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>>Recommended Reading

Hans Gremmen: ‘Peeling off the layers’ – Understanding the link between photobooks and design”

by Manik Katyal | Emaho Magazine | October 28, 2015

Emaho caught up with Hans in November, 2014 to have a conversation about his passion for the medium and everything regarding the photobook tradition and the contemporary photobook scene.

Dispatches: John DeMerritt

Shifter | April 16, 2015

John DeMerritt, bookbinder, interviewed by Dan Milnor, photographer-at-large at Blurb. (audio)

Robert Storr

An honest look at art criticism by Robert Storr on Yale radio.

Best Photobooks 2014

British Journal of Photography / January 2015

Martin Parr, Jeffrey Ladd, Gerry Badger, et al. select their favorite photobooks of 2014.

When Photographers Become Self-Publishing Companies

By Laurence Butet-Roch / TIME / December 4, 2014

An increasing number of photographers are bypassing traditional photo book publishers, setting up, instead, their own imprints.

The ‘Photobook’: What’s in a name?

By David Campany / The Photobook Review #7 / Winter 2014

The term ‘photobook’ is recent. It hardly appears in writings and discussions before the twenty-first century. This is surprising given that some of the various kinds of objects it purports to designate have been around since the 1840s. It seems that makers and audiences of photographic books did not require the term to exist. Indeed they might have benefitted from its absence. Perhaps photographic book making was so rich and varied precisely because it was not conceptualized as a practice with unified name. So does the advent of the term ‘photobook’ mark some kind of change?

The photobook according to Parr

By Colin Pantall / British Journal of Photography / June 2014

The transition from occasional buyer to obsessive collector began when Parr discovered his great passion: “I remember going to Japan in the early 1990s and being completely gobsmacked by the quality and standard of books, and I was amazed that these books were not known in the West. I couldn’t believe it because in the Japanese photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s, we had probably the greatest movement in photographic publishing, and indeed in photography, and it was entirely ignored more or less. [Former MoMA curator John] Szarkowski did a show of Japanese photography in the 1970s, but he didn’t really focus on the books, and the books are the thing. It’s exciting to suddenly find this mine of photographic publishing, which is phenomenal, that hasn’t been discovered or understood. That’s the excitement you feel.”

Interview with Stephen Gill

By Photobook Bristol / June 2014

What do you think of the rise in self-publishing? How has this changed the medium?
I am a bit out of touch really but I think, sadly, the book content seems to be getting left behind and have felt this for a few years. Perhaps we should forget about making books and make work and allow the books to make themselves. Many books made now seem dangerously to be with an audience in mind and playing to appetites and trends, becoming and moving like a swarm. Photography could be seen as looking a great deal at itself in recent years to the point where it’s getting close to imploding.

Photobooks can change your life: Q&A with Markus Schaden

By Evita Goze / May 16, 2014

Studio visit: Max Pinckers

By Kurt Snoekx | Agenda Magazine | May 2014

“Photograph books are doing well, better than ever in fact. The thing itself, as an object, is becoming very popular. And if you want to do it yourself and have the energy for it, I think self-publishing is a great choice. It is a lot of work, of course, but in return you have much more freedom than you would otherwise.”

‘Cannibalizing Photography’ and An Update on An Anthology: Photobooks on Found Photographs

By theloggingroad / Mirelle Thijsen / May 9, 2014

5 Reasons Why Indie Bookstores Are Perfect Models for American Small Businesses

By Jason Diamond / Flavorwire / Apr 15, 2014

Q&A with José Luís Neves on Photobooks

By Photobook Bristol

José Luís Neves is a Ph.D. researcher in Art & Design at the University of Ulster studying under the supervision of Professor Paul Seawright, Donovan Wylie and Professor Martin Parr. Before initiating his doctoral studies in Belfast he completed the Photographic History and Practice postgraduate programme at De Montfort University, in Leicester. Between 2010 and 2012 he worked at the Wilson Centre for Photography in London. His main areas of research since 2009 include the history and historiography of the photobook, materiality and the photobook, and visual narrative under book form. His doctoral research is focused on the impact of the emergence of the artist’s book upon photobook making since the 1960s.

