The Photobook Review

Publisher’s Note: Lesley A. Martin

The PhotoBook Review 008 coincides with the Summer 2015 issue of Aperture magazine, “Tokyo” (#219), as well as with Shashin, a symposium and festival for Japanese photography that takes place on April 24 and 25 at the New York Public Library. All three have been shaped, in part, through consultation with Our Man in Tokyo and this issue’s guest editor, Ivan Vartanian of Goliga.

Several threads in these pages wend their way back to an event that took place at Aperture Gallery in November 2011, Printing Show—TKY, by the Japanese master bookmaker and photographer Daido Moriyama. This event, organized by Goliga, invited participants to create their own edit from a selection of fifty double-sided, gatefold spreads, and has now been restaged around the world. It was challenging to pull off. We had no idea what to expect. But once the doors opened, with Mr. Moriyama in place at the center of the gallery, surrounded by silk-screening equipment, photocopiers, and a stalwart crew of staplers, paper-runners, and other assistants, the energy was palpable. Four years later, it still resonates with me as a rare and magical occasion during which the usually insular act of bookmaking became a communal, externalized celebration. I’d never seen visitors in the gallery as engaged with the idea of editing a set of pictures, or of selecting, sequencing, and bringing together a collection of printed (in this case, photocopied) pages.

That essential idea—of redrawing the boundaries of the photobook via events and performances, in order to engage audiences at earlier stages of a book’s creation or more inclusively at the time of its launch—has its own history. But it has also become an important part of our present. This issue includes commentary from contemporary artists such as Melinda Gibson, Katja Stuke of BöhmKobayashi, and Jason Fulford, as well as curators and publishers such as Bruno Ceschel and Aron Mörel, on the intersection of performance, bookmaking, and audience engagement. Later in the issue, the critical (and rarely discussed) final component of publishing, which is getting finished books into readers’ hands and homes, is addressed by Mike Slack and Tricia Gabriel, who are both bookmakers and booksellers under the imprint The Ice Plant.

One important targeted audience in the ecosystem of the photobook is the collector. The current state of connoisseurship and the knowledge base regarding in-depth photobook history would not exist without their commitment and obsessions. It is a treat to have the commentary of two veteran collectors in this issue, Ryuichi Kaneko and Manfred Heiting, focusing specifically on their interest in the Japanese photobook. And finally, we are delighted to have a centerfold by the ever-performative Anouk Kruithof, who brings us a long-distance, collaborative reading of Lieko Shiga’s photobooks, in dialogue with that artist.

All of this has come together, as always, with the generous input of time and brain power from our guest editor and many contributors, who we thank for being part of the ongoing experiment that is The PhotoBook Review. Last, but never least, this effort to publish is not yet complete until it is open and in your hands, the PhotoBook Reader. Thank you, as always, for your interest and support.


—Lesley A. Martin

Publisher, The PhotoBook Review, and Director of Special Projects, Aperture Foundation

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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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