In early summer of 1999, when Martin Parr visited the exhibition Fotografía pública Photography in Print 1919 – 1939, in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, he was left breathless. In a time when Photography struggled to prove its Art status by ever-larger Diasec prints and rigid mounting, here was a show of lose pamphlets, worn out magazines and yellowed photography books. He bought the catalogue, edited by the curator of the exhibition, Horacio Fernández, which was a beautiful photobook in itself, and showed it to his friends and colleagues back home, as he remembers: “Many people also saw this, and it became very cult, with people talking about it, so the impact was enormous”. Two years later, Andrew Roth’s Book of 101 Books presented a list of seminal photographic books of the Twentieth Century. At this time Martin Parr and Gerry Badger were already working on their two volumes of The Photobook – A History. At the same time as this revision of the history of photography in the printed matter, there was also a shift in the technological development. Digital printing became a serious competitor for the traditional offset process, and allowed to produce short printing runs in a satisfactory quality. Online Print-On-Demand platforms have since undoubtedly revolutionized the concept of self-publishing.
Consequently, everyday, there are more blog posts, courses, articles, exhibitions and even festivals dedicated to photobooks and zines. Allow us to highlight a selection of events and publications dedicated to a medium that, instead of fearing for its future in the digital era, is living a true Renaissance. They are not ordered in any way, and I am involved in some of them, if you don’t mind. If you are missing important ones, PLEASE do comment and I will add them.
In Part I of the Curator Ship’s Special on Photobooks and Zines, we will have a look at
Exhibitions, Fairs and Festivals
4th International Photobook Festival Kassel
The International Photobook Festival Kassel is organized by a team made up of dedicated photography and photobook enthusiasts. In it’s fourth edition, which has just ended, it featured exhibitions, talks, seminars and awards dedicated to the medium. Have a look at the Catalog of this year’s edition to find out more or go to their website.
This years Dummy Award, by the way, goes to Milou Abel from Utrecht, for Ik ben jou. Have a look at Milou Abel’s website, where you will find three different versions of the dummy. A great way to study the development of this outstanding project.
PhotoIreland’s first Book & Magazine Fair and Martin Parr’s Best Photo Books of the Decade Exhibition
PhotoIreland‘s first Book & Magazine Fair includes photobooks and photo magazines from all over the world, as well as a rich example of contemporary publications focused on Art, Design and Illustration. Over 300 items from more than 40 publishers will be on display. Dates: 15-31 July, Opening hours: Mon to Sat 10.30-5.30pm, Sun 11-5.30pm. Book & Magazine Fair. FilmBase, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Parallel to this event, the exhibition Martin Parr’s Best Photo Books of the Decade shows 30 publications from all over the globe; a subjective list of works, a random number, in chronological order, and based on the personal criteria of a book-lover. The list is still being kept secret, but you can have a first glimpse here.
The Second Annual Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair of the New York Camara Club
The Camera Club of New York presents the Second Annual Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair on July 16-17th at CCNY. The zine and self-published photo book is a contemporary approach to photography in its published form, celebrating the book as well as offering artists a vehicle to spread their art and ideas.The public will be invited to come, browse, purchase and meet the people involved with the burgeoning zine and self-published art world. The deadline for submission of the publications is July 9, 2011. More details on the CCNY Website.
Offprint Paris is still a bit further down the road (10-13 Nov. 2011) but after last year’s success, this artist book fair dedicated to photography publications will be another highlight. Focusing on independent publishing companies, Offprint aspires to be a meeting place for Artists, Photographers, Graphic designers, Curators, Artistic directors, Journalists, Collectors… who deal with “printed” photography: books, magazines, zines, prints. More info on their website.
Now, it’s your turn: Tell us about other Exhibitions, Fairs and Festivals worth mentioning. Or become a contributor yourself. Just leave a comment and we’ll talk.
Ah, and before I forget: Part II will be dedicated on Courses and workshops dedicated to Photobooks, Part III to blogs and websites, Part IV to Publishers and Online Platforms. Stay tuned!