BOOK BUILDING | PHOTOFAIRS

BOOK BUILDING

The photobook is a well-known vessel to explore new relationships between photography, narrative, presentation and communication. Often regarded as a medium to mark the milestones of a photographer’s career, the photobook plays a vital role in art discourse. 

Earlier this year we championed the artform through PRESENTS: The Photo Book. The digital exhibition brought together international artists, publishing institutions and art bookstores to show the unique charm of the photobook. Accompanying the exhibition was a full social media program, including Q&A’s and in-depth videos with participating publishers Aprilsnow Press and Foto Feminas. You can view the videos via our online Conversations program here

Recognising that China’s collectors, galleries and artists’ interest in the photobook and art publications continues to grow, PHOTOFAIRS is introducing a Publishing Program to its 2021 Shanghai-based fair. More details here. To celebrate the photobook and our first Publishing program in the fairs’ eight-year history, we’ve invited leaders in the photography and publishing industry to recommend their favourite titles. Throughout this article you’ll also find images illustrating visitors engaging with photobooks at the 2019 fair. 

The PHOTOFAIRS Publishing program welcomes galleries, publishers and dealers to submit applications to exhibit photography books, artist albums, exhibition books, and books relating to history, photography, video and new media.
 

CASE PUBLISHING 

What photobook in PRESENTS: The Photo Book, did you find the most thought-provoking? 

THE BLISS OF CONFORMITY 
Yingguang Guo 
La Maison de Z

‘Yingguan Guo’s humorous study of the mothers and fathers gathering in the People’s Park in Shanghai, armed with sheets of paper outlining name, date of birth, profession and photos of their children, trying to get them married, was one of the most enjoyable photobooks. 

‘Guo’s photography – taken using a spy camera – provides an understated documentation of the strange sense of ceremony behind the culture of matchmaking and arranged marriages in today’s China while simultaneously acting as a carefully crafted snapshot of societal expectations and stereotypes.’

What photobook (or any book related to the photographic language) are you currently reading?

20
Kikuji Kawada
Bookshop M

At 87 years of age, Japanese photographer Kikuji Kawada shows no signs of slowing down. Founding member of the influential VIVO group and internationally renowned for his photographic oeuvre, Kawada’s latest photobook “20” is composed of images originally uploaded by Kawada to his Instagram page between 2019 and 2020.

PARAGON BOOK GALLERY

What photobook from PRESENTS: The Photo Book would you want most in your collection? 

UEKI 
Yasuyuki Takagi
LibroArte 

This book is about the inconspicuous corners of super cities, manually planted vegetation. The book cover is amazingly powerful. It combines handcraft and industrial sense to fit the subject in the book. The reason why I am so impressed with this book is the artist's perspective in the urban area. The book recorded the disappearing greens under the compact pace of modernization. It may not only be the plants but also the urban residents who accompany it with aphasia.

What photobook are you currently reading?

THE SOVIET PHOTOBOOK: 1920-1941
Mikhail Karasik
Steidl 

The book has been carefully edited, designed and printed to ensure high-quality production standards. It includes 160 photographic collections from 1920-1941. More than 600 color images in the book clearly restore the scale and extent of Soviet visual production and outline the publishing of propaganda publications in the Soviet Union. As the author Mikhail Karaski said, in essence, this book is like a mirror reflecting the extraordinary times of the Soviet Union, telling the fascinating and heartbreaking memories of yesterday.

APRILSNOW PRESS

What photobook from our digital exhibition PRESENTS: The Photo Book would you want in your collection? 

SEASONAL ABANDONMENT OF IMAGINARY WORLDS 
Carine Thévenau
Self-published 

‘I have always been an admirer of rides in playgrounds, especially those made of metal in past years. They are themselves beautiful pieces of sculpture, and it'd be wonderful to 'own' them in the form of a book.' 
 

Can you suggest a photobook, or any book related to photographic language, to our audience? 

ROOTS OF SILENCE
Cho Se-hui
Youlhwadang 

Right now I'm working on a photobook which looks at 31 photobooks designed by book designer Chung Byoung-kyoo, who is often described as the first 'modern' book designer of Korea. Among the 31 photobooks, I’d pick Roots of Silence by novelist Cho Se-hui. It's a conceptually well edited and designed photobook published in 1985. 
 

IMAGELESS 

What photobook from our digital exhibition PRESENTS: The Photo Book appeals to you the most? 

ASH (NEW EDITION) 
Muge
Case Publishing
 
'I have the first edition of Ash by Muge. Compared with the previous version, this edition looks more like a book and is in the form of ladder pattern which makes a better division of the layers of the photography. With the same quality of Muge’s creation, the book is contracted as well as refined.'

 

Can you suggest a photobook, or any book related to photographic language, to our audience? 
 
THE STREET PHILOSOPHY OF GARRY WINOGRAND 
Jeff Dyer 
University of Texas Press
 
This is a photo book. The images are from Winogrand's street photos and the texts are from Jeff Dyer’s essays based on those photos. Jeff Dale is a writer but his interpretation of Winogrand's work is, I think, more accurate than many photographic critics.
 

 

JIAZAZHI 
 
What photobook from our digital exhibition PRESENTS: The Photo Book appeals to you the most? 

 
SYMPHONY - MUSHROOMS FROM THE FOREST
Takashi Homma
Case Publishing

We like how this book has its main subject and theme as mushrooms. Why do human beings get interested in this kind of charming plant? Perhaps, as John Cage said, "Because in the dictionary, mushrooms come right before music."
 

Can you suggest a photobook, or any book related to photographic language, to our audience?

QMKS
Zhang Zhizhou
JIAZAZHI 

'It's a book about self-doubt, self-denial, self-ridicule, and the search for the self. Probably many artists starting from photography have encountered this dilemma, some people were defeated by them, some people exceeded them. Zhang Zhizhou, on the other hand, faces them and makes them into works.'