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December 8th, 2009

Want to be part of our new crowd-sourced blog post? Tell us what you think about the future of photobooks!

Posted by liveBooks

What do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years? Will they be digital or physical? Open-source or proprietary? Will they be read on a Kindle or an iPhone? And what aesthetic innovations will have transformed them?

Picture 1I know I’m not alone in pondering these questions. Joerg Colberg echoed these thoughts just last week in a post on Conscientious. Then I talked to Andy Adams at Flak Photo about his weekly features highlighting the winners of Blurb‘s 2009 Photography.Book.Now contest (left), and something clicked.

For a while now, it’s been our goal (at RESOLVE and liveBooks) to find and share new business models that will move photography and the creative industries forward in a positive way. But we’re also eager to conduct our own experiments. And what better place to start than the incredibly flexible blogging format?

Andy and I initially wondered how we could use our blogs in a new way to further illuminate the question, “What will photobooks be like in the year 2019?” We’re not psychic, but we do have a lot of faith in collective intelligence. And with all the talk these days about “crowd-sourcing,” we thought, why can’t we crowd-source a blog post?

Discussions in the blogosphere generally lead readers along trajectories of information, but all those useful ideas rarely get tied back up into a single useful post. We plan to centralize the discussion around this specific topic — photobooks — so that anyone searching for related posts can find them easily and understand the context around them.

So how does this Future of Photobooks thing work? Andy and I have contacted fellow bloggers and asked them to post about the most prescient innovations they’ve seen in the photobook and publishing industries. We’ll add links to those blogs within this post as they go live, so over the next few days you’ll be able to see the “research” for our final post developing in real time.

Adam Westbrook: The future of the Photobook?
Keep Your Shutters Open (Rachel M. Wolfe): Foto Future
eyecurious (Marc Feustel): Some more fuel on the photo book fire
The PhotoBook (Doug Stockdale): Future of Photobooks?
Quintessence (Ellen Rennard): Photo Books in Ten Years?
We Can Shoot Too (J. Wesley Brown): The Photo Book
Ed Kashi Weblog (Paul O’Sullivan): The Future of Photobooks
The PhotoOracle (Tomas Ovalle): Photobooks: Evolution or Revolution? (Nick Turpin): The Future of Photobooks?
TechTock Blog (Jack Howard): Thoughts on the Future of Photo Books (And books in general)
Elysium (Colleen Mullins): Dummy
LOZ (Laurence Vecten): I heart photo books
Green Tea Gallery Magazine (Francesco Gallarotti): The Future of Photobooks
Craig Ferguson Images: For the Love of (Photo)Books
Brereton Blog (Mark Brereton): Photo Books Photo Books
Heather Morton Art Buyer Blog: An Invitation to Participate in a Discussion about the Future of Photobooks
La Pura Vida (Bryan Formhals): The Netflix of Photobooks
Elizabeth Avedon: The Future of Photobooks: Past, Present, and Future
Thought Factory (Gary Sauer-Thompson): Photobooks: Possibilities + Future
Link-Log: The Future of Photography Books?
Darius Himes: The Premise: A Crowd Sourced Blog about Photography Books Publishing
Street Level Japan (Dan Abbe): The Photobooks I Bought This Year
Amy Stein: The Future of Photobooks
New Photographics (Jonathan Worth): ‘The Future of Photo-books’ A response.
Larissa Leclair: Joining the conversation about photobooks
Ben Huff . words & photographs: A few thoughts on books
Little Brown Mushroom (Alec Soth): The Future of Photobooks
Fraction. The blog for the magazine (David Bram): The Future of Photography Books
Food For Your Eyes (Nathalie Belayche): Future of photography books: food for thought
Ocular Octopus (Todd Walker): The Photobook Circa 2019
Luceo Images Blog (David Walter Banks): Resolve Blog: Future of Photobooks
The Space In Between (Stacy Oborn): What May Come: On the Future of Photobooks
altfotonet (Gary Sauer-Thompson): A conversation about the future of photobooks
Shooting Wide Open (Jin Zhu): Photobooks, periodicals, and boxes
Hamburger Eyes (Ray Potes): The Future of Photobooks
Shane Godfrey: What Will Photo Books Look Like in 10 Years?
Sadkids (Geoffrey Ellis): The Future of Photobooks
Daylight Magazine (Michael Itkoff & Taj Forer): Future of the Photo Book
Blurberati Blog: The Future of Photo Books
Jerry Avenaim Photography Blog: The Future of Photography Books?
Harlan Erskine Photography/Blog: Thinking about the future of the Photobook
The Online Photographer (Mike Johnston): The Future of the Photo Book
Critical Terrain (Alan Rapp): Inversely Proportional: thoughts on the future of the photobook
Lens Culture (Jim Casper): The Future of Magazines and Photobooks?
Exposures Blog (Lesley Martin): The Future of the Photobook
Emily Goligoski: The Future of Photobooks (& Media Monetization?)
Image Your Emotions (Jean-Baptiste Blanc): Future of photobooks
Lens Culture (Jim Casper): Simon Roberts Video Excerpt: The beauty of photobooks
DLK Collection: A Contrarian View: A Collector’s Thoughts on Photobooks
Larissa Leclair: Interview: Elizabeth Flemming
Lulu Blog (Tim Wright): The Future of Photobooks
Rolando Gomez: The Future of Photography Books — Free Books!
Metro Nature (Christina Seely): The future of photobooks
Contact Photography Blog (Emily Graham): On the Photobook

But please don’t wait for us to contact you to start contributing. If you have something you want to say about photobooks, write a post on your own blog, linking to this post, by Sunday, Dec. 13 (we’ve had so much great interest, we’ll continue to accept posts on an ongoing basis). Then ping Andy or I with the link on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll add you into the list. (Andy: FB & Twitter. Miki: FB & Twitter.) Don’t have a blog or don’t have time to post? Simply leave your thoughts in the comments. If you want to be notified when other people share their great ideas, be sure to use the “subscribe” drop-down to received email updates.