More Photobook online resources

Compiled by kasseler foto forum. Includes the Indie Photobook Library.

Photobook online resources

Compiled by phot(o)lia. Includes the Indie Photobook Library.

Archived Talks from the Flash Forward Festival Boston 2014

Includes the panel “Publish your [Photo] Book” moderated by Elizabeth Avedon.

Photobook Diner in Tokyo

Self-published books to be sold through Amazon

By The Telegraph, UK / May 5, 2014

Photo books created using the online self-publishing platform, Blurb, will now be available to buy on Amazon.

Welcome to the Golden Age of DIY Photobooks

By Jack Crager / American Photo / April 15, 2014

New indie and self-publishing models are reshaping the way 
photographers create and market books.

101 Photo Industry Professionals to Follow on Twitter

By Alison Zavos / Featureshoot / 2014

Includes Larissa Leclair, Founder of the Indie Photobook Library. Twitter handle @LarissaLeclair.

Interview with Andrew Hammerand

By Josh Poehlein / In the In-Between / January 3, 2014

“With so much chatter lately about the use of surveillance technologies in photography today, and with one critic even referring to it as an emergent genre of image-making, Andrew Hammerand’s series “The New Town” both acknowledges and continues this conversation in new ways. Questions of privacy, responsibility and control take precedence through the images in this series, created via a remotely controlled surveillance camera that watches over a small and anonymous Midwestern township. The everyday banalities captured through Hammerand’s appropriated camera serve to depict not only casual moments in a token suburbia, but self-reflexive evidence of an unauthorized and voyeuristic venture into the life of the town’s population.”

Photobook Collecting in the Age of the Thousand-Dollar Zine

By Dan Abbe / American Photo / November 10, 2013

“Experienced collector Tom Claxton talks us through the boom, and explains how to put together a collection while keeping your feet on the ground.”

Take It From a Publishing Pro: The Photobook Format Is Up for Grabs

By Pete Brook, WIRED / 11.12.13

“In this Q&A, Martin explains how self-publishing is pushing everyone’s creativity for the better; which paper makes for a gorgeous book; how the shifting models for funding and distribution are changing how photobooks reach our shelves; and why photographers need to know their work. She also humors our question, “What’s your favorite photobook?” and wonders why photographers don’t put their names on front covers anymore.”

Ron Jude (interview)

by Mark Alice Durant

All about photobooks. This interview took place on September 22, 2013 on the steps of PS1 during the New York Art Book Fair.

2013 Paris Photo/Aperture Photobook Awards Shortlists

Сдать на хранение: Библиотеки фотокниг (Photobook Libraries)

by Anastasia Bogomolova | October 2013

Text in Russian. Highlights the Indie Photobook Library, APPA, The Library Project, SPBH and others around the world.

Jim Reed on The LBM Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers

photo-eye, September 10, 2013

“One of the fifteen selected was photographer and book maker Jim Reed of Easter Trouble Press. It’s no surprise that Reed made the cut. His beautifully executed book Working Memory was selected as a photo-eye Best Book in 2012 and was quick to sell out. Presenting images and documents in an unconventional form that replicated his subject’s personal filing system, Reed’s book told its story through image and design that continued through to the physicality of the object. A perfect pairing of subject and form, Working Memory integrated intimacy and fragility into the handmade book.”

Photography Is the New Universal Language, and It’s Changing Everything

By Pete Brook, 08.20.13

“For his book Photography Changes Everything, Marvin Heiferman spoke to experts in 3-D graphics, neurobiology, online dating, the commercial flower industry, global terrorism, giant pandas, and snowflake structure to understand the infinite ways imagery affects our everyday lives. John Waters and Hugh Hefner contributed essays for the book, as well as a 10-year-old child.

The book synthesizes the obvious yet subconscious truth that photography has leapt up several meta levels from its traditional definition as a hobby or career. It’s a universal language.”

