In addition to producing material to hang next to the exhibits I decided to produce some promotional cards to support the exhibition. I decided to retain the same design cues from the book dummy for ‘Last person…’ on the front page of the promo cards. I decided for a double sided layout as the cost was not different. The backside of the promo cards was split into two parts the left side of the page contained details about the art work including price for each image. The right hand side contained details of all my social media channels plus contact details. The postcard format meant that some visitors might take the promo card away and use it as a small piece of art in their home potentially looking on the reverse side in the future and using the social media information to re-engage with my work.
Note at the end of the show I still had 150 promo cards.The cards did not have any details specific to the event and the unused cards could be used if the work was exhibited again at a future date. Though in hindsight a limited run of 100 cards would have been more than adequate for a show such as London Photo Show be remain tighter on budget.
The second book review at Magnum Photo was with Hannah Watson of Trolley Books. I explained to Hannah the back story for my photobook and my current design approach for the book. In addition to the 3rd version of my book dummy I had brought the loose images that I printed when working on dummy version 1. We decided to layout the images and look for an alternative sequence.
Overall Hannah felt the 3rd Dummy had sufficient images to tell the story of Sandford Mill though she felt that additional archival material would have helped with the story. She liked the overall format of the book and text layout on the front page having the shape of a tap. She considered the images to be strong though she did identify one of the drone images as an image where she suggested a shallower depth of field would have allowed the pipework to stand out from the tree in the background.
The feedback from Hannah gave me confidence that the book could be published with the help of the correct publisher but I would need to source additional archival material to strengthen the narrative. To help develop the story further I would need to execute research into potential sources of archival material for Sandford Mill plus look for a publisher who would be interested in developing the book further for publication.
The first book review was with Mark Power. I was the last person to present my work to Mark so I had a chance to listen to the feedback from others and reflect on the information to my dummy. A number of people showed dummies that contained just photographs and Mark suggested that the inclusion of archival material could help their books to appeal beyond the photobook sector. My book dummy included some archival material to help tell the story.
When it was my time to show Mark my book dummy I explain the history of the building and the story to date.
Mark provided the following feedback on my dummy. He felt the fact that images were back to back made the images overwhelming. He suggested that having blank pages would allow the reader to focus on specific images and only to pair images where they had a strong connection.
He felt that a different book format could help tell the story and advised me to look use design cues from document that might have been used at the Water Treatment Plant and explore different images size on the pages. I decided to sketch a few ideas based on Mark’s feedback.
Mark wanted to know more about the building, I explained that the Museum are currently considering plans for the building’s redevelopment. He recommended that I should stay with the project and record the transformation of the building similar to the Treasury Project that he undertook that followed the redevelopment of the Treasury building in London.
Mark’s feedback was useful and provided me with some possibilities to allow the reader to engage with my book as a hyper mediated object which was not something I had considered when I created the 3rd Dummy. Limiting the number of double page images would create space for the images to breath and I could use the facing page to title each image. I considered adding chemical equations for the water treatment process similar to the way Mark added weather forecast information to his book “Shipping Forecast”.
Stuart Smith is a co-director of GOST books with Gordon McDonald. Stuart has been designing books since 1996 ands has been involved in publishing over 800 books including many of Mark Powers books.
Stuart provided the group with his insights in the photobook publishing process. He feels that design should be simple. It is important for the photographer to develop a relationship as they will spend a lot of time together during the creative process. When embarking on a publication Stuart likes to look at the larger book edit to understand what images were part of the larger edit but the photographer decided to exclude plus he is interested to see additional material that is available and might be incorporated into the book and potentially allow the book to appeal to other audiences. GOST book has a small team of 4 who cover different aspects of the publication process.
Stuart suggested that a good book should start strong and end strong, sometimes less is more. Book size and type of print are important elements of the overall design as these elements help enrich the story being told by the book. He has a clear view that consistent design and simple style are important factors in a successful book. Do not submit bad images as potentially those images might make it into the book.
If you are going to print double page full bleed images it is important to realise that the image will loose 3mm in true page gutter which can influence image selection. When putting images on opposite page ensure horizons across the pages match to avoid the images jarring. There are many different formats that can be considered for the book 6×4.5, 3×2 etc.