And this is just the beginning. At the end of this week, Andy and I will choose the standout ideas and highlight them (with links to whoever suggested them) in another post. That post will be all about real-time discussion. We’ll organize the big ideas — it will be up to you to tell us what you think about them. Delve into the details, throw out some pros and cons, tell us we’re off base if you must. We’re just excited to host a healthy discussion.

Finally we’ll sift through all the great ideas and heated debate and pull it together in one final post, which we hope will live a long online life as a resource for anyone trying to understand where the photobook industry is headed. And your name, links, and/or blog will be an indispensable part of it. You’re helping us explain where photobook publishing is headed, and we’re helping people find you and your brilliant ideas. Everyone wins. Just the way we like it :)

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  1. December 8th, 2009 at 2:54 pm


    Hi guys,
    Thought I'd get things started with something interesting I saw in NYC this fall. Hanging out with a few young photographers, I found that they all had their current work with them as one or several self-published books. You can see a few of them here (from Elyse Butler and Matt Mallams).

    While these books are mostly to be shared with editors and other photographers, they're also for sale through the Blurb bookstore. I like the idea that book collectors of the future might have the several versions of photographers' book as it evolves. ~Miki

  2. December 10th, 2009 at 9:47 pm


    yeah, but the problem with publishing services like this is that they inundate the market. market's a bad word… they distract the public from authentic works. no?

  3. December 8th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    johnwaire | photo

    i'm probably old school…but there's something very rewarding about holding a piece of work in my hand (magazine, book, etc..). digital trends will come and go but nothing will top that for me.

  4. December 29th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Derek Jackson

    As a little boy I spent most of my time in my room reading trying to get away from mom and Dad so that I could indulge in my passion. I find now that I do most of my reading on the Internet–the news, economic forecasts, trends in the result of various media and current events et al. So I think online creative content has already surpassed the physical context of books both in availability and actual factual use. Photobooks seem inevitable as we move from the desktop to handheld devices that disseminate information and photos

  5. December 8th, 2009 at 11:00 am

    uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by extrajection: Call for discussion on the future of photobooks (RESOLVE) #photography…

  6. December 8th, 2009 at 6:15 pm


    My hope is that someone takes the time to seek out all photo books and make them available through a digital resource. That's a lot of work, but some of the content gathering may already be done through an entity like the Library of Congress. Once the digital reader technology advances, you could see a viewable online collection of the greatest visual work of the past and present.

    I do agree with "johnwaire" that nothing beats holding a good photo book in your hands. But what happens when you can't find a copy of Nachtwey's "Inferno"? An online resource might be the only way someone born today can view that book in 10 years.

  7. December 29th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Derek Abbiw Jackson

    I agree very much about the connection Kevin makes about the library of Congress. As i saw the presentation of how the Berlin wall came down, i remember the picture and(no indication of my political leanings) videotape of Ronald Reagan saying.''Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." It makes one wonder about the way history is captured by images and photographs of events. Will popularly disseminated information affect the life of the mind? Will the presentation of it through handheld digital devices
    affect the way history itself is captured and interpreted?

  8. December 8th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Jason Sandifer

    Excellent post and idea! I see the lines between pro and pro-sumer converging further with content from both ending up in books on demand. So a pro will publish a book with their works and allow the consumer to add their take on the subject and print the book with the combined photos included. This will allow the pro's to take the lead and a great way for their followers to interact and purchase their work. The consumer will have something that they contributed to placed on their coffee table as a talking piece.

  9. December 8th, 2009 at 7:05 pm


    OR you could decide to buy a Vandercook and do it all by hand!… David Wolfe prints books, portfolios, and stationery by hand.

  10. December 9th, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Clark Patrick

    That sounds like a great idea. I'll gather my thoughts and write a post on my blog. Stay tuned for the link…

  11. December 9th, 2009 at 3:32 am

    The future of the Photobook? « Adam Westbrook

    […] Click here if you want to contribute too. […]

  12. December 9th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Gene Lowinger

    I have no doubt that the future of photography books is digital, and that's unfortunate. I have no doubt about it because the expense of producing a hard copy photography book is prohibitive and the niche market for such a book does not generate enough cash to give hard copy publishers the incentive to invest their resources in these projects. It's unfortunate because it's just not possible to see colors, image depth, or resolution on the current crop of digital screens the way they can be reproduced in print.

    I had a photo book idea that I presented to a university press, and was accepted, but the end result was not a photo book but a book of my writing which was supported by the images I originally presented. The book cover and the images in the book can be seen on my LiveBooks website . Now, I'm not complaining about having had a book published. I loved the process, and I love the results.

    The point is that the publisher which is a non-profit intellectually oriented university press shied away from doing a photo book because of the expense and the risks involved. So what could possibly be the future of of a commercial book publisher in such ventures.