Interview: Manfred Heiting by Jeff Dunas

La Journal de la Photographie

“There is no way to encompass Manfred Heiting in a short, punchy interview – each session is nearly inexhaustible and opens door after door which the engaged journalist must carefully select. I’ve tried to open the principal doors – his early years, his years at Polaroid, the genesis of his renowned collection of photographs, his new obsession of assembling his second world class collection (photo-books) and though not a door like the others, his valuable philosophy and ideas on a broad range of related subjects.”

The Sochi Project & its publications

the logging road / March 11, 2013

Speaking with graphic designer Jeroen Kummer (Kummer & Herrman) about his pivotal role in The Sochi Project and the latest yearbook The Secret History of Khava Gaisanova and the North Caucasus.

The Camera Around Your Neck

Foam Magazine / July 13, 2012

Seba Kurtis and Mishka Henner talk about self-publishing and appropriation.

Conceptual Inspiration, by the Book: Ed Ruscha at Gagosian

by Carol Vogel / The New York Times / February 28, 2013

The artist Ed Ruscha was standing in the middle of Gagosian’s 24th Street gallery in Chelsea on a cool fall day, surrounded by paintings of books he has created over many decades. There were canvases that mimicked old tomes he found in flea markets and secondhand shops, and paintings of marbleized endpapers. There were renderings of open books more than 10 feet long with blank sheets of paper, ravaged with wormholes and water stains. “They’re a bit ominous,” he said, perhaps because of what many believe is the inevitable end of the printed word.

Photography, Narrative and the Book with Christian Patterson

by Blank Paper

Great photo books do things that other mediums cannot do. They pull you in. They make you touch and turn their pages. They tell you stories, often in a beautifully fragmentary way. They take you to other places, internally. They hold and store all of these things inside. They keep you coming back for more. They’re different every time. They’re intimate and personal, but their distribution offers a different kind of wider, shared experience.

Indie Photo Books of the Year: Part 1

by Larissa Leclair / PDN / November 20, 2012

As part of our look at “Notable Photo Books of 2012,” we asked Larissa Leclair, founder of Indie Photobook Library, an archive of photo books by self- and independent publishers, to select a list of ten notable indie photo books published this year.

Indie Photo Books of the Year: Part 2

by Larissa Leclair / PDN / December 12, 2012

The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books

by BuzzFeed

A Conversation with Cristina De Middel

by Pat Padua / Lay Flat

Cristina De Middel, born in Spain, earned her MFA at the University of Valencia and received her MA in Photography from the University of Oklahoma, but her real training came as a photojournalist. Her first book, The Afronauts (Self-published, 2012), has received critical acclaim and was named by many as one of the “Best Photobooks of 2012.”

Looking for the Magic: 12 books (and then some) by Ofer Wolberger

Interview by Christopher Gianunzio / ahorn magazine

I have begun to see the book form as a very efficient and democratic transmitter of ideas and experiments. Exhibitions are great too and can do similar things but the fact that you can take the ideas home with you in your hands is pretty powerful. An exhibition lasts for a finite period of time, while a book can theoretically last forever.

Intrinsically Absent, Irremediably Intangible: Reflections on found photographs and Melissa Catanese’s “Dive Dark Dream Slow”

Text by Anya Jasbar / ahorn magazine

Melissa Catanese, with her assemblage, creates a leap into our subconscious and touches us profoundly. The images selected generate an initial path for our thoughts, but they leave enough space also for our imagination. We are forced (like in the well done literary compositions) to fill the gap between the disclosed and the unrevealed. We want to fill up the empty spaces between the concrete and knowable (the images of men and women that we recognize as actual men and women of a specific period of time) and the infinite unknowable (the power of a past that we don’t know and the quality of photographs as something that is intrinsically absent and irremediably intangible).

Interview with: Christian Patterson

by Daniel Augschöll and Anya Jasbar / ahorn magazine

Oddly enough, I feel that all of my detective work brought more mystery back into the story. Not everything in Redheaded Peckerwood is what it may seem. What may appear to be old may be new. What may appear to be fact may (in fact) be fiction. There is a general system of visual rules to the book, but there are exceptions to every rule,…

A teaching treasure trove

by Colleen Walsh, Harvard Gazette / February 21, 2013

Art Museums’ renovated facility will encourage contact with collections….“What we really wanted to do was get the students kind of behind the scenes … to touch and handle things and engage with them in a way that they could do much, much better in person than they could just standing in a gallery,” said Smail.

