Understanding a Photobook: Case Publishing / shashasha | PHOTOFAIRS

Understanding a Photobook: Case Publishing / shashasha


Founded in 2015 with a focus on photography and contemporary art, Case Publishing made it its mission to expand the art book into a platform for an even richer variety of art forms. Established in 2012, shashasha is an online photobook collection aimed at making Japanese and Asian photography more accessible to a worldwide audience.We talk to the founder Nobuhiro Kobayashi to discover more. 

The term ‘photobook’ is recent. What is your definition of a photobook? 

The photobook as a medium of expression. Books continue to grow beyond their historic role as a medium for information. Especially in the field of photobooks, the concerted efforts of specialized experts with a shared set of values can lead to the production of books which go beyond merely reproducing original artworks. When all parts of a photobook’s publishing process are aligned, the resulting work can possess the potential to develop a new, sublime power of expression. 
Essentially it’s an artwork created by a collective of specialists – artists, editors, book designers and so on.

What is it about the photobook that appeals to you?

We’ve created and experienced photobooks in all their potential forms. From conventional photobooks as catalogues which reproduce works with minimal intervention to photobooks as books which allow photographers to express their vision without compromise. There are also photobooks as a form of collective expression, where artists and specialists from a diversity of fields – such as designers, printers, writers etc – work together to create an all-encompassing, new form of the book which surpasses individual expression.

What are your tips on how to 'read' a photobook? 

In the books creation, which really is a key factor in each works power of expression. This includes the design, editing, printing and bookbinding.

What makes a photobook work? 

I think a publishing company acts in a similar way to a director of a movie. It’s vital to select a team of people who understand the artwork in question and who share the common goal to create something together. That is how you can create books as a medium of expression.
I think it’s the mission of smaller publishing houses like ours to create opportunities that allow for new forms of expression. We aim to achieve that goal, together with our peers.

What's the one bit of advice you would give to artists looking to make a photobook? 

Rather than helping artists publish their books, I want to create books together with capable artists. That’s why – in addition to books by internationally known artists – I have also published many artists’ first ever books. I also do not have any limitations regarding genre.

Click here to read more about Case Publishing / shashasha in PRESENTS: The Photo Book