    I wish I had a solution to this conundrum. David DuChemin has made a step in the right direction with his web-based books, charging a fee for a customer to download it as a PDF. But still, it's limited to current screen resolution, which is still in the digital stone age.

  13. December 9th, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Twitted by jezblog

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  14. December 9th, 2009 at 7:27 pm


    Roberta Fineberg sent this in by Twitter > Facebook:

    Future foto books entirely digital; read on devices of unmatched power. Nostalgia 4 print lends aristocracy 2 print: new rare gem

  15. December 9th, 2009 at 9:28 pm


    There's a lot against reflected media vs. projected media. Two big isses jump out at me. The first is the material… trees. As environmental issues continue to work toward the forefront, I think more and more media will move off paper and into digital format. The second major issue is the new display technologies. Their abilities to create true blacks results in the ability to project the images in a closer-to-pure format. The monitors of 2 years ago could never replace paper. The monitors of today may be able to.

  16. December 9th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    George Slade

    Just as more and more photographers are able to create books with Blurb and other print-on-demand services, digital capacities have raised the bar for traditional printing. With greater control, printed books continue to move forward as vehicles for serious in-hand experiences of photography. And they coalesce data that is closer to the visual experience of the print than just the image. The latter, the Platonic, idealized version of what is rendered by the lens on film or pixels, is very well-served by the on-line environment, and I can easily imagine books that exist only as electronic portfolios. But I can't see replacing my photobook library with a bunch of SD cards or their teraflop equivalents (I'd need an awful lot of detail to satisfy my sense of depth in detail that I value in the best of my books). Sure, there would be a lot more space on my shelves, but I'd miss the tactile sensations. Call me hopelessly archaic. Nachtwey's Inferno wouldn't the same weight. Weston's initials in his 50 Photographs wouldn't have the same valedictory aura (thanks, Walter Benjamin). Weegee's gravure reproductions wouldn't have the same inky depth.

    It's good that images are finding more and more people, via the web and book by book publishing. Photography continues to be the language of our time, and I can only surmise that visual literacy is an elemental aspect of all educated people. I believe Moholy-Nagy would be gratified to know that we are having this discussion, that images function so intrinsically in our information stream that we can envision them existing only in the flickering light of projection.

  17. December 10th, 2009 at 4:35 am


    Eric Chuang from the Pix Feed blog – – sent me this:

    "My personal feeling is that one mirror of Heather Morton of how photo books in person will become much more specialized as why would a book duplicate a website? I also believe that books will become more used as a leave-behind. Now with on-demand printing, a book may cost you $50 but if giving the book to the art director hedges your bet in getting the job, $50 is a pretty cheap investment and with on-demand printing, no need to buy 1,000 at a time…just print on demand!"

    This is the post on Heather Morton Art Buyer blog he's referring to:

  18. December 9th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Rachel M. Wolfe

    I've written a blog post about this on my fotoblog:

    There will always be a place for printed photographs and therefore printed photo books. That place may seemingly diminish in the growing array of digital options. However, there is nothing that can replace the feeling, not just the actual weight in hand, of a book. Books are history, past, present and future.

    With that said, I believe in ten years time we're going to be beyond the iPhone or Kindle. These are just passing trends on the way to the next faster and "better" thing. Virtual books or holographic-like books have an opportunity here. That would allow readers to step into the experience of the book, quite literally, gaining a gallery-like experience to each individual user.

    If we look at what is happening in our media world, the entertainment world, the world of education and even at people socially, it is evident that individualism is being accentuated, encouraged and understood as norm. There are many living attune to the belief that as individuals, we are one. So either way or side (as they stand now) we look at this situation, there is a distinct possibility that books and photo books be part of the new way we live.

    It might sound a little science fiction right now, but at the rate at which technology and consumer needs are growing, it's plain to see how what seemed impossible and sci-fi like in the 60's or 70's is pretty close to what many experience as a reality now.

    In the future, reality and accepted truths about reality will no longer be challenged, but changed. It's happening fast, it's going to happen, and it's happening now.

  19. December 10th, 2009 at 4:43 am


    Eric Chuang from the Pix Feed blog – – sent me this:

    "My personal feeling is that one mirror of Heather Morton of how photo books in person will become much more specialized as why would a book duplicate a website? I also believe that books will become more used as a leave-behind. Now with on-demand printing, a book may cost you $50 but if giving the book to the art director hedges your bet in getting the job, $50 is a pretty cheap investment and with on-demand printing, no need to buy 1,000 at a time…just print on demand!"

    This is the post on Heather Morton Art Buyer blog he's referring to:

  20. December 9th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Future of Photobooks? « The PhotoBook

    […] the ensuing discussion that is being posted on LiveBooks by Miki Johnson with Andy here, regarding what do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years. Essentially this a […]

  21. December 10th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Ellen Rennard

    I've written a post on my blog,

    Borders may have to close its doors within the year because of increased pressure from Amazon and, increasingly, from Kindle and other on-line print sources. Financial advisors tell people to go to the library instead of buying books. People don't read as much as they used to. PhotoEye went online and transformed its storefront, a place I used to love to go to browse through photobooks, to a gallery. Do I think this trend is good? Hell no. Read more on my blog.