Ron Jude 2010 Photo-Bookworks Symposium

by Visual Studies Workshop

[VIDEO] Ron Jude, of A-Jump Books, speaks at the 2010 VSW Photo-Bookworks Symposium.

An Interview with Matej Sitar

by Books Are Nice blog

“America My Way” is Majet Sitar’s new photo book, in which he documents his journey across North America. Traveling over 15,000 miles, Matej experienced the vast American lands like most natives don’t get a chance to. [Books Are Nice] had the opportunity to talk to Matej about his new book, Polaroids, traveling, and off-course self-publishing.

Dashwood Books: A Curated Bookstore

by Greg Pond / / February 11, 2013

Dashwood Books is the city’s [NYC] only “curated” visual bookstore. Within this teensy, crammed shop, located on Bond Street, owner David Strettell is unassumingly promoting the work of some of the most radical photographers and visual artists of our time.

Changing Channels

by Paperweight / Christopher Schreck / February 12, 2013

To gain a better sense of how art books are making their way to readers, [Schreck] solicited insight from a few favorite publishers: Shelter Press, Gottlund Verlag, Editions FP & CF, Hassla Books, and Pau Wau Publications. While each stressed the crucial role of the internet in facilitating sales and cost-effective distribution, they also spoke to the continued importance of traditional modes of dissemination, such as international distributors, book fairs, and bookstores as means of gaining legitimacy, promoting strategically, and maintaining a presence within their given communities.

Cristina de Middel’s presentation – Widephoto

by meeatings23

Video – Cristina de Middel’s presentation at Meaatings23. This introduction to her work was the beginning of the workshop that de Middel gave at Widephoto workshops programme. Barcelona, 18-01-2013. She talks about how her point of view on photography has changed throughout her career and the steps that brought her to self-publish “The Afronauts”.

Photobook Series #2: A Panel Discussion on Photobook Publishing

by photo-eye

Video of panel with Director of Twin Palms Publishers Maggie Blanchard, photo-eye Book Division Manager Melanie McWhorter and photographer Alexandra Huddleston. The discussion was moderated by Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Making An Artist Book Is As Simple As ABC: An Interview With Andreas Schmidt

Blurberati Blog / October 31, 2012

London-based artist and photographer Andreas Schmidt is a prolific and, by his own admission, disruptive photo book maker. He’s a member of the ABC Artists’ Book Cooperative and in the last four years has created 70 Blurb books. With such a back catalogue and wealth of experience, Schmidt is a great interview subject and we were keen to find out more about his work and his attraction to print-on-demand photo books…

Eileen Gittins speaks at Luminance 2012


Video of Eileen Gittins, CEO of Blurb, talking about Blurb and self-publishing.

Interview with Pierre Bessard, Part 1

by Melanie McWhorter / November 6, 2012

Editions Bessard has published over thirteen books including monographs by Bessard, Max Pam, Wang Quingsong, Xu Yong (out of print) and in the Zine Collection series, the works of Claire Martin (out of print), Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Zhu Mo and Max Pam.

LENSCRATCH: Larissa Leclair and the Indie Photobook Library

by Aline Smithson / September 12, 2012

A couple of years ago, I started hearing the buzz about the indie Photobook Library, created by Larissa Leclair. I first saw the library at the Photolucida Portfolio Review last year, where Larissa had set up shop on the second floor of the Benson Hotel. I visited the library again this spring at the Flash Forward Festival in Boston, where I had more time to absorb the profound importance of this very special collection, and was not only excited by what I was seeing, but was inspired to start creating my own “indie” books, three of which were recently submitted to the library.

An Interview with Arthur Tress

by Bluberati Blog / July 2, 2012

The books take these orphaned or even forgotten-about projects and give them another more permanent life. And the affordability of the well-printed Blurb book makes it an ideal vehicle for book experimentation in format, sequence and design. My books “Barcelona Unfolds” and “Miami Unfolds” take the very simple idea of DIY gatefolds to create a whole new concept of what is possible in the online book experience and I hope others take up the challenge.

