a little more detail. Thus learn that his beautifully rendered photographs were created with an 8×10” camera and that a number of the images in his photobook are essentially contact prints from those large sheets of film. And that the double exposures were created purposefully, allowing for some serendipity that results from this exposure experimentation.

This photobook is a gritty biography of a post-industrial city; Patterson which is located in a region of New Jersey that has seen better times. Dalton provides ample visual evidence that at one time Patterson was a bustling city of commerce that probably thrived on the flowing river and falls within its boundaries as evidenced by the large industrial size remnants.

His documentation of the debris, trash and abandoned buildings appear to haunt his urban landscape as he takes an unkind eye to his subject. Perhaps the city of Patterson is indeed in a deteriorating state and this project might be construed as another “ruin-porn” documentation common to post-industrial blight. Even his lyrical photographs have discerning elements; a rusting metal container, shattered glass, green slime and graffiti that belie a tranquil landscape.

Nevertheless, Dalton captures an undercurrent of resilience for this tough area, photographing individuals and couples who call this city home. Perhaps due to the fact that his subjects know that they are being photographed (hard to sneak a photograph when using a giant 8×10” camera), they do not appear to show the strain of living in the troubled environmental conditions that encompass this region. His subjects are standing amid the trash, perhaps in part resignation to the surrounding conditions, yet showing indications of affection and that provides some element of hope that these individuals will persevere.

Likewise, the book ends with a series of green and lush landscape photographs that implies that nature, and perhaps mankind, is slowly reclaiming this region and that that an order and balance may yet be restored.

This photobook is solidly produced, rendering the color photographs with clarity and dignity, a delightful book to hold and read.

Cheers,

Douglas Stockdale

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March 4, 2018

Photo Book pop-up exhibit and curator talk at Palos Verdes Art Center

Filed under: Photo Books, Photo Book NEWS, Artist Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:31 pm

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Photo Book Pop-up exhibition, Palos Verdes Art Center, February 2018 copyright photos by Karen Schuenemann

As was previously announced, I gave a curatorial talk about Photo Books as Art for the Photographic and Digital Art (PADA) group of the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) at their facility last week.

I had intended to highlight just the photobooks that Gerhard and I had selected as the Most Interesting Photo Books for 2017, but as I set these aside, on the spur of the moment I included some additional photobooks from my collection that provided a more diverse look at the creative side of the photo book object. Thus I included the following photographer’s photobooks; Mariela Sancari’s self-published Moises (one of the best photobooks of 2016), Claire Felicie’s self-published Only the Sky Remains Untouched (second place, Photo Independent’s International Photo Book Competition), Ellen Korth’s self-published CHARKOW (winner, Photo Independent’s International Photo Book Competition), Roger Ballen’s Ballenesque and The Theatre of Apparitions, Max Pam’s Ramadan in Yemen, Kate Nolan’s Neither, Andrej Lamut’s Nokturno, Renee Jacobs’s Slow Burn (limited edition version) Tymon Markowski’s self-published Flow, Harvey Benge’s Home Town Dream, Matej Sitar’s self-published America, My Way and Nancy Rexroth’s IOWA. I also shared by Blurb book dummy In Passing and introduced my photographic project Middle Ground to illustrate the development of a book dummy, which I had all three versions of Middle Ground.

The group was pretty enthusiastic about the international scope and creative designs that I included in this pop-up mini exhibition. The discussions were pretty wide ranging from the book designs, book designers, self-publishing, book printing and just about everything in between. At the conclusion of my presentation, everyone had a chance to inspect and further discuss the featured books.

Later this month I will be providing a mini-seminar, Photo Book Pre-visualization, as well as leading a book discussion panel for Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) on Saturday, March 17th, details here. I will also have available some of my photobooks, including Bluewater Shore, Ciociaria and Guide to Self-publishing an Indie Artist Book.

Cheers!

02-28-18 Stockdale during Photo Book Presentation for PADA by Karen Schuenemann

March 1, 2018

Rodrigo Ramos – Ex Corde (From the Heart; De todo corazón)

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: — Gerhard Clausing @ 6:38 am

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Photographer:  Rodrigo Ramos (born and lives in Mexico City, Mexico)

Publisher:  Self-published; © 2015

Illustrated folder (29.5×40 cm) containing 8 sheets (76×27.5 cm), folded in half, yielding 32 pages; color offset printing by Offset Santiago in Mexico City; edition of 500

Photobook design:  Alejandra Magdaleno, Emiliano Molina, Rodrigo Ramos

Notes: I selected this book as an excellent example for how a project can evolve from an idea through the maquette (dummy) stage to the final published product, garnering awards along the way. Rodrigo Ramos has had an interest in photographing boxers to show the struggles they endure, ranging from career hopes and ambitions, physical and mental training and stamina, to the actual encounters in sports events with the potential and actual injuries of various levels of severity.