  22. December 14th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Ellen Rennard

    To be clear (and in fairness to PhotoEye, the place I buy most of my many photobooks), they still do have a storefront, just not in the same spot. It seemed like there were fewer books on the shelves in the new location but it's not like I counted.

  23. December 10th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Blurberati Blog » Join a Crowdsourced Blog Post on the Future of Photobooks

    […] Resolve will highlight the stand-out ideas on their blog and host a live discussion. Get all the details here and start writing, tweeting, and pinging. We, and everyone out there, want to hear from you. By […]

  24. December 10th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Twitted by photoreps

    […] This post was Twitted by photoreps […]

  25. December 10th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Photobooks: Evolution or Revolution? » The PhotOracle

  26. December 11th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    The New York Photo Festival 2009 | The Future of Contemporary Photography

    […] would certainly like to know what you think. Here’s an excerpt from Miki Johnson’s recent post on the LiveBooks blog: Andy and I initially wondered how we could use our blogs in a new way to […]

  27. December 11th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    J. Wesley Brown

    @Mario – I'm not convinced that super-high resolution LCD's will become the norm in galleries or replace prints. I'm sure we'll see more as they get better and cheaper (expecially since they'll allow for display of GIF's) but how can the artist and gallery control a digital file? If you are displaying digitally, I'd imagine you'll then sell a digital file for display on a similar screen in the collector's home and there's no way to limit that file or stop it from going viral. With limited edition prints, you know that if you do 10, there will only be 10 in existence, thus ensuring value is retained or increased (of course there's a way to do contact prints in negative and then back to positive but you'd lose quality and it would be an inferior print to the original 10).

  28. December 13th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Mário Pires

    I was just guessing at a future when digital would be the norm, i could figure some ways to make good use of those LCD future screens, but i think that prints will stay as the quality norm by which a work is judged.

  29. December 11th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Twitted by ThreeBeesTea

    […] This post was Twitted by ThreeBeesTea […]

  30. December 11th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Ben Kern

    I'm thinking that not only will they be digital, but if the viewer were to click on the image it would take you to the photographer's website, or their flickr/deviantArt Account so that the viewer could see more of the artist's work.

  31. December 11th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    J. Wesley Brown

    Some of the comments left on my post (We Can Shoot Too) made me think we should try to gather suggestions somewhere here in one place of printing houses people have used and suggest as a resource for us all to check out if we're looking to self-publish.

    I suggested on my post because they printed R.J. Shaughnessy's book, "Your Golden Opportunity Is Comeing Very Soon" and I think the quality is great for the price (at least in B&W – I'd have to see a sample of their color work before deciding on a color book).

    Has anyone else come across a good printer with affordable rates?

  32. December 11th, 2009 at 11:38 pm


    Great idea. I'm going to create a separate post for that question and link it into this main post :)

  33. December 12th, 2009 at 12:16 am


    Hi everyone who has commented so far! I've created a new post where we can collect suggestions for great publishing houses to work with if you want to self-publish a photobook.

    Please add your thoughts if you have any :)

  34. December 11th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Green Tea Gallery Magazine | The Future of Photobooks

    […] editors of Resolve, the blog of LiveBooks, posted this week an interesting open question for everyone to attempt to answer: “What do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years? […]

  35. December 12th, 2009 at 2:01 am


    One of the problems with books being viewed on mobile devices, computers, and web is the lack of color control on the viewers end. Printed books, especially good books, have gone to painstaking lengths to create the color balance and/or image quality necessary to convey their intent to the viewer. With that being said, I would love to see the future of the photo book progress into something that everyone can afford. Digital photo viewing has incredible potential. I love sites like Flak Photo that expose the work of photographers that would be hard to find otherwise. As an educator, I encourage students to spend hours on end going through as many photo books as possible, as well as visiting galleries and museums, the purpose being to physically see the photographs.

  36. December 12th, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Twitted by PUBLICATIONmag

    […] This post was Twitted by PUBLICATIONmag […]

  37. December 12th, 2009 at 3:22 am


    A couple of years ago I was asked to do a talk on books, but I was the only one who believed in the power of traditional, printed books. Every editor in the room was moving away from print to online, as it was more affordable and very immediate. I collect books and the older they are the more valuable they become to me. I love the paper and traces left behind by history. This year I had an idea to start an photographic journal and print it every month, but after I got my quotes the only choice I had was to do an online journal as I could not afford to print it. These days it seems everything is going digital and we seem to live more and more in a virtual world where everything is just a click away, so I wonder if this will make the art print more valuable over time? I enjoy reading the comments here and I have followed up a few publishing links.
    Thank you

  38. December 12th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    For The Love of (Photo)Books | Editorial music and travel images from Asia | CraigFergusonImages

    […] my hands, I came across an interesting little exercise in crowd sourcing and open discussing by Miki Johnson on the Resolve blog at Livebooks and Andy Adams at Flak Photo both inspired by Joerg Colberg’s Thoughts on Photobooks post. […]

  39. December 12th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    An Invitation to Participate in a Discussion about the Future of Photobooks — HeatherMortonArt buyer

    […] Adams (Flak Photo) is eager and clever and so is Miki Johnston (liveBooks blog) so this little project should be interesting. They are crowd-sourcing a blog post about the future of photobooks and they […]

  40. December 12th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The Netflix of Photobooks | la pura vida

    […] been following the conversation about “the future of photobooks” initiated by Flak Photo and RESOLVE and have found it interesting, but I wasn’t really sure […]

