Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Publishing in your hands

A roundtable discussion with Andy Adams (, David Bram (Fraction Magazine), Darius Himes (Radius Books), and Melanie McWhorter (photo-eye Books).

At the end of last year (2009) Miki Johnson and Andy Adams coordinated a "cross-blog" discussion about the future of photography books. Over forty bloggers participated with a range of amateur and professional voices piping in and adding their thoughts to the mix.

The interest in the subject of photobooks* has continued unabated and various fairs devoted to the Photobook are popping up around the world.** With the 3rd annual Photography Book Now contest deadline fast approaching (sponsored by Blurb and featuring a whopping $25,000 grand prize), a few of us that love photobooks thought we would initiate another online discussion about self-publishing—where we've come in the last few years in terms of perception, creativity and technology.

Please feel free to add your comments here or post in-depth thoughts on your own blog and send us the link.

—Darius Himes, Santa Fe, June 30, 2010

*I recently tried to order the Chinese edition of Robert Frank's The Americans only to be told it's not available in the U.S. Who knew (besides Martin Parr and the elves at Steidl) it would even be published in China?!

**The first annual Fotobuch Tage in Hamburg, Germany was well-attended and had, as part of the programming, a photobook dummy exhibition during which the public got to vote for their favorite not-yet-published photography book.

Why is the book format so important to photographers?

DB: Nowadays, so much is online and intangible that photographers and other artists like the idea of making something that so many people can actually touch and hold, especially something that is made in such limited editions, like (most) photographs.

AA: Good question—everybody wants to make a book! I suspect that many photographers are compelled to publish because, like a physical exhibition, the printed page provides a controlled environment for presenting their work to an audience. David is right about the intangibility of the online publishing experience and I think that does play a role for many photographers today—the gallery wall and the web browser are unique platforms for showing photography, but a book just lasts longer, and that physical permanence is still very important.

DH: I think the book format is vital and dynamic because of photography's close relationship to both film and literature, and the historical relationship with the printed page. Many photographers, throughout the history of the medium and particularly before the current proliferation of galleries devoted to photography, saw the book and the printed page as the only and ultimate place their work would be seen. This cultivated a deep-seated love for the book.

MM: Most photographers want to show their work. The book is the closest format to laying out an actual exhibition. As an editor and curator of a photography book, you may have a little more control over how the audience views the work. If the reader uses the book as it is designed to be explored—usually from front to back—then the publisher can control how the reader views the sequenced images to create a more intimate experience with the work. This object can be held and explored in a way that it cannot usually be done in a gallery setting. And more so than ever, with the advent of POD technology, commercial photobook publishing is more democratic. 

Why do you like the book format?
DH: The tactility; portability; accessibility, by which I mean one doesn't need electricity to access it; and the possibility of amazing design; its pure physicality.

I love the feel of a book. In looking at images online, you do not get to see the shimmering foil stamping on the cover, the subtle varnish resting over the plates, the raw boards rubbing against your fingers generating "the nails on the chalkboard" shivers, the smell of the over-saturated inks, and on and on.

: I've been collecting books as long as I can remember—I like looking at photos printed on paper and if it's a good book, I'm compelled to have a copy of my own that I can keep as long as I want. I'm fascinated with digital media and am excited to explore that format, but I'm still very attracted to the permanent quality of a photo object that's made of atoms instead of bits. I suspect we'll see more analog/digital hybrid publications in the future and how we define "the book format" is bound to change in the iPad era.

DB: First, it allows me a chance to own, to have something that I might not be able to otherwise afford, such as an actual photograph. Second, as long as there is light, I can look at a book and enjoy it's uniqueness and bask in it's beauty.

What do we mean by "self-publishing"?

DH: Up until about 10 or 15 years ago, "self-publishing"  meant that you produced a traditional trade book without working with a publisher. That meant you hired a designer and worked directly with a printer and bindery. You then had the responsibility of contacting bookstores yourself in order to get the book "out there" into the hands of the public (or at least other photographers). There was a stigma often attached to a monograph that had been self-published—it was called a "vanity publication" because the implication was that no publisher had wanted to publish it and so the photographer simply forked out the $30k, $40k, $50k+ to have the book made.

But much has changed since then. I still think of the term "self-publishing" to indicate an artist that has decided to undertake all aspects of the production of the book themselves, without the aid of a publisher. But there is no longer the "vanity press" stigma, not by a long shot. Self-publishing can imply a print-on-demand book (using a service such as Blurb or Lulu or MagCloud) or any small-run book that operates on the edge of the traditional "trade" book world. Alec Soth's The Last Days of W, or Philip Underdown's recent Grasslands are two good, recent examples. 