As the project progressed, the metaphorical importance of the boxers’ struggles as a representation of strength, masculinity, and, at the same time, vulnerability became evident, and the artistic implications of his work were strengthened. This metaphor allows us to apply those struggles to those we experience ourselves, our own hopes, ambitions, fears, hurts, and the overall meaning of life, subject to many emotions, “from the heart.” The inspiration for this work, the martyr San Sebastian, is fitting: the fight for what you believe in can require extreme hardships.

The photographs in this volume are very dynamic, well-chosen shots of the training sessions and fight events, both portraits and action shots—overall, a very body-focused approach. The sheets, when folded in half, measure 11×15 inches, and are presented in a slightly larger folder, well printed (some are printed flush across the entire size, i.e., 22×15 inches), while others are diptychs, resembling a well-thought-out professional portfolio; the juxtaposition of the images flows well, by subject, shape, gesture, and color. Since the sheets are loose, not bound, they can be arranged differently by the viewer.

I highly value the fact that this loose-leaf structure empowers the viewer/owner of the book. You can study the narrative sequence as designed by the makers of the book. Or, like a puzzle, you can reassemble the images and juxtapose them in any order and in any combination you desire. Thus the viewer/owner is elevated to the role of full participant, both regarding the curating of the art, as well as the personal impact particular pairings may have. You can mount your own exhibition, to match the ideas you may have as to what images best go together in your own mind.

The possibilities of such a book model and its particular personal reinvention are almost endless. A couple of examples of new juxtapositions are shown below. We see this model of narrative presentation seldom enough; prime examples are David Alan Harvey’s based on a true story (contemporary Rio) and Douglas Stockdale’s Bluewater Shore (women on vacation, based on family photographs), which I reviewed here.

Ex Corde by Rodrigo Ramos was included in CLAP! – Contemporary Latin American Photobooks, discussed in The PhotoBook Journal  here.

This volume of photographs is not only fascinating to view, but also gives the viewers the opportunity to get in touch with their own struggles and outcomes. A superb challenge!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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February 26, 2018

Harvey Benge – Home Town Dream

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Photographer: Harvey Benge (born New Zealand & resides Auckland, New Zealand & Paris)

FAQEDITIONS (Self-Published) Limited Edition, signed and numbered book + print (E 50): Auckland, NZ copyright 2017

Text: English

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Stiff cover, saddle-stitch binding, four-color printing, printed in NZ

Photobook designer: Harvey Benge

Notes: A mysterious and ambiguous narrative with dark hints of surrealism, which in some ways appears that I am attempting to describe a fine bottle of wine. Perhaps I am.

In Harvey Benge’s introduction, he states that this smaller body of work is an extraction from a trade book intended to be published in 2018 and that this compilation of photographs was created over a ten year duration. “In this experimental work I simply wanted to see what would happen if I constructed this book only using the Auckland pictures, placing them in the same order that they will appear in the expanded trade edition. This makes for a picture sequence that is totally random and constructed without the use of logic or intuition. Make of it what you will.”

Nevertheless there are still some characteristics of Benge’s photo-documentary style that resonates with me apparently irrespective of this attempt at randomness. Each page spread is a mini-drama echoing some element; be it shapes, color or a similar poignant moment. This stylistic thread that runs thru the book probably hearkens back to the larger edit in his investigation of the nature of dreams. His short narrative creates an interest in what still lies ahead.

Other photobooks of Harvey Benge reviewed on TPBJ: The Month Before TrumpStill Looking for ItAll of the Places I’ve Even Known,  Eat Me, Sri Lanka Diary, February 2011BirdsAgainst Forgetting

Cheers

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February 24, 2018

Photobook Day March 17 With Douglas Stockdale & Special Guests – LACP Open House (March 16-18, 2018)

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Photo courtesy of Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor of  The PhotoBook Journal

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Join LACP for our Sixth Annual
Spring Open House


Featuring workshops, panel discussions, portfolio & photo book walk, raffle prizes, vendors, food, drink and much more!!

March 16th – 18th, 10 am – 5 pm

 

On Friday, March 16, 10 am – 5 pm, bring your old, used camera equipmentand turn it into cash! 

  • KEH Camera will be at LACP all day buying used photo equipment
    On Saturday, March 17th, 10 am – 5 pm, celebrate the Photo Book with workshops, panel discussions, portfolio walks and more!

 

Saturday, March 17, 10 am – 5 pm

On Saturday, March 17th, 10 am – 5 pm, celebrate the Photo Book with workshops, panel discussions, portfolio walks and more!

