Siyuan Shen is an artist living in Beijing who works with video, graphics and text. Before turning to his personal practice, he was the Photo Director at For Him magazine and Harper's Bazaar China, and had worked at several other reputable Chinese media outlets. He exhibits his latest photobook Baby Flower in our online program PRESENTS: The Photo Book. Seeing the most appealing aspect of the photobook as an antidote to our digitally led world, Shen sees books as ‘offline folders for photography.’ He tells us more in the latest Understanding a Photobook.
How do you define a photobook?
Photobooks are the offline folders of photography which invites people to hold and look through.
Photobooks offer something other mediums cannot.
What are your tips on how to 'read' a photobook?
To stay focused. If possible, every book should be read in one session.
What makes a photobook work?
For it to set itself apart from the majority - it needs to have something which can’t be easily found in other books.
Do you think there’s a specific style in China for photobooks or do you think everything is globalized?
There is something very unique about Chinese photobooks, for example there is a photobook created in the shape of a cigarette case, this is really Chinese in its style.
What advice would you give to artists looking to make a photobook?
To communicate with other creatives so together we can make more photography books. It’s important to collaborate with people outside of the creative sectors to help boost sales.