  41. December 13th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Twitted by flakphoto

    […] This post was Twitted by flakphoto […]

  42. December 13th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    The Future of Photography Books (discussion) « DARIUS HIMES

    […] me about a “crowd-sourced” blog posting relating to photobooks, in conjunction with Resolve, the Livebooks blog. Was I game in posting something on my own blog? Sure. I’m always game […]

  43. December 13th, 2009 at 10:07 pm


    This online collaboration is moving in a way that has embraced the taxonomy images on the web

  44. December 13th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Colleen Plumb

    I will not venture to guess about the future. I cannot imagine a good enough answer. But I do believe that the best photography books are collaborative in nature. Editing, writing, *molding* — this produces powerful, gorgeous, lasting books. With that said, no matter the final form, the elements that make a book magical lie in the work itself and its sequencing. This is the real ride for me. All of the other elements make up the essential palki; the design and tactile elements carry the bride.

  45. December 14th, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Darius Himes

    Thanks to Andy and Miki for getting dialogue running… Here are some more thoughts:

  46. December 14th, 2009 at 1:17 am

    ben huff

  47. December 13th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    The Future of the Photobook « LITTLE BROWN MUSHROOM BLOG

    […] by alecsoth2 on December 13, 2009 Miki Johnson has initiated a crowd sourced blog post over at LiveBooks. The topic of the discussion is the future of photobooks. Coincidentally, I’ve just launched the […]

  48. December 13th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    » a few thoughts on books – Ben Huff Photo News Today: News and Pixelosophy – more than 33,000 posts

    […] at FlakPhoto emailed a few days ago about a new discussion at Resolve on the future of photography books. where is the future of the medium? this is something i think […]

  49. December 13th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    » For The Love of (Photo)Books – Craig Ferguson Photo News Today: News and Pixelosophy – more than 33,000 posts

    […] my hands, I came across an interesting little exercise in crowd sourcing and open discussing by Miki Johnson on the Resolve blog at Livebooks and Andy Adams at Flak Photo both inspired by Joerg Colberg’s Thoughts on Photobooks post. They […]

  50. December 14th, 2009 at 3:12 am

    david bram

    I posted a long rough draft on my thoughts at

  51. December 14th, 2009 at 3:55 am

    Alec Soth

    Some not very thoughtful thoughts on this here:

  52. December 13th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    The Photobook Circa 2019 | Ocular Octopus

    […] is running a “distributed blog post” on the future of the photobook. Specifically, “What do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years? Will they be digital […]

  53. December 13th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

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    […] the Future of Photobooks I’m jumping in at literally the 11th hour to add a few thoughts to this discussion generated by Andy Adams and Miki Johnson.Point-the-first: I’m of the opinion that the […]

  54. December 14th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Chat About “Future of the Photobook” Tomorrow on Twitter | Ocular Octopus

    […] (tomorrow), I’ll be joining photographer Harlan Erskine for a Twitter-based chat about the future of the photobook. We’ll be online to talk all things photobook from 9-10pm Eastern/6-7pm Pacific. This is the […]

  55. December 14th, 2009 at 6:46 pm


    On the aesthetic innovation front, I also wanted to call attention to Ed Kashi's new book, THREE. You can see a page-though video with audio interview here:

    Ed went back through decades of "documentary" images and created a beautiful art book that removed his images from their original context and helped his see his own work in a totally new way.

    If individual artists can still find new approaches to their own work within the confines of the "traditional" printed photobook, reminds me that technology often spurs innovation, but it's not the only source by any means.

  56. December 14th, 2009 at 1:12 pm


    […] to write my thoughts on this subject as part of a forum in the form a blog, meaning FLAK PHOTO and LIVEBOOKS are writing about the subject and inviting others to join in by writing something, linking it, then […]

  57. December 14th, 2009 at 8:49 pm


    I think information digestion is partly key to this future….. the web allows us to see so much so quickly that this is shaping our attitudes and raising our children in a completely different context to how books have historically.

    Over the next ten years there will be a shift although I doubt photo books will cease – the blurb and self publish model is only really getting started and this will probably link in with what will become a new model – that of maybe book/type web sites, websites that are books – and these will be much more, richer, dynamic, interactive than books ever could – available on iphone2019 etc.

    If you like the work on an artist enough you will be able to automatically buy a book version through the blurb model, 10 years after that maybe not, but I dont think the cycle will change that fast, the last 10 years hasnt drastically changed things maybe as much as a topic like this maybe makes us think it has.

    The next generation (well they are 20 years old now) is used to seeing, hearing, reading the web way – infromation overload, more, more more. I love books and feel that photos benefit from the detail and dyanmic range print can offer but even then in comparison to exhibition size prints books dont cut it ;)

    There also probaly be a resurgence in books, anti web at some point, like vinyl and casette resurgence now.

    Its all good ;)

  58. December 15th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Blurberati Blog » The Future of Photo Books

    […] keep the amazing conversation going that’s been started on the future of the photography book at Resolve. There have been some great contributions from heavy hitters across the photography and publishing […]

  59. December 15th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Richard Cahan

    I'm worried about photo books. My colleague Michael Williams and I have published six photo books in the past six years (Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America, Richard Nickel's Chicago, etc.) at Cityfiles Press. Costs are skyrocketing and fewer and fewer people can afford to purchase serious work. Amazon now takes more than 60 percent of the retail price, so it's almost impossible to make a profit let alone a living from books.

