The PhotoBook Journal

August 24, 2017

Michael Lundgren – Matter

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Photographer: Michael Lundgren (born Denver, CO & resides in Phoenix, AZ, (USA)

Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM (USA) copyright 2016

Text: English

Hard cover, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Confluence poster, printed by Editoriale Bortolazzi-Stei, Verona (IT)

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above: inside back cover, taped spine (binding) of text block, back pocket, folded poster

Photobook designer: David Chickey, Michael Lundgren

Notes:

Matter, as defined in the dictionary: physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy.

Michael Lundgren’s subjects are photographed in a variety of lighting conditions that define the subjects form (and mass) while also attempting to create enough ambiguity to create dissociation to un-moor you from your memory and associations as to what the subject might be. These various objects are encountered in the American Southwest and Mexican desert as well as in Spain.

I had the good fortune to meet up with Michael briefly at last year’s Medium Festival in San Diego. I had the misfortune of not being able to locate and bring with my copy of his earlier Transfigurations that was published in 2008, which was until recently hiding from me in my library stacks. There can be a downside in possessing toooo many photobooks.

Nevertheless I am going to defer to an intriguing interview in the British Journal of Photography earlier this year, which Lundgren states philosophically “The best description of magical realism is finding magic in the rational world. I’m not concerned with being an environmental photographer; I’m concerned with making images that make you feel something you can’t quite understand,” he continues. “There’s something that happens when you’re presented with what you can’t quite fathom. The agreements that I have in my mind in my world view are halted and they are interpreted. Within that interruption, there’s the possibility to see something that we didn’t know. I want to put you in a different world,” he says. “You can’t walk into this place and neither can you leave. You can only turn the page. These aren’t landscapes from real tradition: this is an isolating method. I’m interested in how flat photographs can exist almost as a three dimensional experience”

This exploration is a continuation of his earlier published book project, Transfigurations, an investigation that was completed in the black and white medium. In Matter he introduces the use of color to further examine and perhaps expand on the the potential symbolism of his subjects. This is indeed color except with a twist of magical realism; a dead green animal, a small pool of red liquid, a white inverted snake, a red mass with blacken tentacles or swirls of milky-brown dense clouds. These are various elements of matter that create questions and cause one to reconsider the natural world and one’s own expectations and understanding of reality. An intriguing and thought provoking, while yet visually poetic, investigation.

Lundgren was featured previously on The PhotoBook Journal; Transfigurations

Cheers

Douglas Stockdale

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August 23, 2017

Media partners – Lucie Foundation

Filed under: Photo Books, Photo Book NEWS — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 2:51 pm

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Lucie Foundation, Photo Book Prize

We are very happy to announce that The PhotoBook Journal is a media partner with the Lucie Foundation for their first Photo Book Prize. We will continue to provide additional updates on the Book Prize as information becomes available.

The deadline for making the virtual book submission is looming. Books will not be required unless these are juried-in for the New York exhibition.

At the moment, we regretfully do not plan to be in NYC for this photobook event; I will be teaching a one-day Photo Book Marketing workshop that weekend with LACP and Gerhard will be participating in the Medium Photo Festival in San Diego. A very busy Fall schedule!

Cheers,

Douglas

August 15, 2017

CLAP! – Contemporary Latin American Photobooks

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:45 pm

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Edited by Olga Yatskevich, Russet Lederman, Matthew Carson & Michael Lang

Published by 10 x 10 Photobooks (NY) copyright 2017

Text: English & Spanish (Español) & Portuguese

Stiff cover with folded dust jacket, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Index, List of Photographers and Editors, printed by SYL, Barcelona, Spain

Photobook designer: Richardo Baez

Notes:

This is another collective survey of photobooks by the 10 x 10 photobooks team, Editors Olga Yatskevich, Russet Lederman, Matthew Carson & Associate Editor Michael Lang, this time with a focus on what has been published in and by Latin America(s) between 2000 and 2016. These Latin photobooks were selected by 18 photobook specialist who study or follow the publications by photographers in this region. This survey is an interesting, broad and diverse teaser of publications by Latin photographers and photographic oriented artist. Likewise, the subject matter is equally broad, with many photobooks that might be termed having a strong Latin orientation.