Artist statements in photobook should be short and focused. If more text is required it is worth considering using writers to create the required text.
To get the best quality books offset printing is still the best option. There are many different paper types that can be used but broadly the fall into a few types: Gloss, Matte and uncharted.
Photobooks is a niche market so quality photography is key to a successful book.
Mark Power a Magnum Photographer shared his story of book publishing. Mark explained that his books and exhibitions borrow from each other though he did say that having large exhibition pieces means that storage costs can be high and advised the group that having smaller pieces is something he would have considered with hindsight.
Mark explained that his first book Shipping Forecast was inspired by a tea towel that showed the different areas shipping forecast areas. When researching for the project he collected shipping forecast recordings and visited the different locations multiple times. The areas without a coastline presented some problems as to how he would get to take photographs in those locations. A ferry provide the solution to taking photographs in German Bight. The language used for the shipping forecast could be viewed as abstract and the images were adapted to reflect the text. What is interesting about Shipping forecast is the book broke out of the photobook market and appealed to other groups which helped increase awareness of the book.
Mark’s second book was based on the London A-Z and those locations that were just off the edge of the London A-Z maps. The book was titled “26 Different Endings’ and only consists of 27 images. One of the challenges was editing the images down to the final 27 that appeared in the book. The images were paired with an essay by a writer that helped create the overall product.
Mark’s book Superstructure was a story about the building of the Millennium Dome which was published by Harpers and Collins because there was government funding for millennium projects. The site was filmed from different perspectives aerial photography, ground level and under sodium lights once the outer shell started to take shape. The final images were taken at the opening ceremony with one long exposure image spanning the two centuries.
The book “Treasury Project” was the story of the redevelopment of the Treasury building in Whitehall. The book was was created as a 1500 print run. 500 of the books went to art museums and the remaining 1000 books were given to the architects for distribution.
Mark visited Poland as part of a Magnum project to record the story of countries joining the Europe Union and returned to the country multiple times over the next 5 years. From those visits Mark created a book called Mass that contains images of Catholic Churches. The book has a unique page format that required a special manufacturing process.
Mark then explained the story of the first book that he has self-published about the fall of the Berlin Wall to be published on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mark engaged with a Polish designer and the whole design process was done via email. The book made use of newspaper archive material including the book title using the typeface from a paper published in 1989. The book was printed in Poland and the 1000 copies cost £10K to print.
The books are being sold through an online bookstore. Mark felt that being a Magnum photographer certainly helps with his profile when self-publishing.
Power, M. (2002). The Treasury project. Maidstone, Kent: Photoworks in association with Exchequer Partnership.
Power, M. and Chandler, D. (1998). The shipping forecast. London: Zelda Cheatle Press in association with Network Photographers.
Power, M. (2007). 26 different endings. Brighton: Photoworks.
Aron provided some of his views on the photobook publishing. I had heard Aron talk at a PhotoLondon PreShow talk earlier in 2017. Aron’s talk at Magnum was a frank assessment based on his own experience as a publisher. He started publishing in 2008 and has published a number of since then.
Shops no longer represent the traditional channel for distributing books, they are unlikely to take more than a few books so it is necessary to find alternative channels. When looking for funding be careful as funding promised can evaporate or can change shape with the person providing funding making requests that might compromise rather overall financial viability of the project.
The great thing about books is they help make photography accessible and you can get people to view your work. Aron advised thar it is best to keep things simple and small. He advised that you should publish books because you love books. When designing books look to use and copy styles from other publishers that have relate to the subject of your book.
Distributors are more interested in the larger volume book markets and a distributor will want to take a large percentage and want the ability to discount books that means that the publisher getting less than the manufacturing costs which is the reason to explore other distribution channels.
When approaching a publisher with a photobook idea, gather reference material to give to the designer. Keep dummy printing costs cheap by printing on A4. Creating colour book on an offset printing press gives predictable results. Printing black and white books is more challenging as results are less easy to predict. When preparing image sequence for a book take photographs of the selected sequence to retain as a reference for the final book sequence.
To help marketing a book use Instagram and include sample pages plus behind the scenes images and videos to help engage with your audience.
I found Aron’s feedback refreshing and the hints and tips were very useful. He advised to do your research on publishers to find one that has published books similar to your project.