  60. December 15th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    The Future of Photography Books...?

    […] up to organize a huge communal blog discussion on the future of Photo Books! You can read all about here and view contributing Photo Blog posts and find out how to add your […]

  61. December 15th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Hamburger Eyes on the Future « Prison Photography

    […] in the photobooks debate had their own preface and a necessary confirmation bias to bolster. Andy and Miki unleashed a monster. Great […]

  62. December 16th, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Future of the Photo Book | Double Cuddle

    […] Daylight Magazine’s editors were asked to participate in an ongoing conversation focusing on the future of photo-books. This conversation was orchestrated by Flak Photo and the Resolve blog. […]

  63. December 16th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Pittsburgh Overview: A fun and challenging workshop | LIGHTING ESSENTIALS For Photographers

    […] Posts Around the Internet: The Future of Photobooks: Lively and important discussion. Photographers and Social Media: A Report. Got an iPhone? Got an […]

  64. December 17th, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Inversely proportional: thoughts on the future of the photobook « Critical Terrain | image object environment

    […] post is late in the game, but I hope it can be part of the networked blog discussion about the future of photography books started by Andy Adams of Flak Photo and Miki Johnson of liveBooks’ Resolve blog. I have been away […]

  65. December 18th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Exposures » Blog Archive » The Future of the Photobook: Lesley Martin

    […] following contribution is offered as part of the unfolding conversation about the future of photobooks, a crowd-sourced blog initiated by Miki Johnson from RESOLVE and Andy Adams from Flak […]

  66. December 18th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Mr. Sifuentes

    I can only speak for me personal. for the most part I like having tangible books. It's the only thing I would rather not go completely digital. I prefer hold my photography, books, comics and letters.

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  69. December 24th, 2009 at 6:24 am

    The Future of Photobooks | the Best Blog Guide

    […] Andy Adams of Flak Photo asked me to weigh in on the ‘Future of Photobooks’ conversation initiated by Livebooks. […]

  70. December 24th, 2009 at 3:57 pm


    Lots of post and comments discuss whether the future of photo books will be digital or paper. This is not an interesting question. In 10 years from now a lot of photo book will remain paper books but digital photo books will be a developed field of publishing. Why ?
    Paper photo books will remain for all the good reasons one can read here and there (size, sensuality, quality, affection, etc.). But also because (1) The photo and art book publishing industry can count on paper book nostalgia and be reassured not to have to reinvent its business (2) It will take a long long time before the base of device allowing good photo book publishing be wide enough to satisfy the appetite of the publishing industry.
    Digital photo books will necessarily appear for 2 reasons. (1) Apparition of photo quality reading devices. Until now it was not possible to imagine photo books with electronic ink devices. But with devices like the iphone this is changing. Iphone owners love to keep, show and share their personal photos from their device. They could love to have a photo book there from which they can not only get inspired but also share. Nouvelles Images is now betting on this and preparing a range of photo books for iphone. You can see how it looks there : <A HREF ="">Image your emotions. (2) Price and availability. Digital photo publishing will necessarily diminish price and increase availability of photo books. And that is the most important.

  71. December 26th, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    George Slade

    If there are no photobooks being produced ten years from now it will be because there are no books being printed and published, period. Illustrated books of all kinds, and particularly books concerned with photography qua photography, will necessarily be the last ones to hold on to ink on paper.

    An electronic portfolio can not masquerade as a book. Flipping "pages" on an iPhone is not equivalent to turning the pages of a book. Like photographers holding on to (and still using) Tri-X and Leicas, there is an irreplaceable, functional necessity at work here. If photography is purely about the image, set adrift from any need to be realized in concrete form, then of course the photobook and the medium itself will be entirely digital in a decade. Sooner.

    But I maintain that as long as there are prints in museum collections, posters on dorm walls, iPhoto books "made on a Mac," and libraries with shelves, there will continue to be an appreciable art of books and book-making in which photography will have a place.

  72. December 28th, 2009 at 6:22 am


    Just wanted to say hello all. This is my first post.

    I expect to learn alot here.

  73. December 28th, 2009 at 8:03 am

    The Future of Photobooks (& Can We Talk about Media Monetization?) | The San Franista

    […] RESOLVE blog and Andy Adams’ curated community gallery Flak Photo. Together they solicited the ideas of art bloggers and photographers about “the most prescient innovations they’ve seen in […]

  74. December 29th, 2009 at 3:48 am


    Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for first aid for a heart attack and your post looks very interesting for me.


  75. December 31st, 2009 at 3:26 pm


    Thanks for this great discussion. I made a comment on this very topic last Spring:

  76. December 31st, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Alex Leme

    Call me romantic, old-time and so forth, but there is something special about holding a book in your hand, flipping through the pages… Perhaps It's the smell, the texture, the sense of ownership, etc. Aside from all that, there is also the fact that books age just like us… just like anything "alive"… it's the feeling of impermanence and accessibility that make books, as we now know, so fundamentally important to our history, growth and evolution as human beings. I sure hope that despite all the technological development, books will continue to be "published in paper" rather than "launched or digitized or whatever the new medium maybe". As it concerns photo books, I have always bought them usually because I either can't afford to buy the actual photo(s) or the entire series of photographs… So if we are going to have them in some sort of electronic form, we might as well stop printing those photographs…and start just showing art in some sort of digital frame or alike. The thought of anything in that sense makes me sick and depressed.