CLAP! has a very creative design layout which unlike the earlier 10×10 American Photobooks I found be a challenge to determine what the true orientation of the referenced interior book spread, thus a bit confusing as to what the photobook may actually look like. The accompanying CLAP! Photobook Index of the book’s covers is a more traditional design and layout as well as a delight to cruise and speculate what might be lurking within the covers.

In our efforts for this journal to provide a broad discussion of international photobooks we have previously reviewed some of the photobooks found in CLAP!, thus we can help provide a little more in-depth examination of what is occurring in Latin America. Our book reviews include those by Alejandro Cartagena, Before the War and Carpoolers, Mariela Sancari, Moises and Guilherme Gerais, Intergalatico.

CLAP! provides wonderful evidence of the diversity and high energy going into the development of photobook by Latin photographers and this catalog provides ample opportunity to explore the many Latin photobook possibilities.

Previous 10×10 Photobook publications featured on TPBJ: 10 x 10 American Photobooks

If you found this review of interest, you may also want to check out America Latina Photographs: 1960 – 2013.

Cheers, Douglas Stockdale

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August 12, 2017

Harvey Benge – The Month Before Trump

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Photographer: Harvey Benge (resides Auckland (NZ) and Paris (FR))

Self-Published & Limited Edition with signed print (Edition – 50): New Zealand copyright 2017

Text: English

Stiff cover, saddle stitch binding, four-color lithography, printed NZ

Photobook designer: Harvey Benge

Notes: x

Harvey Benge’s The Month Before Trump is a collection of photographs made in the United States, specifically San Francisco and New York in October 2016, the month before the presidential elections. As a New Zealander who spends equal time between Auckland and Paris, he provides a sophisticated outsider’s eye which reminds me of a contemporary Robert Frank and his 1950’s seminal photobook The Americans.

While I believe Frank is a bit more searing in his vision, I find Benge to be a bit more subtle, while both photographers provide a unique while sarcastic view of the American urban landscape. As in earlier Benge photobooks, the paring of the mostly horizontal images create wonderful dialogs while usually sharing a spot of color or tonality to complement the resulting juxtaposition narrative.

Benge explains;

My pictures explore the strange anthropology of cities. The unusual and overlooked in the human landscape. I am asking the viewer to question the idea that photographs as documents are complete representations of subject. I’m interested in the universality of life and the idea of parallel lives – when one thing is happening here, something else is happening over there. The democracy of non-places fascinates me, in the knowledge that inevitably nothing is as it seems.

While the making his observations of the morphing American landscape was at a time prior to knowing the political outcome, the subsequent editing for his book was with the full realization of who had inadvertently landed a White House job. Thus perhaps the reason for what I perceive as an underlying dark edginess to his urban investigation.

Other photobooks by Harvey Benge that have been reviewed on The PhotoBook Journal; Sri Landa Diary, Birds, Against Forgetting, Eat me, Still Looking for It, All the Places I’ve Even Known, One day – Ten Photographers.

 

 

Cheers, Douglas Stockdale

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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.

August 8, 2017

Eanna de Freine – The Indie Photobook Publishing Guide

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:56 pm

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Copyright Eanna de Freine 2017

Since many of the readers of TPBJ are either interested in self-publishing or at least knowing more about self-publishing, we want to share a new and (somewhat) FREE Indie Photobook Publishing Guide. Okay, maybe not entirely free, as you can read the Guide on line, but if you want to download it and obtain some of the other freebies, then you will need to recommend it to three friends, providing de Freine with some additional email addresses for his newsletter. Regretfully not always a free lunch.

So in advance I will reveal that I was involved in the development of this guide as a Beta reader, Editor and interviewed for one of the self-publishing Case Studies about my recently released Bluewater Shore. I was also joined by Clare Rowland, Tom Westbury, Euan Ross, Kalen Lee, Domenico Bruno Lobkowitz, David Flynn, Gabriele Harhoff and Uwe Bedenbecke in the Editing and other Case Studies were provided by Rohan Hutchinson, Gabrielle Harhoff, Nuno Moreira, Sebastien Tixier, Dustin Shum, Christophe le Toquin, Matej Sitar (America My Way), Sandra Koestler and Diane Vincent (OBEN).

Eanna de Freine is the publisher behind the Indie press The Velvet Cell and has seven years experience producing over 60 titles (six of which are his own photobooks) that have achieved total sales of over 5,000 copies. So he draws on all of that publishing experience as well as the collective advice from the various Editors that he has enlisted to ensure that his Guide is based on solid footing.