MM: I think self-publishing essentially is photographer-financed (whether from personal funds or fundraising) and photographer-controlled. The photographer does not have to do every job that the project might necessitate-- designer, printer, broker, binder, accountant, distributor, marketing agent etc. Many of these can be outsourced. Self-publishing just gives the photographer or artist most, if not all, of the control over final product.

AA: We all seem to be on the same page: self-publishers independently develop the content of the book (with or without a designer or editor) as well as the elements of production, distribution and promotion of the book as a marketable object. The modes of production have obviously changed, so these are exciting times for photographers who want to exhibit their work using published media. There are larger questions about what constitutes a photography publication: photo blogs, multimedia websites, and online magazines are self-publications that have exploded in recent years and we've really only begun to see how those forms will influence photobook publishing.

DB: I think it's pretty clear.  A self-publisher is someone who creates and directs the book in the direction that they declare.  A self-publisher usually does all of the editing and designing as well, and takes it as far as the mind and wallet permit.

What are common worries that you have heard that photographers have in relation to print-on-demand?

AA: The number one concern seems to be quality and consistency. As soon as POD operations can deliver consistently reliable, color-managed, quality results those fears are going to go away and we'll see a greater diversity of self-published books than ever before. That day is coming and I'm looking forward to it.

DB: Quality control is what I hear over and over. Photographers are very concerned about what the final product looks like and what it costs to get to a satisfaction result.  Print-on-demand is getting better and better but it is still not perfect. When using several different machines, there is no guarantee that all the books will have the same print quality.

MM: Well, inconsistency of product is often the issue. I read a blog entry bashing one of the big POD publishers where he ranted about the outsourcing of printing. One book came from one contract printer, and the second from another, and the third from yet another. I am not sure if this is the case at this date as this was some time ago. I have also heard about at least one other issue with another POD company that is comparable.

: I think that the biggest worry surrounding print-on-demand can be summed up in one word: control, as everyone else has mentioned. But interestingly enough, it's the same word I would use in relation to the biggest worry photographers have when making a book using ANY technology, not just print-on-demand, but the traditional method of offset lithography as well. Being visual artists, photographers want to make sure that the look of the book is to their liking—things like color management and reproduction are extremely important, as are materials and the feel of the book. Regardless of reproduction method, someone skilled at managing that particular process MUST be involved.

About the contributors: 

Andy Adams is the Editor / Publisher of , a contemporary photography website that celebrates the culture of image-making by promoting the discovery of artists from around the world. An online art space + photography publication, the site provides opportunities for a global community of artists and photo organizations to share new series work, book projects, and gallery exhibitions with a web-based photography audience.

David Bram is a fine art photographer and the editor, founder, and curator of Fraction Magazine, an online venue dedicated to fine art photography, showcasing the work of both emerging and very established fine art photographers.  Fraction Magazine was founded in 2008 and is currently on it’s sixteenth issue and has shown portfolios from more than 85 photographers. 
David has been reviewing portfolios at various events including Review LA, Review Santa Fe, PhotoNOLA and Fotofest.   He was also a juror for Review Santa Fe in 2010 as well as a juror for Critical Mass in 2009 and 2010.

Darius Himes is an acquiring editor at Radius Books, a non-profit publisher of books on photography and the visual arts he started with colleagues in 2007. Prior to that he was the founding editor of photo-eye Booklist, a quarterly magazine devoted to photography books, from 2002–2007. He is also a lecturer, educator and writer, having contributed to Aperture, Blind Spot, Bookforum, BOMB, PDN, and American Photo. He earned his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. In 2008, he was named by PDN as one of fifteen of the most influential people in photo book publishing. His forthcoming book, Publish Your Photography Book, and co-authored with Mary Virginia Swanson, will be released by Princeton Architectural Press in the Fall of 2010.

Melanie McWhorter has managed photo-eye's Book Division for over 11 years. She maintains her own photo-related blog and is co-founder of Finite Foto which focuses on photography in New Mexico. She has been interviewed about photography in PDN, The Picture Show, Santa Fe's THE magazine; judged the prestigious photography competitions Women Photojournalists of Washington's Annual Exhibition and Fotografia: Fotofestival di Roma's Book Prize; reviewed portfolios at Fotografia, Photolucida, Review Santa Fe and PhotoNOLA and contributed to photo-eye Magazine, the photo-eye Blog and Fraction. She will be speaking at Click646 in October 2010 and tentatively teaching at New Orleans Photography Workshops in December 2010.

