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As part of the ongoing discussion examining the Future of Photobooks we’re hosting on RESOLVE in collaboration with FlakPhoto, we’re sharing some of our favorite publications mentioned by the 45+ bloggers who have weighed in so far. These represent the seeds of publishing advances we expect and/or hope to see in the future. Check out our earlier posts as well, on small printers for self-publishing photobooks and game-changing people and ideas from the photobook world.

Digital Photobook Prototypes

  • Purpose, a beautiful online French photo magazine, replicates the feel of a book. (via Marc Feustel)
  • Bird Book: A rich online experience that showcases the physical book, Bird, by Andrew Zuckerman (via Jack Howard)
  • Would you buy a PDF book? What if it were only $5? David duChemin was willing to take that gamble with his Craft & Vision. (via Craig Ferguson)

Collaboration and Crowd-sourcing

  • Check out Pictory if you haven’t, a beautiful new crowd-sourced, curated online magazine from former JPG maven Laura Brunow Miner.

Self-publishing Success Stories

  • The Sadkids photozine from Geoffrey Ellis, which he says has exposed his work to far more people than any gallery.
  • Picture 4

Small Publishers Pushing the Boundaries

  • Errata Editions’ Books on Books series of recreated out-of-print photobooks reminds us that bringing rare photobooks to the public does not have to be done digitally. (via Marc Feustel)
  • Small runs of myriad unclassifiable art books are available through Lozen Up, the physical extension of the LOZ blog showcase. (via Laurence Vecten)
  • Proving that big publishers can take risks too, French publisher Flammarion put out Japan: A self-portrait in 2004 when virtually nothing had been published outside Japan on post-war Japanese photography. (via Marc Feustel)

What People Are Actually Paying For

Since FlakPhoto’s Andy Adams and I put out our call for posts on the Future of Photobooks a few weeks ago, more than 40 bloggers have shared their insights. You can find them all, plus lots of additional comments and two new posts, about DIY book printers and the Future of Photobooks Twitter chat, on our resource page.

Having received such a positive response, Andy and I are developing a more organized and collaborative discussion style for the next stage of this project (look for details just after the holidays). Plus, we want to give everyone extra time to check out the great stuff our collaborating bloggers have shared. So for the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing our favorite links from all the Future of Photobooks posts.

Not surprisingly, we’ve collected long lists of interesting small publishers and publications. But we thought we’d start with some innovative ideas that didn’t fit easily into categories. Check below for interesting projects, publishing revolutionaries, and books that are way outside the box.

What Is A Book, Anyway?

1. This is a physical book that you read by taking a photo of it with your cameraphone, which converts an abstract digital image into words, which update automatically every week from a keyword search on Twitter. Get it? Just watch the video. We promise, it’s cool. (via Jonathan Worth)

2. A country road. A tree. Evening is a “film in progress” art project installed on a digital tablet and sold through a gallery. Is it a book? Is it art? Is it even physical or digital? We love anything without easy answers to those kinds of questions. (via Harlan Erskine)

3. J Sandifer pointed to Rick Smolan’s Obama Timecapsule as an interesting trend: “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.”

Who Says Traditional Books Are Boring?

4. Check out this great video of Kathleen Walkup, head of the book art program at Mills College, showing revolutionary designs from famous bookmaking artists.

5. One of the books Kathleen shares was made by Claire Van Vliet, a fine artist, illustrator, and typographer who founded Janus Press, which produces original, handmade book artworks.

6. She also highlights Julie Chen, who established Flying Fish Press, which creates books that “combine the quality and craftsmanship of traditional letterpress printing with the innovation and visual excitement of contemporary non-traditional book structures.” (all three via Amy Stein)

7. Japan’s influence on photography and photo books is undeniable, and to understand it you have to know Shōji Yamagishi, the editor of the influential Japanese photography magazine Camera Mainichi from 1963 until 1978.  (via Marc Feustel)

New Ways To See Art/Books

8. ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative, an online network that distributes individuals’ Print-On-Demand art books. (via Nathalie Belayche)

9. Dr. Karanka’s Print Stravaganza, a roaming guerilla photography show. (via Bryan Formhals)

10. Japan Exposures, “a personal introduction to Japanese photography” in the form of a blog and online store. (via Stacy Oborn)

11. The International Foto Book Festival, taking place in Kassel in May 2010 for the third year, and PhotoBook Days 2010 in Hamburg, which will open in June 2010 for the first time. (via Nathalie Belayche)

Lots More Links

12. And finally, a link post within a link post? We know…how meta. But coming from Alec Soth and detailing book sellers, publishers, and great DIY books, we just couldn’t help it.

Please add your thoughts and cool links in the comments. And check back soon for more Future of Photobooks posts!