  77. December 31st, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Derek Abbiw Jackson

    I can understand the attachment to a traditional mode such as the papyrus text. However, in every stage, as man has evolved from the beginings of life to the information age, man(and woman) has adapted quickly to new innovations in areas such as devices for cooking, for transportation, etc. it seems quite likely that as we grow more accustomed to, photography and print being delivered through digital media, it will become part ofthe norm in our culture and in our lives.

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  79. December 31st, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Derek Abbiw Jackson

    Observing and analyzing the use of multi media in Anthony Suau's prototype photobook illustrates how a photobook can interweave and enable the presentation of multi media. The photobook can allow the interweaving of videotape and other media to represent action that was fluid as opposed to the stills. The still photos captured symbolic moments such as the wire being cut between East and West Germany whereas the videotape projects the intensity of those series of moments compiled together as actions digitally such as the bombardment of the participants by East German water cannons.

    The expression of music is another use of media that digital media and digital devices permits. The music in Suau's presentation and its troubling, disturbing effect on the human psyche are measurable as part of the whole dynamic of this multi media aspect of the photobook. The music in a sense is a platform that is a whole but the photographer has used to connect with the disjunct(originally) videotape and stills. This projects that the photobook as a mobile device will enable efficacious transportation of multi media by individuals.

  80. December 31st, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    A Two-sided Interview. Ed Kashi & Robert Gumpert muse about the details of a Multimedia Project « Photojournalism Program at ICP

    […] month a project on RESOLVE, liveBook’s blog, posed the question to it’s readers, ‘What will photobooks look like in ten years?‘, and it got a lot of pretty great reactions. Today, Ed and Robert Gumpert, who’s work […]

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    Just wanted to say hello to all here. This is my initial posting here.

    It really appears the mods of this forum sure are doing a miraculous job.

    I would like to find alot of stuff here & help others all I can.

  83. January 3rd, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Ann Rhoney

    Why don't we just go for the ride and see what evolves naturally . . .
    Predictions are rarely the way, if ever, life actually works out.
    If Photography continues to retain it's "Magic", it's bigger
    than we are, and who knows where it will take us next.

  84. January 4th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Our (highly subjective and by no means complete) look back at 2009 « Stockland Martel

    […] kicked off a massive, crowd-sourced blog post on the future of photo books. Last month, they spotlighted some of their favorite publications […]

  85. January 4th, 2010 at 7:56 am

    We English » Blog Archive » BEAUTY OF PHOTOBOOKS

    […] part of the Livebooks crowd-sourced blog post about the future of photobooks I recently gave a video interview to Jim Casper at Lens Culture […]

  86. January 6th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Continuing discussion: Future of PhotoBooks « The PhotoBook

    […] discussion about the Future of PhotoBooks being moderated by Miki Johnson on the Resolve blog, in which I provided my thoughts about The Future of PhotoBooks. I have provided a follow-up […]

  87. January 7th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    » Beauty Of Photobooks – We English Photo News Today: News and Pixelosophy – more than 33,000 posts

    […] part of the Livebooks crowd-sourced blog post about the future of photobooks I recently gave a video interview to Jim Casper at Lens Culture […]

  88. January 8th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Larissa Leclair - Interview: Elizabeth Fleming

    […] by Harlan Erskine’s and Todd Walker’s first Tweetchat about the Future of Photobooks in conjunction with the ongoing discussion prompted by Miki Johnson of Resolve, the livebooks blog, … I wanted to continue the conversation with Elizabeth Fleming, a photographer who has published with […]

  89. January 8th, 2010 at 1:19 pm


    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz a bunch of photographer’s and photo book enthusiasts projecting how they may have a hand in determining the future of something because they can see a role for themselves in the present. Sounds famiiar, I imagine your insecurity will slowly chip sway at the confidence of the very industry you hope to psy homage to. There are more real printed books, and self published pay as you go books than ever before, just look at the table of books grow linger every year at Arles.
    Not to mention all the online digital showcases and forms of presentations available online.
    So what us this a need to position oneself as a cheer- leader of creative thinking or just as a center if the crowd that you wish to “source”. I can see why livebooks wants to do it, it’s good business to examine and encourage readers tovengage with their alternative digital offerings. And I can see why flakphoto does it. Ibmean after all what else dies he gave to do. It’s not like ge ever either creates any images of his own, edits and build an audience fir them in a non virtual fantasy world OR for that matter has ever published a book and taken it to Market. So what makes you think there is any useful “resources” here other than the marketing tips of where to make you own next book. That’s a LONG way from determining how or why anyone should want to buy it.
    Oh and so what if pdn gives you a shout out. Dontcha know they are in the business of crowd harvesting for their website.

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  92. January 24th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Tell us what you think about the future of photobooks! | RESOLVE …

    […] View post: Tell us what you think about the future of photobooks! | RESOLVE … […]

  93. January 25th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    The Future of the Photo Book | Lulu Blog

    […] innovative creators of the Resolve blog recently asked what the next 10 years hold for photo books — will they be digital or physical, […]

  94. January 28th, 2010 at 4:08 am

    The Future of Photobooks | Lassal

    […] in photobooks and wondering about what their future might look like, you might want to go over to LiveBooks to check on the various comments collected there concerning this […]

  95. January 30th, 2010 at 5:58 am


    Not only will there be nothing like an iphone, with which the intro of the IPad is already over, the way we capture-create imagery, do business, live, will be different.