Five questions to Matt Johnston of The Photobook Club

by Martin Brink / The Digital Photobook / Sept 3, 2012

The goal [of the Photobook Club] is to create a space for people to share their thoughts on photobooks as well as to promote the physical book and experience of looking/reading in itself. That space lives online at the where we choose individual books to look at over a given month and invite others to add their thoughts, but it also lives in the physical world as book clubs.

Essays on the Photobook


Title: Photography and The Artist’s Book
Editors: Theresa Wilkie, Jonathan Carson, Rosie Miller
ISBN: 978-1-907697-50-0 [paperback] | 978-1-907697-51-7 [hardback]
Pages: 350
Price: £34.95 [paperback] | £64.95 [hardback]
Order from the publisher (UK) and for more info: MuseumsEtc
Order through Amazon (USA)

Publication contents
1. Introduction
The Development of Photography and Artists’ Books: Exploring Manchester Metropolitan University’s Artist’s Book Collection
Jane Pendlebury, MMU Special Collections
Theresa Wilkie, University of Salford

2. The Photographic Essay, Photographic Novel and other Narrative Forms
Imaginary Shadows: Fictional Documentary Photography in Artists’ Books
Sarah Bodman
Book Arts, University of the West of England

Artists and Albums
Logan Sisley
Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

Photographs, Notebooks, Interiority: Francesca Woodman’s Artist’s Books
Jane Simon
Macquarie University, Australia

Book, Exhibition, Lecture: Revisiting Catharsis: Images of Post-Conflict Belfast 2008-12
Angela Kelly
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

Artist Photo Books: Photo Books — Artist Books
Sylvia Borda

3. Sequence, Seriality and Typology
Space-Time-Fragment: Conceptual Documentary Photography in the Artist’s Book as a Tool of Analysis
Elizabeth Neudörfl
Folkwang University, Essen, Germany

Pictures of Things and Things that are Pictures: Artistic Research and its Document as Artist’s Book
David Penny
MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University

4. Audience: Zines, Multiples and Limited Editions
Reinstating Touch in the Documentary Photobook
Tim Daly
University of Chester

PPP: Preston, Paris, Process
Adam Murray, University of Central Lancashire & Preston is my Paris
Diane Smyth, British Journal of Photography

Print/Screen: Current and Future Dissemination of the Self-Published Artists’ Book
Adam Verity
University of Lincoln

A Memory of a Memory
Lawrence Giles
University of Salford

Hot off the press: The newsprint as a medium for photographers

by Olivier Laurent / BJP / July 18, 2012

Newsprint is increasingly popular among photographers, offering a cheap and effective way to publish a story, while reaching a larger audience. Olivier Laurent speaks with photographers who have embraced the medium.

PBN 2011 Juror Interview with Larissa Leclair

by Blurberati Blog / June 27, 2011

The most memorable books are the ones in which I forget about myself for a moment, lose track of my surroundings, and enter into the reality in the photographs. And from that response, it may seem that the book form is of no importance, but it is. The form and materials should aid in experiencing the work.

Part 2: Thoughts on Photobooks 2011

by Darius Himes / June 13, 2011

In my previous post, I outlined some specific thoughts related to the Photography Book Now competition as it enters it’s 4th year. There’s $25k up for grabs for the best in self-published photography books.

Beyond that, I hinted at the “extremely rich moment” we are witnessing in the history of photography and books. Unparalleled resources and tools are available for artistic expression and the possibilities for distribution, primarily of self-published books, are growing. I want to mention these a bit more in-depth.

Interview: Myles Haselhorst of Ampersand Vintage in Portland, OR

by Douglas Stockdale / The PhotoBook / June 17, 2011

The sheer abundance of photographic books being made is remarkable. As a buyer for a store, it’s difficult keeping up with everything that is available. I’m sure collectors face the same problem—making sense of what & what not to buy, especially when edition numbers are often low & certain books sell quickly. That’s why online resources such as yours, Jeffrey Ladd’s blog and The Indie Photobook Library are so important.

