Publisher’s Note: Lesley A. Martin
Dear Photobook Review reader,
Over the past three years that The PhotoBook Review has been in publication, it has become apparent that the ecosystem of the photobook is no longer exclusively concerned with simply publishing books. A whole network of additional activities has sprung up around that core act, with prizes awarded and festivals held practically every month, from Indonesia to Vienna; the de rigueur publication of “books about books” from any country with a respectable publication record; exhibition treatises about single photobooks or regional surveys; and, finally, the move to create a PhotoBook Museum (or at least, as founder Markus Schaden says, a first draft or “dummy” of what such a museum might look like).
If we were to take a snapshot of these activities and provide a representative sampling of the world of the photobook, above and beyond the actual making of books, who and what would be represented? How and for how long can this spate of activities—what I’d like to affectionately term “the PhotoBook Circus”—be additive to our understanding of the power and meaning of photography itself? In pursuit of insight, I turned to Ramón Reverté, a fellow publisher and enabler in the growth of photobook activities, to select a range of contributors who would assemble a series of “Reports from the Field.” Our goal was to help record the range of activities happening around the photobook today—the better to gain a sense of their repercussions and the motivations behind them.
Not coincidentally, this issue turns a spotlight on Spain’s recently energized photobook scene. This focus highlights not only the output of contemporary Spanish photographers, but also what could be seen as a case study, in which activities centered around the photobook help transform and invigorate photographic communities outside of traditional cultural centers, with directly participatory and highly networked means of both creating new work and communicating it outward via the photobook.
I’m also delighted to include the short-listed titles from the 2014 Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. Paris Photo, with its strengthened commitment to the photobook under the guidance of director Julien Frydman, serves as another example of the way in which the conversation has expanded to acknowledge the photobook as an essential part of photography. This year, the Awards include a new category: Photography Catalogue of the Year. Thank you to the more than eight hundred entrants overall! Finally, I’d also like to thank Ramón for being this issue’s editor, and, as always, all the participants who have let us harvest a few of their thoughts and ideas—a smorgasbord of photobook delights.
—Lesley A. Martin
Publisher, The PhotoBook Review and Aperture Foundation book program
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.