    Remember how long there have been credit cards? 54 years internationally.
    Credit default swaps? Really just 23 years.
    The internet? Effectively 10-15 years.

    After we past y2k before 911 would you think we'd end up here?
    That is 10 years.

    So photos which photographers shoot thousands tens of thousands a year will depend of relevancy. Will here be one world market, niche markets inside that, local markets?

    How will the time of the photographer be valued? By capturing the fleeting moment that encapsulates the time? By coming up with some dreamy pitch? Will there be other revenue streams? Will the backlog and availability of photos of all sort, at high quality, be so overwhelming that Corbis holding the past, will hold the bag? Or will history be eradicated because of our lust for mindless momentarism, technology and involvement in learning to use the new features of technology such as rules of routine sequenced hand gestures on interface planes for IPad type camera exposure and menu? The iphone except for its portability and hence easier evasion from theft has been replaced in 3 years. With the deal they made with att I give it 6 months before it is ubiquitous as iphone and essential as a photobook. Carry aways you never know when you'll need how many. You have to carry camera, no? That is the short run.

  96. March 1st, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Instead of focusing on the image, focus on everything around the image. | Taylor Davidson (@tdavidson)

    […] Examples include Jeremy Cowart’s Help-Portrait, Chase Jarvis’s live events, Robert Fogarty’s Dear New Orleans, and Flak Photo and liveBooks’s crowd-sourced conversation about the future of photobooks. […]

  97. March 1st, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    The Future of Photobooks? « The Visual Book

    […] the ensuing discussion that is being posted on LiveBooks by Miki Johnson with Andy here, regarding what do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years. Essentially this a […]

  98. March 5th, 2010 at 12:02 pm


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  99. March 31st, 2010 at 7:02 am

    POSI+TIVE MAGAZINE > Reportage > Prison Photography

    […] hopefully it will have repercussions further afield. If we can replicate some of the success of the The Future of Photobooks crowd-sourced discussion then we’ll be very […]

  100. May 12th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    harlan erskine * photography/blog» Blog Archive » First art photography tweetchat: The Future of the Photobook.

    […] evening, December 15th, I’ll be moderating and chatting with Todd Walker for a chat about the future of the photobook. We’ll be online to talk the future of the photobook from 9-10 pm Eastern / 6-7 pm […]

  101. September 20th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Steve Plattner

    I have authored/edited/published 8 different titles in the past two years.

    Having also written two traditional photo books (1983 and 1999), I think the future of digital photobooks is tremendous, and I would expect to become simpler and the quality to improve continuously.

    To be sure, digital photo books do have limitations. For black and white photos, there is no true duotone or tri-tone capability. The coating options are somewhat limited. You can’t stand out at the press and implore a talented pressman to pull out the stops, remake a plate, repack a blanket, etc.

    The environmental implications of doing one-off digital books are tremendous. As an offset printer, I know from direct experience that the cost to produce a single, offset-printed, 11×13″ oblong case-bound and sewn book with dustjacket on good 100# silk stock is–about $12,000 in the US, or perhaps $6,000-$7,000 overseas. The same specs, printed on an Indigo (though not Smythe-sewn of course), is roughly $80 to $90. That says it all.

    If the digital photo book print world is going to grow and satisfy more sophisticated consumers, it will have to: over far better design software comparable to InDesign, but far easier for a typical user to employ. In-line case binding is coming on line, which is great, but it will need to incorporate true Smythe-sewing and much better paper choices, fabric options, and endsheets. Sites like are great in many ways, but their design and spellcheck software is mediocre, to put it nicely.

    Much simpler, cost-effective color calibration tools and techniques are needed to satisfy consumers. Unless you are up to speed in this area, you are going to be disappointed by the difference between what your monitor displays, and what arrives in a printed book in your mailbox. Presses need to deliver much better results–more ink, more saturation, more depth as well as spot coatings. And they need to deliver it consistently. I get tired of hearing about different sites that supposedly offer great color consistency across multi-plant manufacturing platforms. I have received too many lousy digital print jobs–blotchy black backgrounds, poor gradations, mostly because no one is watching, it’s mass manufacturing, and the standards aren’t what they should be.

    I could go on, but I do think the future is bright, and I hope quality will improve substantially along with the range of services and materials being offered. It’s all changing quickly. And last but not least, as good as digital may become, I wonder whether it will ever equal the finest offset and gravure print quality in photo books back in the day–Max Yavno’s book for U. California press, from the mid-70’s, printed by Gardner Fulmer in LA. Or some of the best work printed by Meriden Gravure in the 70’s and a handful of others who really bridged the technical side of offset printing with real artistry.

  102. November 2nd, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    3 Tips For Publishing a Photobook | HEY MIKI

    […] the course of the project, more than 50 photo professionals and publishers wrote posts on their own blogs about where they saw photobooks heading. I read them all, organizing them and […]

  103. September 24th, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Sports Photography Books | The Blue Pixel

    […] here for Related LinksTell us what you think about the future of photobooks! Tagged as: best sports photography books, blog, images, photo, photography, photography books, […]

  104. May 10th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Prison Photography | Positive Magazine

    […] hopefully it will have repercussions further afield. If we can replicate some of the success of the The Future of Photobooks crowd-sourced discussion then we’ll be very […]

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