Interview: Alan Rapp on Getting Your Photography Book Published

by Reuel Golden / The Photoletariat / September 7, 2010

Alan Rapp works with authors, visual artists, photographers, and designers developing books and other projects. As the editor overseeing the art, architecture, design, and photography lists of the San Francisco publisher Chronicle Books, Alan Rapp acquired and developed more than 100 titles over the course of ten years, collaborating with such artists as David Maisel, legendary music photographer Jim Marshall, Elinor Carucci, and Justin Guariglia. Based in Brooklyn, Rapp is a frequent panelist, portfolio reviewer, workshop leader, and lecturer. He discusses the appeal of photography books and offers advice on what you need to do.

Q&A: Lisa Naftolin talks with Hassla

on The Photography Post / August 20, 2010

David Schoerner launched Hassla Books in January of 2007. The independent publishing company has released 14 titles to date with another handful in the works.

Newsprint and the Contemporary Photobook / Part 3 : John Gossage, Michael Mazzeo and Erik van der Weijde

by Melanie McWhorter / July 24, 2010

Addendum and Follow up

Newsprint and the Contemporary Photobook / Part 2: Nicholas Gottlund and Grant Willing

by Melanie McWhorter / July 19, 2010

Newsprint and the Contemporary Photobook / Part 1: Alec Soth and Andrew Roth

by Melanie McWhorter / July 16, 2010

INTERVIEW: Blurb CEO on the future of books

by Jasper Jackson / / July 12, 2010

Eileen Gittins, the CEO of bespoke book-publishing firm Blurb, talks e-books, new publishing models and the iPad.

Publishing in your hands

Andy Adams, David Bram, Darius Himes, Melanie McWhorter / Fraction Magazine / June 30, 2010

At the end of last year (2009) Miki Johnson and Andy Adams coordinated a “cross-blog” discussion about the future of photography books. Over forty bloggers participated with a range of amateur and professional voices piping in and adding their thoughts to the mix. The interest in the subject of photobooks* has continued unabated and various fairs devoted to the Photobook are popping up around the world.** With the 3rd annual Photography Book Now contest deadline fast approaching (sponsored by Blurb and featuring a whopping $25,000 grand prize), a few of us that love photobooks thought we would initiate another online discussion about self-publishing—where we’ve come in the last few years in terms of perception, creativity and technology.

Photographer Stephen Gill: the devil in the detail

by Tamsin Blanchard / / June 14, 2010

The photographer Stephen Gill ensures his pictures are shown in the best possible light – in his own handmade books.

Gerry Badger and John Gossage Podcast

by the Aperture Foundation

“Welcome to the Gerry and John show” Aperture editor Denise Wolff stated in her introduction to Gerry Badger and John Gossage’s recent conversation at Aperture Foundation. Both Badger and Gossage have each been in the field of fine art photography for over thirty years and established acclaimed careers. Gerry Badger as a critic and author whom has written for dozens of periodicals and coauthored with Martin Parr The Photobook: A History, Volumes I and II, and John Gossage as a photographer with seventeen published photo books and work in several public collections. They also happen to be old friends. Take a listen to this podcast of Badger and Gossage discussing The Pleasures of Good Photographs.

The Photo Book Will Rise Again

by Alan Rapp / Imprint

Interview: Elizabeth Fleming

by Larissa Leclair / January 8, 2010

An interview with Elizabeth Fleming about using MagCloud and Blurb to publish her own magazine and book.

Future of Photobooks: a crowd-sourced discussion

by Miki Johnson (RESOLVE) and Andy Adams (Flak Photo) / December 8, 2009

What do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years? Will they be digital or physical? Open-source or proprietary? Will they be read on a Kindle or an iPhone? And what aesthetic innovations will have transformed them?

Make sure to check out contributions by Darius Himes, Alan Rapp, Miki and Andy continuing the discussion, and the fantastic summation.

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iPL moves to Yale

iPL Yale

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University recently received, through acquisition and donation, the Indie Photobook Library (iPL), a major collection of photobooks from Larissa Leclair ’03 M.A. The collection includes more than 2,000 photobooks from around the world along with related ephemera, archives of the iPL’s history, and Leclair’s personal collection related to self-publishing.