That said, what the guide does not get into in much depth is the editing and sequencing of a book, but the accompanying Case Studies do discuss this important aspect of developing a photobook.

Where the Guide shines is:

  • Why consider Indie publishing for your photobook
  • Important questions to ask yourself before proceeding
  • The biggest mistakes self-publishers make
  • How to fund and validate your photobook before you go to print
  • How to prepare and print your photobook in the most economical way
  • How to sell and distribute your photobook online and to bookshops
  • Creative ways to grow your fan-base and build an audience who will eagerly await your next book

Thus if self-publishing is in your future then this practical Guide should help as many photographers and artists can attest that publishing a photobook, either with an established publisher or doing it yourself, can be a bumpy ride. It is really nice opportunity to take advantage of the pitfalls and experience of others.

So check it out (here) and see if this Guide might help you on your self-publishing journey. I would be interested in hearing your feedback. I am also available to assist with mentoring you on this journey if you would like some additional assistance.

Cheers, Douglas Stockdale

August 5, 2017

KayLynn Deveney – All You Can Lose Is Your Heart

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Gerhard Clausing @ 1:39 pm

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Photographer:  KayLynn Deveney (born Albuquerque, New Mexico; resides in Northern Ireland and New Mexico [summers])

Publisher:  Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg & Berlin, Germany; © 2015

Essays:  KayLynn Deveney, Jean Valjean Vandruff, Hank Stuever

Text:  English

Cloth-bound sewn hardcover; 128 numbered pages, 62 full-color illustrations; 20×24 cm, printed in Germany

Designer:  KayLynn Deveney and Kehrer Design

Notes: 

The “typology” approach – series of objects that are similar yet different, and their interesting variations – has been around in photography since the exhibition and publication of New Topographics in 1975. Here at The PhotoBook Journal, we reviewed the industrial typologies of the Bechers in 2009, dealing with the works  At Museo Murandi  and Basic Forms of Industrial Buildings, as well as applying the same principle to other man-made structures in landscapes in our 2010 review of New Topographics (an excellent short overview of some of the genre’s history). That work was mostly monochrome, thus visually somewhat removed from our everyday life as we experience it in our current super-saturated current world of smartphones and selfies.

So here we find ourselves in the era of typology revisited – photographer KayLynn Deveney visits “storybook ranch houses” in the Western United States more than half a century after they were built, in order to observe what has happened in the meantime, resulting in a typological study of latter-day user treatments. This is a documentary and a sociological assignment, to be sure; many of the houses have changed hands a number of times in the interim, and a variety of people have left their mark on these buildings that once represented the homes that middle-class buyers were encouraged to dream about. As she states in the introduction on page seven, “the photographs of the houses come to stand in as metaphorical family portraits.”

It seems that color images are the best way to document these changes: plants (some of which outdo the relatively drab structures in color and size), seasonal decorations, cars and trucks, pets or statues of pets, and pottery, add some warmth to a generally alien and distant architecture of kitschy sameness that nevertheless has the effect of conveying or providing some simulated folk-world-related comfort. We marvel at the variety of ways that residents have added touches of individual meaning to their homes. In addition, there are a few double-page spreads featuring two similar houses in different locations, or two treatments of portions of the same house. The locations of the homes are noted in their captions.

This volume also greatly benefits from an essay by Hank Stuever on “Dream Homes” that explains the architecture from the perspective of the culture of its time, and delves into the application of a fairy-tale approach to people’s homes in an age of nuclear anxiety. The essay gives us an idea regarding the dreams and hopes of buyers of times gone by, and how the dream-fulfillment was orchestrated by architects and builders of the middle of the 20th century, as well as how it was implemented in several areas of the United States. “All you can lose is your heart” was an advertising slogan meant to entice families (especially the “lady of the house”) to purchase such homes that were somewhat at odds with the environment for which they were built. The comments by the architect, Jean Valjean Vandruff, regarding the concept and history of these “Cinderella Homes,” along with reprints of the original advertising and an exterior design drawing, also provide some important background information.

A very interesting study indeed! I am hoping that KayLynn will apply her formidable visual scouting prowess to similar projects of homes and their culture in Northern Ireland and other places!

