A day late. Article first published as Book Review: Publish Your Photography Book by Darius D. Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson on Blogcritics.
Darius D. Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson do a great service to the lost and the semi-found in Publish Your Photography Book, issued by Princeton Architectural Press. After an introductory chapter on the histor of the photobook, the authors guide the photographer through each step in the process – from concept to marketing – of making a distinct product of your own. The cover of the book neatly immerses the reader in the world of publishing (and is a handy short-cut for cataloguers as well), listing the paper stock and printing specs of the very book is in your hand – and it will be in your hand if you are at all serious about getting your photography into the physical hands of your audience.
But how do you begin? What are the mechanics of the process? Who is your audience? Your questions are here answered in text-book precision in this tome – whether you are an aspiring Jason Fulford, whose wonderful, unique photobooks like Raising Frogs for $ $ $ and The Mushroom Collector have been printed in the limited runs of an art publisher; or an aspiring Anne Geddes, whose Geddes’ coffee-table books of infants in flowerpots and other horrors sell by the minivan-load. For those image makers with a more personal vision, but lacking in practical considerations, there is plenty to learn from these chapters, perhaps none more valuable than the closing case studies, which include illuminating interviews with the likes of Alec Soth and John Gossage, to pick two of he most consistent producers of thoughtful photobooks today. The one thing this book won’t give you is a concept. That is up to you – and me.