Hannah Watson is directory of Trolley Books a photobook publisher based in the UK.
Hannah tells the story of Trolley books. In 2001 Gigi Giannuzzi with Nan Goldin founded a publishing company called Trolley Books . Gigi would go to the Frankfurt Book Fair with his book dummies looking for published as it cost money to rent a stall at Frankfurt something Gigi did not have he would go up and down the rows with the dummies in a shopping trolley. The story of Trolley Books is documented in the book Trolleyology, with stories from photographers published by Trolley. In 2005 those at Trolley felt the future of publishing looked bleak but the advent of self-publishing marked a renaissance in publishing. Trolley has ridden this trend publishing 1 to 2 books a year.
Hannah explained the process of getting books published from Trolley’s perspective. To publish a book requires between £10k to £30K depending upon the specific features of the book design. You might be lucky and find a patron who believes in the project and will help fund publication. Trolley have used Kickstarter to fund two book projects, though getting the required funding can be a little hit and miss. Though having a good following can help make a kickstarter campaign successful. Offer tiered benefits such as signed prints for those that commit a higher sum to the campaign. The top tier Trolley offer is a chance to go “on press” in Italy when the book is printed. Printers expect to be paid before the book can go to press. Typically a production run for a photobook is 1000 books but can be as low as 500.
Promoting is the book can different forms depending on the photographer but it helps if the photographer work with the publisher to promote the book. Use of slideshow videos will help support the promotional process. A number of copies of the book are delivered to press to help with book reviews. Exhibitions can help market the book with the opportunity to sell the book at exhibitions. Trolley Books do direct sales at Art Fairs such as Arles, PhotoLondon and Unseen.
When looking to get a book published approach the publisher take source material, physical dummy or a PDF version. Hannah felt the more interesting projects are those where Trolley can work with the photographer to shape the final product.
In the Q&A session Hannah was asked about publishing costs and sale costs. She explained that to print 1,200 books would cost about £12,000 and the retail price would typically be 3 times manufacturing costs. Overall Hannah’s view on photobook publishing is that breaking even once all costs had been taken into account was a good outcome as selling all books is not always guaranteed.
Overall the talk was very useful to gain insight into the process and the benefits of engaging a publisher in the process. Engaging a publisher could help guide me in the design of the book and help avoid potential pitfalls and costly mistakes that could occur without the help of someone with experience. It was clear to me that helping with the publisher to fund the book is going to increase the chance of creating a successful book.
Location : Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts (Main Hall)
Venue: The venue was a large modern theatre in the Academy of Fine Arts.
The following text is a summary of my notes from Gerry Badger’s talk on collecting photographs. As a photographer who is looking to sell fine art images as part of my practice getting the thoughts of Gerry Badger who helps individuals collect images and has work with Martin Part of the influential books on such as the History of Photobooks (that some people consider as a bucket list of collectable photobooks) would help provide insight into the photographic art market.
Gerry’s talk started by summarising his key points in the first few minutes of his talk:
Buy what you like because there is no guarantee that photographs will go up in value
Buy best photographs that are in the best condition when looking for images to add to your collection
Gerry then provided us with a brief history of photograph as an art form.
The start of photography as art is linked to a number of different events:
Helen Gee put on photography exhibitions in the 1950s at Limelight in New York
John Szarkowski became director at the Museum of Modern Art and changed the museums curatorial position on collecting photography as art rather than a record of fact.
Ansel Adams starts retire prints to create rarity within a medium that is based on the ability to create an unlimited number of copies from the original negative.
Harry Lune founds the art market in 1970s with the Annual show in New York APAD Association of Photographic Dealers
One of the big concerns for collectors in the photography market is that it is easy for photographers to make more prints and therefore devalue images that have already been created.
To create rarity in the photographic art market prints are considered as vintage if they are created within 5 years of the negative being created.
The photo art market divides into a number of categories:
19th Century – images created by 19th century photographers
20th Century Master – images created by the icons of 20th Century photography such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston.
Contemporary Market – consists of other published photographers. The contemporary photograph market divides into two broad groups photography and photography that is sold as art. Images considered as art are valued a factor 10 times comparable photography prints.