Independent Photobook Links

Le Garage

Photography Book Now, sponsored by Blurb

Camera Club of New York (CCNY), Zine and Self–Published Photo Book Fair
International PhotoBook Festival, Kassel, Germany

Self-Publish, Be Happy -

Indie Photobook Library, started and managed by Larissa Leclair

The Independent Photobook

The Future of Photobooks: A Cross-Blog Discussion

Get off my lawn !


Issue one of Get Off My Lawn, which goes on sale July 1, 2010, is a full-color photo-zine, edited and published by Geoffrey Ellis for The zine features the work of eleven photographers who are 34 years and older. It is a tongue-in-cheek response to the calls for entry, contests and publications that require “emerging photographers” to be somewhere between the ages of 18 and 34.

We can no longer be in your club, but soon enough, you will be in ours…

Zine Release Party:
July 1, 2010 | Casanova Lounge, SF | 6-9pm
with DJs Utrillo and Forest Love
(RSVP here)

The first edition is a 7x7-inch, color laser printed zine of 222 hand-numbered copies, with 11 different covers and will be available July 1, 2010 at the release party, select stores, and online at and (10 bucks each!)

Noah Beil
Geoffrey Ellis
Grant Ernhart
Alan W George
Liz Kuball
Sarah Lacy
Ian Lemmonds
Jennifer Loeber
Dalton Rooney
Andrew Martin Scott
Justin Visnesky

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who's that wearing a Fraction Magazine T-shirt?

This is the amazing Jim Stone.  UNM photo professor, SPE member, all around great guy.

And he loves his Fraction t-shirt.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is it really all about the edit?

Magnum Photos (@magnumphotos) recently tweeted this quote by Alec Soth:
"It's not about making good pictures anymore. Anybody can do that today - it's about good edits..."

I posted this quote to Fraction Facebook page and it's been getting more than a few comments, which is a very good thing.  See the responses here.

So what do you think?  Has technology or something else made photography so easy now that it comes down to the edit to make a great body of work?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Classes at Rayko

Rayko Photo has some classes starting very soon.

If  in San Francisco or the Bay Area, consider taking a class

Camera to Print:
Wednedays | 6:30-9:00p | June 30, July 7, 14, 21 & 28

Scanning and image workflow
Saturday | 10:00a-2:00p | July 10

Digital Color Printing
Saturday | 10:00a-3:00p | July 17

Digital Black and White Printing and Conversion
Saturday | 10:00a-3:00p | July 24

Adobe Lightroom
Saturday & Sunday | 11:00a-5:00p | July 31 & Aug 1

iPhone Shooting and Processing
Sunday | July 18 | 1:00-5:00p AND Sunday | July 25 | 1:00-3:00p

Saturday & Sunday | 10a-5p | July 31 & Aug 1

Saturday | 4:00-7:00p | July 10, 17, 24

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Playing Tour Guide

I've had the pleasure of showing two photographers from Savannah around Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  Meg Griffiths and Eliot Dudik are here on a multi-week photo road trip.  I met them back in April while I was visiting SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) as a lecturer (of sorts) and a portfolio reviewer.

Yesterday, we went to Santa Fe so that they both could see the Photoeye bookstore and to meet the Queen Bee, Melanie McWhorter, but more importantly to see if Photoeye would sell Eliot's new book "The Road Ends in the Water".  And yes, Photoeye will be selling Eliot's book.  Congrats to him.

After Photoeye, I took them over to The Cowgirl Hall of Fame where we met up with Jonathan Blaustein who was in town to go to the Monday night lecturers put on by the Santa Fe Workshops.  We went as well.

Arthur Meyerson, Mary Virginia Swanson and Sam Abell were the lecturers of the evening and it was nice, somewhat educational evening.  Sam Abell talks.  A lot.  Both Meg and Eliot got to chat a little bit with Swannie, who was quite happy to see the four of us.  We were quite happy to see her.

Then about 10pm, we hit the road to come home.

This morning, Eliot and I went out to the Bosque to make some photographs.  He was lugging around his Toyo 4x5 and a bag full of gear while I went lightweight with my carbon fiber tripod and Canon 5D Mark II.  I think somehow, I still made less exposures than Eliot did.