“We were delighted to work with Larissa to acquire this major archive,” says George Miles, Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana at the Beinecke. “These volumes build on an already great strength of the library and will surely be used extensively by scholars and students at Yale and beyond for a long time.”

The iPL focuses on self-published photobooks, imprints independently published and distributed, photography exhibition catalogs, print-on-demand photobooks, artists’ books, zines, photobooks printed on newsprint, limited edition photobooks, non-English language photography books, and more.

“This collection reflects a contemporary movement in publishing,” explains Leclair, who began collecting independently produced photobooks in May 2010, “and it allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted years, decades, and centuries to come. To have this work now at Yale ensures this legacy.”
Inspired by Wexler’s master class

The catalyst for her collection, Leclair notes, was Yale professor Laura Wexler’s “Photo Memory Workshop” master class at the Beinecke, which focused on Peter Palmquist’s Women in Photography Archive. “He had and his collection will continue to have a big impact on the history of photography specifically relating to women in photography,” said the alumna. “He was one individual collecting independently of an institution, making an impact and shaping history. What he had encapsulated for his collection was what I wanted to do for self-published photobooks.”

“As early as 2005, with photographers Stephen Gill, Rob Hornstra, Jason Fulford, and Alec Soth independently publishing amazing photobooks, there wasn’t a platform for the presentation of self-published titles. So the idea of wishing for a central place to look at self-published photobooks was in my head on the day I saw Peter Palmquist’s collection,” notes Leclair.

The moment spurred her own specific collecting, she says: “I was blown away that a single individual could follow his passion, create a collection, and in the process have an impact on the history of photography. I was not only interested in promoting these kinds of books but most importantly I was very interested in creating an archive for the long-term. So two weeks after that master class, with an idea, one book, and a Facebook page, I founded the indie Photobook Library, a browse-able archive for self-published photobooks.”

For Leclair, placing the iPL at the Beinecke fulfills an aspiration she had from the very beginning. “I always intended that the iPL would one day transfer to an established archive. I wanted it to be preserved and accessible to future photo-bibliophiles long after my lifetime. For the legacy of the photographers and photobooks that collectively make the iPL what it is, I am absolutely thrilled that these artists will be part of the Beinecke’s collecting history.”

[Yale Professor Laura Wexler presented the Larissa Leclair with the 9th Annual Focus Awards’ Spotlight Award for far reaching impact in the field of photography, October 2014. (Copyright Griffin Museum of Photography)]

Yale Professor Laura Wexler presented the Larissa Leclair with the 9th Annual Focus Awards’ Spotlight Award for far reaching impact in the field of photography, October 2014. (Copyright Griffin Museum of Photography)
The Beinecke has an renowned collection of 19th century American photographically illustrated books, including such classics as Alexander Gardner’s “Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War,” A.J. Russell’s “Great West Illustrated,” Josiah Whitney & Carleton Watkins’ “The Yosemite Book,” and Ferdinand Hayden’s “Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery,” as well as dozens of other, less well-known examples of the genre.

In the 1920s and 1930s photobooks continued to be a form of artistic expression but also emerged as a major vehicle of social commentary and criticism. The Beinecke holds first editions of such artistic works as Ansel Adams’ “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierra” and Taos Pueblo,” Walker Evans’s “American Photographs,” and Paul Strand’s “Paul Strand.” The Beinecke also boasts a wide range of such politically charged books as Julia Peterkin and Doris Ulman’s collaboration, “Roll Jordan Roll”; James Agee and Walker Evans’ “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” and “Many are Called”; and Evans’s collaboration with Carleton Beals “The Crime of Cuba.” Yale’s library also holds first editions of all the important Farm Security Administration related books featuring work by Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White among other photographers.

“Robert Franks’ ‘The Americans’ is often seen as ushering in a new kind of photobook,” Miles observes. “We at the Beinecke have both the French (1958) and American (1959) first editions, as well as a complete collection of every book in which Lee Friedlander has ever published a photograph, while the acquisition of Peter Palmquist’s collection of women photographers brought more than 2,200 photobooks by and about women photographers.”