The final part of Gerry’s talk focused on providing the audience with advice on building a collection of photographs:
Library of Congress photographic archive: iIt is possible to print images from the archive for free and the archive contains many famous images
Photo swops: swop images with other photographers to build up your collection without having to spend money. David Huron is a good example of someone who has used photo swops to build a collection.
Gallery buying: buy from a reputable gallery always select the best condition prints if multiple prints of the same subject are for sale.
When trying to value prints it is important to understand the edition size and if those editions are location or size specific. Even if an image is an edition of 5 thought could equate to 30 or 60 images if the image is offered in 3 sizes from 4 different galleries. Some photographers adjust price as editions a start to sell however that can backfire as collectors can be viewed as mercenary. Another type of prints are those know as posthumous editions that are created by the families estate but have questionable value as it reduces rarity.
Visited the Lens Show at the Islington Business Centre on the 6th May and attended a number of talks including one by Elishama Udorok on how to get your vidoes go viral. It appears there is a magic formula of 5 Cs that increases the chances your content will go viral:
Though as the talk progressed Elishama explained that there is a little bit more than just the 5 Cs to increase changes of your content going viral. How he explained the steps that they used to get the Chicken Shop Reviews go viral.
Step 1: Develop the first half a dozen episodes so that views have a back catalogue to view.
Step 2: Start by promoting your content on core sites such as Reddit and Buzzfeed. Get key influencers to comment on your material starting to generate interest that will ripple through the community.
Step 3: Take control of publicity by imposing a blackout so that you control when press get information that is co-ordinated with the release of new episodes to increase the level of traffic on the internet to coincide with espisode releases. The increased demand drives internet traffic.
It will be interesting to compare this strategy for viral videos compares with the strategies discussed in module 3.
The Chris Littlewood talk was the second talk at the Magnum Photo event ‘Navigating the Photography Art Market’ and he provided the gallery directors perspective on the Art Market. Chris joined flowers an initially started to document the fine art installations at Flower Gallery, overtime Chris became involved in setting up the photography section at Flowers. The first photographer they signed to Flowers was Edward Burtinsky. Chris feels the role of the gallery is to work closely with the artist to build value, creating a lasting legacy while at the same time selling work to art investors. The gallery becomes an extension of the artist though this can present ethical questions for all parties especially for some artists who’s work is exploring man and his impact on the planet such as Burtinsky. Some of Burtinsky’s work has covered subjects such as man made fossils create by the landfill sites that contain the discarded items of society, the anthropocene view of cities today using drones to megacities. However this environmental stance is contradiction to the transportation of the large prints created by Burtinsky.
Flowers currently represents 11 photographers and the galleries role is to create a desire for people to see the work of artists through fairs, book launches, etc.
Another artist represented by the gallery is Michael Wolf who’s work includes recording the back streets of Hong Kong including the chairs that people sit on when taking breaks from work. Michael collected these chairs and they were incorporated into his exhibitions.
Flowers focuses of artists that cover the environment, urban landscape and socio-political topics.
Another represented by the gallery is Boomoon a South Korean photographer. For one specific project on Icelandic waterfalls Boomoon captures 10,000 images of the same subject that he edited down to 300 before the gallery got involved to select the final 10 for exhibition. The works of Boomoon are on an epic scale as the following installation image shows.
An example of a socio-political photographer using the gallery system to support his research is Edmund Clark, who’s work ‘Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition’ recorded the secret prisons holding political prisoners. He was able to collect information through the paper trail of public companies used by governments associated with these prisons. Clark recorded the direct images of the locations to support the story behind the images. Selling of these images helps fund further research into political work.
At the end of his talk Chris mentioned that Nadav Kander is currently working on a project about the Thames Estuary which was interesting for me because that has potential parallels to my own intended project Tilbury to Harwich which covers the Essex coastline part of which is on the Thames Estuary. Kander is famous another project on a river course Yangtze the Long River. The work of Kander and Burtinsky will help to contextualise my project ‘Tilbury to Harwich’ as start to develop the themes outlined in my initial proposal in Module 1 ‘Positions and Practice’
At the end of the workshop I managed to have a chat with Chris outlining the intent of my project which he felt had merit especially today with interest in the environment and the redrawing of boundaries following the triggering of Article 50 of the EU Treaty.