By Louis Perreault
A critical companion to the contemporary medium
Onomatopee, Eindhoven, Pays-Bas, 2021, 210 p.
Much has been written about the effervescence of the photobook as a medium since the early 2000s. The importance of books that retrace the history of the medium – celebrating the genre’s classics and encouraging the growth of a community of photobook devotees, be they artists, publishers, or collectors – has been much vaunted. Web-based gatherings have certainly contributed to the vigour of this community: Facebook groups, specialized websites, and a host of videos offering exhaustive presentations of books published worldwide incite artists to find creative ways to boost the desirability of their books in the hope that they will offer a springboard to an international career.
Although we occasionally hear a timid complaint that too many books are being published for the readership available, an optimistic atmosphere dictates that commitment to the medium be guided by openness, discussion, and an infatuation with printed things. Yet, after two dizzy- ing decades of passion for the photobook, might it not be time to examine its future? To do this, we would have to look critically and clearly at the state of affairs and better understand the dynamics acting upon a field that combines photographers’ artistic ambitions, publishers’ economic considerations, and the participation of the photobook in the broader context of the dissemination of arts and culture…
Translated by Käthe Roth
[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 120 – FIGURES OF AFFIRMATION ]
[ Complete article and more images, in digital version, available here: Matt Johnston, Photobooks & — Louis Perreault ]