Understanding a Photobook: COCA / Jianyong Dai | PHOTOFAIRS

Understanding a Photobook: COCA / Jianyong Dai


Chinese photographer Jianyong Dai (COCA) has enjoyed successes in the field, including being named the finalist of Three Shadows Photography Award and having work shown at the Jimei x Arles photography festival. His works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai and in Japan’s Contemporary Art Museum. In our online exhibition PRESENTS: THe Photo Book we exhibit five of his most critically acclaimed titles. 

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

A photobook is a selection of images that can be flipped through.

What is it about the book form that appeals to you?

While we’re used to reading and flipping through books, a photobook is more than just a book - it’s a creative, artful statement made out of paper. I find there are a lot of parallels between photobooks and exhibitions. 

For someone unfamiliar with the photobook genre, what are your tips on how to 'read' a photobook? 

Look through the pages slowly and read each image carefully. It will enable you to feel how good the work is when taking your time over it. 

Do you think there is a specific style in China for photobooks?

Photobooks come in so many different variations so I really don’t think there’s such a thing as a Chinese style. 

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

If you make a photobook, make sure it stands apart from the majority otherwise it’ll just be one more photobook in this world. 

Click here to see more about COCA / Jianyong Dai in PRESENTS: The Photo Book