The Photobook Review

Publisher’s Note

Dear PhotoBook Review Readers,

We’re delighted to bring you the fourth issue of The PhotoBook Review. Many thanks for your continued interest if you are joining us again—and if this is your first time to pick up an issue of PBR, cheers and welcome. The PhotoBook Review 004 launches at the Los Angeles edition of Paris Photo, and is available once again to Aperture magazine subscribers, at the Aperture gallery, and at the Milan Image Art Fair, extending our audience to the west coast and across the Atlantic.

In addition to launching this issue together at the Paramount Studios, Paris Photo is also our intrepid partner in the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Prize, the second edition of which we are pleased to announce will be open for entries May 6. Open to self-published, boutique- and indie-published, and mega publisher–published books, we look forward to taking another dip in the river of creativity that is photobook publishing now. Check out the PhotoBook Prize website ( for more details on how and when to enter.

Finally, a big thanks to Charlotte Cotton for taking the helm of this issue. For each volume of PBR
 we invite a colleague who has given the photobook serious consideration to help shape the issue and to tap contributors for inclusion. Miss Cotton brings to us the combined perspective of an author and curator—one who has written her own best-selling book, contributed to a slew of other people’s books, and, perhaps most radically, in Words Without Pictures, reformulated the idea of and process by which books come into being. A collection of talks, conversations, essays, and responses to those essays, Words Without Pictures was originally published online; subsequently appeared in a print-on-demand edition from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and is now available as an Aperture/LACMA copublication. It functioned, in essence, as a community-sourced snapshot of the state of photography during a critical moment of transition. In our first issue of this journal, we outlined the importance of community to The PhotoBook Review’s philosophy, acknowledging that “those of us who care about the photobook come to the table with a vested interest.” In this issue, Cotton injects an ontologically broad and digitally grounded set of definitions to the idea of the photobook and its community, expand
ing the set of concerns to include photography that lives not just on the printed page of a book, but also on record covers, in ebooks, and in magazines. Other additive ingredients are the contributions of aficionados who are knowledgable but not specialists—musicians Kieran Hebden and Colin Greenwood, magazine editor Penny Martin, and design critic Emily King—in addition to an international coterie 
of deeply immersed advisors and photobook veterans such as Jeffrey Fraenkel, Richard Misrach, and others. Our thanks, as always, for the generous responses of all involved. In this issue, we’re treated to a perspective on community as an evolving delivery system for networked knowledge that is both personal and observant. Most critically, it is built on a set of recommendations that don’t just reaffirm what we already know, but open the doors to ideas we’ve yet to encounter.

—Lesley A. Martin
Publisher, The PhotoBook Review

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The PhotoBook Review is a publication dedicated to the consideration of the photobook—focusing on the best photography books being published, from the coffee-table book to the handmade artist’s edition, and on creating a better understanding of the ecosystem of the photobook as a whole.

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