Tonight we are headed to Corrales for an outdoor photo slide show and BBQ with a whole bunch of people I've never met.  My wife and daughter are going as well.  I can't wait to meet more people in the Albuquerque area who are serious about photography and serious about building a community.  Should be a good time.

It's been great getting to know Meg and Eliot.  If you have the time, take a few minutes to check out their websites.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Santa Fe Workshops Instructor Image Presentation Schedule

Summer 2010 Instructor Image Presentation Schedule

All presentations begin at 8:30 PM
The schedule is subject to change

All lectures are held at the Santa Fe Prep School

Week 1
MONDAY June 21 – Arthur Meyerson, Mary Virginia Swanson, Sam Abell
TUESDAY June 22 – Christopher James, Michael Clark, Alan M. Thornton, Darius Himes

Week 2
MONDAY June 28 – Cathy Maier Callanan, Jonathan Torgovnik, Kwaku Alston
TUESDAY June 29 – Cig Harvey, Christopher James, Chris Rainier

Week 3
MONDAY July 5 – Tony Bonanno, Jock McDonald, Keith Carter
TUESDAY July 6 – Jennifer Davidson, Michael Webb, Elizabeth Opalenik

Week 4
MONDAY July 12 –  John Weiss, Tony Corbell, Karen Kuehn
TUESDAY July 13 – Michael Donnor, Rick Allred, Nevada Wier

Week 5
MONDAY July 19 – Norah Levine, Bobbie Goodrich, Norman Mauskopf
TUESDAY July 20 – Jennifer Spelman, Daniel Milnor, Frank Ockenfels

Week 6
MONDAY July 26 – Patrick Donehue, Eddie Soloway, France Scully, Andrew Southam
TUESDAY July 27 – Jennifer Spelman, Raul Touzon, Jill Enfield

Week 7
MONDAY August 2 – Bobbi Lane, Carlan Tapp, Anne Cahill, Paul Elledge
TUESDAY August 3 – Doug Beasley, Leasha Overturff, Joe McNally

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Call for Work / Call for Entries

Deadline July 31
Photomedia Center calls for artists to submit work for inclusion in its annual juried show. It is open to
all artists working in any photographic media and there is no restriction on subject matter. Selected
works will be exhibited online at Photomedia Center during September 2010. One work will be
selected for the Purchase Award, which will be added to Photomedia Center's permanent print
collection. One artist from the show will be selected for a solo featured show at Photomedia Center
during its 2011 season. Accepted works may be offered for sale by the artists during the show. The
2010 Open Exhibition will be archived at Photomedia Center and continuously available for viewing
online in the past exhibitions sections of the site after September.

Deadline June 21
Vermont Photography Workplace: Subject FLIGHT 
For this juried exhibition, we seek photographs exploring the theme of FLIGHT.  From birds to ballerinas, from airplanes to dust motes, subjects that capture the experience of lessening gravity’s pull will constitute this juried exhibition. 
Forty photographs will be selected for exhibition on the walls of PhotoPlace Gallery and on the gallery website by juror David Bram.  An additional thirty-five images will be chosen for PhotoPlace's "On-Line Gallery Annex."  All selected work will be included in a full-color exhibition catalogue available for purchase from Blurb Books.  To help artists defray costs, PhotoPlace Gallery offers to mat and frame work selected for exhibition free of charge, providing artists print their images to our pre-cut mat and frame sizes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mark your Calendars: Joel Lipovetsky at Photoeye

Santa Fe resident and all around nice guy Joel Lipovetsky will be showing work at Photo-eye Books.

The show opening is Friday June 25 from 5pm to 8pm.

If you are into skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding, then you gotta get off your ass and see this show.

More details at
and buy Joel's Magcloud magazine here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