Gerhard Clausing

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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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July 20, 2017

Penny Wolin – Descendants of Light. American Photographers of Jewish Ancestry

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , , — Gerhard Clausing @ 10:29 am

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Photographer: Penny Wolin (born Cheyenne, Wyoming; resides Sebastopol, California)

Publisher:  Crazy Woman Creek Press, Cheyenne, Wyoming, © 2015 Penny Wolin (portions by others)

Essays:  Alan Trachtenberg, Yale U.; Penny Wolin; various quotes, interview segments, and background details

Text:  English

Cloth-bound sewn hardcover with illustrated dust cover; 244 numbered pages, four-color and duotone lithography; 14×10 inches, printed by Dual Graphics, Brea, California

Designer:  Bunne Hartmann

Notes:

“The camera was an affirmation of the miraculous.“  Abe Frajndlich, p. 52

“Exploring other people’s identities took me to exploring my own.“  Lori Grinker, p. 64

Telling stories about storytellers is not an easy task, but Penny Wolin excels at it. This book is a painstakingly researched and intelligently thought-out compendium of ideas and visual content along several dimensions. It contains cultural information and stimuli, drawing on the featured photographers’ shared cultural history and beliefs that provide the basis for a rich universe of creative thought and stimulation, against a background that also is tinged by discrimination and suffering. Dozens of influential photographers are featured: their biographical and bibliographical information, challenging interview segments, portraits of many of them by Penny Wolin, and also photographs by the photographers. This publication is the result of a project encompassing many years of passionate research and collaboration, and was partly crowd-funded.

The book is divided into several sections that complement and enhance each other. First there is an introductory section that contains Penny Wolin’s rationale and procedure, Alan Trachtenberg’s essay on the Jewish eye (an illuminating gateway to the subject), and other pieces of wisdom. Part 2, “The Photographers,” is a rich resource of quotes and interview reactions in response to Penny Wolin’s questions regarding family background and personal and professional influences and beliefs. At times she interviewed the photographers’ descendants in the case of those deceased; wherever possible she created very astute photographic portraits of the photographers as well, as shown in the excerpted visuals below. Some images from the photographers’ past often are included, in order to also give a visual glimpse into their background. Part 3, “Questions about Answers” is guided by major concerns (injustice, anti-Semitism, and others) that are related to group identity and the possibilities of group visibility or invisibility, and the benefits of having a feeling of belonging. Part 4, “The Work,” contains a well chosen photograph by each of the photographers, along with some select bibliography for each. The volume concludes with a detailed index, further bibliography, and a glossary that explains cultural and other special expressions. The book is superbly printed by Dual Graphics in Brea, California, a firm with a distinguished printing record going back to Ansel Adams, as described by Douglas Stockdale. In the same way that the printer is devoted to technical excellence, so is Penny Wolin – her portraits were made on medium format film and scanned from silver-gelatin exhibition prints.

Suffice it to say that all the pages in this book are fascinating. Each time you pick up this volume, there are new things to discover. The artists included constitute a virtual encyclopedia of creative forces that have allowed us special views of the world through their informed creative eyes. Just to name a few:  Sid Avery, Lilian Bassman, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Lauren Greenfield, Philippe Halsman, Claudia Kunin, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Levitt, John Loengard, Joel Meyerowitz, Melvin Sokolsky, Arthur Tress, Joel-Peter Witkin, and many, many more (the complete list is shown in the last image below). It is the kind of project that invites the reader and viewer to share, both intellectually and visually, in a rich cultural framework and its creative visual output. In the section below, I have chosen to juxtapose a few of the photographers as featured in Parts 2 and 4, so that you see Penny Wolin’s portrait of the photographer first and the photograph by the photographer second. Beyond that, I will leave it to you, the reader and viewer, to obtain the book and discover the many gems of wisdom and insight for yourself.

This important volume about these influential figures in photography should not be missing in the library of anyone who wishes to gain an appreciation of what inspired these artists to inspire us. Highly recommended!

Gerhard Clausing

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July 11, 2017

LACP Book Marketing Workshop schedule change!

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:21 pm

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Regretfully I need to announce that my LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) one-day workshop Marketing Your Photo Book has had to be rescheduled and will NOT occur the week after on July 22 as was previously planned.

The new date for this workshop is Sunday, October 29th, 2017.

I am very sorry for the inconvenience and I really hope that everyone can make the last minute adjustments.

Best regards, Douglas Stockdale

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