‘Publish Your Photography Book’ by Darius D. Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson is an incredibly stimulating volume aimed at introducing the idea of photobook publishing to an aspiring photographer. As I am currently preparing my first photobook, this text has been a great help. It starts with an chapter devoted to the phenomenon of a photobook and the recent three-volume anthology by Gerry Badger, a critic, and Martin Parr, the great photobook collector, published by Phaidon or the 802 Photobooks from the M+M Auer collection.
‘A great photobook has outstanding photographs that have something new to say, with appropriate production and design that allow the message to be discovered easily by the viewer’ says Martin Parr (Himes and Swanson, 2011).
The book discusses the whole life cycle of photobook production from ‘Evaluating and Refining Your Concept’ and ‘Understanding how Publishers Work’ to submitting your proposal to the editor and possible avenues for self-publishing. Accompanied by a wealth of interviews from industry professionals and artists, this volume could be an important first step on a path towards a new photobook. Written in highly professional language, it could become a true handbook for photographers and a source of inspiration.
My experience shows that it is absolutely essential to find good collaborators and build successful partnerships with the graphic designers and the production team, but also find the necessary funding using grants, donations or croudfunding platforms to bring your project to life. A hugely important skill is to be able to select and sequence your images, once a substantial body of work has been created. There are multiple ways to approach sequencing images in a photobook, employing principles of cinematography, using the metaphor of a journey or a dream, and I will devote a special post to this very issue shortly.
I have been inspired by this book to find good collaborators, the graphic designers, who help me to bring my new photobook project to life. We are currently working on arranging the different chapters of the photobook, making sure the text fit nicely with the images, the captions are telling and reflect the essence of the images as well as useful additional information for further contextualisation of the images within a broader discourse of ecological-economic analysis.
The new edition of the book can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Publish-Your-Photography-Virginia-Swanson/dp/1616892269/
Darius D. Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson (2011) Publish Your Photography Book, Princeton Architectural Press
Martin Parr and Gerry Badger (2004) The Photobook: A History (Vol 1), Phaidon
Photo Photo Photo Books: 802 Photo Books from the M + M Auer Collection. 2008