In conjunction with our ongoing Future of Photobooks project with FlakPhoto, photographer-writers Harlan Erskine and Todd Walker are hosting a Tweetchat about the Future of Photobooks this evening (Tuesday, Dec. 15) from 9 to 10 pm Eastern (6 to 7 pm Pacific). This will also kick off their weekly Tuesday Photo Art Chats, which you can find by doing a Twitter search for #photoartchat.

To be part of the discussion, make sure your tweets include #photoartchat and a @reply if you’re responding to a specific person. For an even simpler way to take part, you can go to TweetChat, enter this hashtag, and interact as you would in an IM chat screen. You can also see the chat in the column below, which will update in real time with any tweets that include #photoartchat.

*UPDATE: Here are a few highlights from last night’s TweetChat about The Future of Photobooks on #photoartchat.

How often are photobooks purchased from print-on-demand storefronts like Blurb? Are they mostly photographers printing their own portfolios? People agreed they are more likely to buy books when they can touch them. If they’re buying them online, they need to be more of a “known quantity,” either a photographer or publisher they know, like, and trust to put out a quality product.

joostdeleij: Would be interesting if quality Blurb (etc) books, that sold over 100 copies, could for example be sold through Amazon
i’ve sold about 30 books through the blurb bookstore. not bad, considering i’m not a name brand. purchasers are pleased.
Steven Shore talks about his iPhoto experiments here:

Questions of people’s favorite photobooks lately, as well as the “most influential” photobooks of the last decade, came up several times.

harlanerskine: I have really enjoyed Paul Graham’s “a shimmer of possibilities” (not that I can afford it)
Most recent purchase Travelog by Charles Harbutt from the 1970s, great pictures and essay. Newest is Wessel 5 Books (Steidl).
@harlanerskine I’ve lined up Burtynsky’s “OIL” as one to get soon
I love buying photography books. One of the most affordable ones and interesting Terryworld‘ by Terry Richardson
Also on my want list: “Joel Sternfeld: Oxbow Archive
My last purchase was PhotoArt ‘the new world of photography’. Very nice! and affordable.
I have also been revisiting Robert Frank’s “The Americans
Winteriesse by Luc Delahaye, Most of Thomas Roma‘s books. The Silence by Gilles Peress.
hmmm @ocularoctopus that’s a tough one. Anything Gerry Badger writes excites my intellect, & I’m in love w/ Violet Isle (from @RadiusBooks)
My kids liked going through Dog Dogs by Erwitt, it was small and inexpensive so I did not mind the man handling of it.
@OcularOctopus but I really like Alex Soth’s Niagara. Paul Graham’s Shimmer of possibilities…
@OcularOctopus Taryn Simon’s “An American Index of the Hidden…” and Row Ethridge’s “Rockaway, NY”
@harlanerskine Sleeping By The Mississippi might be the most influential book of the decade.
How about Jason Eskenazi’s Wonderland? I have not seen it in person. I would say Wintereise is up there too for the decade.

A discussion of the ideal size for photobooks to be printed also surfaced.

tom_leininger: @consumptive I like the size. I am becoming more of a fan of smaller sized books.
Smaller sized would be 8.5×11 and smaller. It is an intimate portable. Larger books is like an event.
@tom_leininger it seems like some books are made with the wrong size. some times too big sometimes too small.
@harlanerskine Many retrospective books are too small. fitting pictures to a standard size for a series of books. detail lost
@OcularOctopus I agree-some photography is difficult to put into a book. sometimes its like fitting a square peg into a…

And finally, can video be a book?

harlanerskine: @tom_leininger it can be sort of did you see this art video for sale in my post about the art book?

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RJ Shaughnessy, Your Golden Opportunity Is Comeing Very Soon

RJ Shaughnessy, Your Golden Opportunity Is Comeing Very Soon. Via eyecurious

On Tuesday we started a cross-blog conversation about the Future of Photobooks, the first wave in a multi-week, crowd-sourced project to see if we can collectively figure out what of the more difficult questions facing our industry: “What will photobooks look like in 2019?”

In the course of that conversation, J. Wesley Brown at We Can Shoot Too came up with the great idea of putting together a list of all the best printers if you’re looking to self-publish a high-quality photobook.

J. Wesley says: “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).”

Dalton says: “I have heard good things about this place, which has a much more hands-on process on and is tighter with the QC. And the prices are very good, especially once you start looking at 10+ copies.”

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

Marc Feustel says: “I have been collaborating with a Kyoto-based printing company, Benrido, that has combined nineteenth century colotype printing techniques with digital technology to produce a series of portfolios with truly exquisite results.”

Joerg @ Conscientious wrote a post a year ago about “Richard Renaldi and Seth Boyd’s Charles Lane Press and their first book Fall River Boys.”

That’s just a very short list to get us started. Please leave other printers you know about or have worked with in the comments and let us know if you have experience with any of the ones above. We’ll include these results in our final Photobook Resource page :)


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