“ Photo Books Today” Symposium and Codex Book Fair in SF

Today I would like to share my trip to San Francisco in early February. I went there with Sangyon Joo of Datz press to attend two events: Photo Alliance’s Symposium and Codex Book Fair. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.44.41 PMPhoto Alliance Symposium: Photo Books Today at San Francisco Art Institute (Feb 7, 2015) Photo Alliance was founded by Linda Connor in 2002 and is a non-profit organization that caters the Bay Area photo community. For the symposium, speakers ranged from artist to designer to printer to publisher and discussed photo books from different perspectives. Below, I will share some of my notes that made me think about what constitutes “photo book.” San Francisco Art InstitePresenter: Tate Shaw

  • Monograph vs. Photo-book work
  • Photographer – Designer (50-50)
  • Most photo books are catalogs.
  • Idea + Images + Form => Book (is a piece).
  • Lavalette / Links

Presenter: Eileen Gittins (CEO, Blurb)

  • Photo book = Memory & Artifacts.
  • Photo book has Weight.
  • Print = Slow Food.

Presenter: Robert Aufuldish (graphic designer)

  • Designer can bring fresh eyes.
  • You may not need a designer but you do need design. Design creates context for your work.

Presenter: Philip Zimmermann

  • Phonebook work is not portfolio.
  • It is a time-based, intimate medium that creates an expressive dialogue between the artist-photographer and the viewer and uses the codex form intelligently.

Round table discussion:

  • Carrion said, “Book is sequence of spaces.”
  • What books are, what they can be, what they can do?

It was a fruitful day at San Francisco Art Institute. The enthusiasm for photo books were overwhelming. There are so many resources for bookmaking in the Bay Area and people are investing and engaging with books. SF Art Institute offers several bookmaking classes and the school’s library has incredible collection of photo books. Unfortunately library is open for current students of SF Art Institite. Codex Book Fair at Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA (Feb 8-11, 2015) Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.46.17 PMCodex Book Fair is a biennial fair (fifth this year) which focuses on fine press. With more than 200 exhibitors from around the world, Codex Book Fair sets itself apart from other fine press book fairs. At most tables, one can find an extreme level of craftsmanship in bookmaking. Text in books is often done using letterpress, a tedious and time consuming process. Its symposium got sold out way before the event date. The popularity of book art is only increasing each year. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.47.06 PM Since the fair was filled with highly crafted books, minimal and conceptual German artist, Veronica Schaters stood out. Her approach was completely different from one book to another. She put a lot of effort into finding the perfect material to realize her concept. It seemed that her 15-year stay in Japan helped her to combine eastern and western approaches in bookmaking.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.48.20 PM

Veronica Schaters (VSBOOKART)

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.50.47 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.50.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.51.10 PM   Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.51.24 PM Some photographic works in the fair:Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.51.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.51.39 PM Bookmaking Suppliers Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.52.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.52.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.57.21 PM At the end of three days, an unexpected treat was a visit to Muir Woods National Monument where I encountered ancient redwoods. It was perfect ending after seeing a lot of books.

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