10:15-11:00 am – “Photo Book Pre-Visualization” taught by  Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor, The PhotoBook Journal
$20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members

11:15 am-12:00 pm – “Self-Publishing for Photographers: Blurb Books” with Dan Milnor,
$20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members

12:30-1:30 pm – Free Panel Discussion, “How to Get Your Photo Book Published,
moderated by Douglas Stockdale, Founder/Editor, The PhotoBook Journal
Panelists include Dan Milnor, Cat Gwynn, and more (TBA).

2:30-4:30 pm – Free Portfolio and Photo Book Walk featuring the work of LACP Members  (contact info@lacphoto.org to sign up for a table space)

Throughout the day:
• There will be various organizations and vendors present including ASMP Los Angeles, Hahnemühle, Freestyle, Blurb, The Artist Corner, and more!
• Raffle tickets available and prize drawings!
• Complimentary lunch (served from 1:30 – 2:30 pm)
• Complimentary wine and beer (served from 1:30-4:30 pm)

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Sunday, March 18, 10 am – 5 pm

  • Come take part in one of several of our 17 “mini” classes and seminars.  A full day pass is only $100!!

10:00 am:
1) “Portraiture: An Artistic Journey” with Ken Merfeld
2) “Understanding Your Camera’s Features” with Peter Bennett

11:00 am:
1) “Introduction to the Documentary World” with Kevin Weinstein
2) “Let’s Talk Lenses” with Peter Bennett
3) “Creating Worlds and Stories with Photomontage” with Ry Sangalang

12:00 pm:
1) “Portrait Studio Lighting” with Jennifer Emery
2) “The Singular Vision” with Andrew Southam
3) “Optimizing Your Images in Camera Raw Before using Photoshop” with Ed Freeman

2:00 pm:
1) “Street Photography Essentials” with Ibarionex Perello
2) “Moving Your Career Forward: Steps to Success for Photographers” with Sherrie Berger
3) “Black & White Conversion using Lightroom” with Rollence Patugan

3:00 pm:
1) “Crash Flash” with Julia Dean
2) “Best Practices Using Social Media for Photographers” with Paul-Michael Carr, TBA
3) “Monitor Calibration” with Eric Joseph

4:00 pm:
1) “How to Teach Photography” with Julia Dean
2) TBA
3) “Digital Printmaking Primer” with Eric Joseph

  • Click HERE to sign up for the classes.  (Please note not all classes are posted yet.)
    • Individual classes are $20 for Members; $40 for Non-Members. Sign up now! Seating is limited.
    A one-day Sunday pass is $100 for Members; $200 for Non-Members.

The Open House is all about community. It’s a time and place for all those interested in photography and the arts to come together and meet, socialize, learn, laugh and grow. Network with other artists, try your luck at some terrific raffle prizes, sell your used camera equipment, meet organizational vendors, take some classes and more! Whatever your pleasure may be, we encourage you to spend a weekend with us, invite your family and friends, and enjoy some good camaraderie, fellowship and fun!

A Time and Place for the
Photo Community to Come Together

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February 23, 2018

Photo Books as Art – Artist talk

Filed under: Photo Books, Photo Book NEWS, Artist Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:17 am

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Book dummy #2, Middle Ground, copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

For those on the left coast next week, I am very happy to be speaking on “PhotoBooks as Art” for the Photographic and Digital Artist Group (PADA) at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. For non-members there is a $10.00 fee, with the good news is that you will also be in the drawing for one of my photobooks.

Additionally I will be introducing my current photobook project that is in development, Middle Ground, a political satire (some now calling it a political protest book). FYI, starting to take names for an interest list to be released later this year.

The PADA announcement:

DOUGLAS STOCKDALE TO SPEAK ON “PHOTOBOOKS AS ART” at PVAC WEDNESDAY, FEB 28
Douglas Stockdale, artist, educator, mentor and founding publisher of The PhotoBook Journal will give photographers tips on using photobooks as a way of presenting their portfolios and as works of art in themselves at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7 pm. At this meeting, sponsored by the Photographic and Digital Artists Group (PADA), Stockdale will review selections by the editors of The PhotoBook Journal for their “Interesting Photo Books for 2017”. 

The books to be discussed will be available at the presentation and can be previewed on The PhotoBook Journal website

Admission to this event for non-PADA members is $10 and automatically enters the ticket holder in a drawing for one of the speaker’s books.

Two of Stockdale’s limited edition artist books were recognized, respectively, as one of the Best Photography Books for 2017 and 2014. He has curated/juried photobook exhibitions for Photo Independent and Fotografia Internazionale di Roma, Rome, and co-curated with 10×10 Photobooks and FotoBookFestival Kassel (Germany) and was a guest curator for LA Photo Curator.