David Taylor at the New Mexico History Museum

Santa Fe (June 14, 2010) - Join photographer and Guggenheim Fellow David Taylor and a panel of publishers, curators, and border experts for a discussion of current issues along the U.S.-Mexico border as reflected in Taylor's new book, Working the Line (Radius Books, Spring 2010). The free event is from 5:30-7:30 pm on Thursday, July 15, 2010, in the New Mexico History Museum Auditorium. A selection of Taylor's border images will be on view in the Triangle Gallery next to the auditorium. 
In 2008, Taylor received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his ongoing examination of the U.S.-Mexico border. His work is focused on about 260 obelisks that mark the international boundary from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/Tijuana. The monuments - striking objects set in impossibly gorgeous and difficult terrain - were installed between 1892 and 1895.
Patrol agents often refer to their job in the field as "line work," an apt description of Taylor's own time as he documented the obelisks, along the way earning remarkable access to U.S. Border Patrol facilities, agents and routine operations. Being on the line gives Taylor a unique view into overlapping issues of border security, the smuggling of people and drugs, the continuing construction of the border fence, and its impact on the land. His book captures the complexity of the terrain, politics and human dynamics. His images, documentary in nature, are formally and visually compelling.
Taylor will sign copies of the book and participate in a discussion with these panelists:
Paul F. Wells, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol.
David J. Garcia, a member of the Tohono O'Odham Nation (whose ancestral lands span the U.S./Mexico Border) and the Chukut Kuk District, which fronts the international boundary.
Hannah Frieser, a photographer, book artist, and curator whose essays are included in Working the Line.
Darius Himes, acquiring editor at Radius Books, a nonprofit publisher of books on photography and the visual arts he founded with three colleagues in 2007. 
David Chickey, a founding member of Radius Books. 
Mary Anne Redding, curator of photography at the New Mexico History Museum. 
Taylor, an associate professor at New Mexico State University, teaches photography and exhibits his photographs, installations and artist's books nationally. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Washington State Arts Commission, El Paso Museum of Art and Fidelity Investments. For more on Taylor and his work, go to
Radius Books will sell copies of Working the Line at the event for $50. A signed, limited-edition copy with a signed print in a folio will also be available for $800.
Photo above: Border Monument 4, 2007. 24x31 Archival Inkjet Print. Copyright David Taylor. This and other high-resolution photographs, including a photo of Taylor, are available upon request.

Phone number for publication: 505-476-5200

Media contact: Kate Nelson
Marketing Manager
New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors
(505) 476-1141; cell: (505) 554-5722

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Colors of Life Photography Contest

Colors of Life 2010 International Photo Contest proudly supports the Neurological Institute of Guatemala ( a non profit organization which provides care and education for 120 underprivileged children with severe neurological deficits.

Event Title: Colors of Life 2010 International Photo Contest

Event Description: An International Photography Competition organized by The Gallery Art & Design, representing an opportunity for Photographers worldwide (professionals, students and amateurs) to submit and exhibit their work In United States and Europe.
The work of the 35 final images selected by The Gallery will be submitted to a jury of leading international gallery owners, academics and artists in the field for the selection of the Competition winners: First, second and third prize (US $ 1250, 900, 550 respectively)
In addition, a collective exhibition of the 35 final selected photographs in the Competition will be held at:
The Embassy of Guatemala, Washington DC, November-December 2010
The Capital One Corporate Gallery, January, February, March 2011, Richmond, VA
Art Work, April-March 2011, Richmond, VA
National Museum of Modern Art Carlos Merida, Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Entry Fee:  US$ 40 (forty) to submit up to three images

Theme: “A Dream in Color”

Call for entries: June1- July 31, 2010
Additional information and submission:
Event Contact Information: Amalia Pizzardi (+1) 202 2578937
Event Web Page:  (apply online)

The Gallery Art & Design/Colors of Life
1301 Old Logan rd
Manakin- Sabot  VA 23103

Tel:  +01 804 784 1243

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who I Reviewed at Review Santa Fe 2010

After all of the planning and hype, I can't believe this year's RSF is over.  I am still so tired and would like to not talk for a day or two but that is not possible.  Too many things going on and two giant opportunities have come my way.  I am grateful.  I hope everyone had a fun and fruitful time.

Here are the photographers that I "officially" reviewed at RSF.  Please take a minute to check out their work.

Elizabeth Bernstein
Daniel Marchand
Amber Shields
Jane Alden Stevens
Sarah Christianson
Isabelle Pateer
Alessandra Quadri
Yvette Marie Dostatni
Susan Lynn Smith

David Rochkind
David Leventi
Kendall McMinimy
J. Gilbert Plantinga
Manjari Sharma
Alejandro Cartegena
Claudia Kunin
Sarina Finkelstein
Taylor Glenn

Thank you to all of the photographers who wanted my thoughts about their work.  I am humbled.

Emily Shur

I had the pleasure of seeing the amazing Ms Shur again at this years Review Santa Fe.  Of course, we did not have a lot of time to spend catching up but no matter, she's a rockstar and I really love her work.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review Santa Fe

I will be at Review Santa Fe for the next few days.

I will post the list of the photographers that I will be reviewing on Sunday night, after all is said and done and I am home drinking a beer.

If you are reading this and will be at any part of the review, let me know.