The PhotoBook Journal
Feature & promote photographers & artists & their published work

Hope to see you there!

Douglas

February 21, 2018

Charles-Frédérick Ouellet – Le Naufrage

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Photographer:  Charles-Frédérick Ouellet (born in Chicoutimi; lives in Québec City, Canada)

Publisher:  Les Éditions du renard, Montréal, Canada; © 2017

Text:  Poem “Dompter le naufrage” by Fabien Cloutier

Language:  French

Illustration:  Frédérik Lévesque

Hardback, sewn; 108 pages with 55 images, paginated; 9 x 10.5″; printed in Canada by Deschamps Impression; edition of 500 and special edition of 30

Photobook Design:  Charles-Frédérick Ouellet and CRITERIUM

 

Notes:

I recently reviewed a book by Gerald Boyer from Catalonia, in which the main emphasis was childhood recollections and family connections around the rugged terrain along the northeastern coast of Spain. Part of those recollections concerned the camaraderie of going fishing in “the cove.” In the present work, things get much rougher.  Charles-Frédérick Ouellet has been documenting the very traditional work of the fishermen of the Quebec/St. Lawrence River area and its connected bodies of water, men who earn their livelihood by braving rough waters and other natural turmoil to bring home their catch; they follow in the path of ancient traditions.

The title of this volume is Le Naufrage (The Shipwreck), and that title certainly makes us wonder if the specter of tragedy and unforeseen events are in the minds of such men pursuing their rugged trade. And sure enough, in the back of the volume there is a fitting poem by Fabien Cloutier entitled, “Dompter le naufrage” (“Dodging the Shipwreck,” perhaps with the implication, “Against all odds”), which lets us in on the images floating about in the fishermen’s minds: separated from their people, they will brave the storm, overcome their fear of disaster, and get back safely to the land and their loved ones again…

This narrative of fishermen is well photographed and handsomely presented. Ouellet rode along on the boats for several years and got to know the men well, pitched in when needed, and was subject to the same adverse conditions as they were. Thus they fully accepted him; he was able to obtain honest views of both calm and rough moments. There is some effect of pictorialism to the work, and I mean that in a very complimentary way. The overall feeling of nostalgia, survival, and temporality is generalized through choices of light and composition that nudge the work toward the abstract and support its strong graphic impact. The longing for the safety of the land exists along with the urge for excitement; the romantic veneer has been removed and the images show the best photojournalistic vision that is enveloped in an artistic presentation. The segment of images taken on the water is surrounded by an initial and a final portion that show terra firma and recollections of nature as a kind of “before”and “after,” which complete the contexts these men experience. The use of small Leica film-based rangefinder cameras on the water, and large-format film cameras for the landscapes and clouds, was a very effective strategy that provided Ouellet with technical ruggedness when needed and an overall artistic look. We are put in the midst of the action in well-composed images and nicely sequenced scenic views. The ever-changing weather conditions certainly also provide a strong background for this narrative. Paisley endpapers, a very pleasing matte paper stock for the printed pages (both ivory and gray), a bound bookmark, and a painting showing rough waves also support the elegant appearance of this book.

A most enjoyable volume!

Gerhard Clausing

 

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February 20, 2018

Workshop on Photobook Editing with Valentina Abenavoli – Kassel, Germany, May 28-30, 2018

Filed under: Book Publications, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: — Gerhard Clausing @ 8:55 am

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The Tenth Photobook Festival in Kassel, Germany, will feature an interesting collaborative workshop on editing photographs in preparation for photobook publication, “From the Theory to the Book.” It will be led by Valentina Abenavoli, who is also a successful publisher of photobooks (AKINA Books).

The description of this English-language workshop states in part:

FROM THE THEORY TO THE BOOK  is a collaborative workshop aimed to analyse how to read an image, understanding the endless possibilities of the editing process and its meaningful limitations, as well as exploring and developing a method both creative and practical, with a hand-on approach for the sequence. The workshop will attempt to cover all the theoretical tools useful to build up a visual narrative in the book form: shifting the reading of a single image to a sequence of images, editing according to the concept and the intentions of the work, questioning the visual representation and the messages conveyed in the images, when placed in a sequence. Collective feedback and trials will lead to discover possible pairs and sequences of photographs, understanding the potential of a photographic project and re-imagine it in a book form. Every photobook is a self-contained universe with its own set of rules. A series of photographs can be a starting point for the process of creating a story, within two covers. During the genesis of a photobook, ambiguities and clashes, unexpected juxtapositions and riddles will emerge, revealing the pleasure and pain of visual language. Every picture will gain a different meaning when placed in a broader perspective of the book as a whole.

More information can be found on their website.

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