The iPL is particularly interesting in its own right, according to Miles. “While photobooks became more economical with the emergence of photo mechanical reproduction in the 19th century, they still required considerable investment and with the exception of a few very high-end artistic productions, they were commercial ventures that relied on publishers to underwrite production in the hope/expectation of profitable sales.”

However, the early 21st century emergence of digital photography and ink-jet printing dramatically changed the landscape for photographers looking to present their work in book-form. “Photographers can now self-publish their work in ways unimaginable 15 to 20 years ago,” he emphasizes. “They can distribute them through their websites and book fairs. This has allowed photographers to experiment in content and in form: to share images that commercial publishers might have been reluctant to take on, or to play with sequencing and/or narrative strategies.”

Leclair recognized the potential of this transformation when it was in its infancy and cultivated relationships with photographers. She has been a leader in creating this independent archive and identifying artists important to the contemporary movement in self-publishing, all while curating exhibitions and lecturing throughout the United States and in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines, and China. The alumna has built an “extraordinarily complete” collection of these books, according to Miles. “The staff at Haas Arts Library and I have been following and collecting photobooks, and when Larissa first approached us, I thought we would have at least half, if not more, of the books in her collection. I was way off. Our searching revealed that we had only around 10% of the collection.”

“Larissa started collecting this material at a critical time, when photographers started to reconsider and experiment with the printed book format through self-publishing,” notes Heather Gendron, director of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale. “A lot of these publications fall outside of typical library acquisition streams, making it a real challenge for librarians to keep up. That’s what makes this Indie Photobook Library so special. On the heels of the reopening of the Beinecke, this broadens the university’s holdings in a very contemporary way.”
“Essential records of human expression”

Miles says that the Beinecke’s growing collection of photobooks, including this new acquisition, complement important creative work across campus collections, such as the Arts Library and galleries, and the curriculum. “These materials in the Indie Photobook Library/Larissa Leclair Collection are essential records of human expression,” he notes, “and the Beinecke works to make sure they are accessible and used by students and scholars through our reading room, classroom visits, and our fellowship programs for graduate students and for visiting postdoctoral scholars.”

Barbara Tannenbaum, curator of photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art has described the Indie Photobook Library as “an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the contemporary photobook.”

The iPL also complements other collections at Yale, Miles adds. “One of the great strengths of the Yale Collection of American Literature are the many examples of poetry and short stories published by small, non-commercial presses throughout the country — ‘Little magazines’ as Pat Willis and Nancy Kuhl call them. They reflect the ways in which American writers have found to share their work. The photobooks in the iPL reflect a similar pattern in the visual arts and scholars will be able to explore and discover how these materials speak to each other and speak to the broader culture.”

Leclair says that the iPL inspired the creation of other independent photobook archives, including the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive; influenced museum photobook exhibitions; and spawned the promotion and celebration of self-published photobooks. “I’m thrilled that the photographers in the iPL who challenged and subsequently shaped the current publishing industry will add to the continuum of printed expression at Yale along with cuneiform tablets, the Gutenberg Bible, Fox Talbot’s ‘Pencil of Nature,’ and works by Robert Frank and Ed Ruscha — adding to that Soth, Fulford, Fujii, de Middel, Galjaard, Cartegena, and Sancari, among many others,” she says.

With the iPL now part of the Beinecke collections, Leclair will promote its use with the library’s curators and collaborate on curriculum. The entity of the iPL is closed to submissions now, existing as a unique look at self-publishing from around 2008 to 2016. Leclair will continue to look at new titles and work directly with museums and libraries to collect self-published titles from around the world, directly connecting collectors and makers and shaping photobook history.

“Ahead of her time, Larissa’s farsighted vision will benefit future generations of photographers and scholars to come,” states Elizabeth Avedon, independent curator and photobook designer.

For more information on the Beinecke Library, visit:

Exhibition Catalog for “A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks”

More about the exhibition here, here and here.
Order the book here.
Thank you to Patrick Aguilar of Owl & Tiger Books who did such an outstanding job designing the iPL’s first exhibition catalog!

“…the Indie Photobook Library is fast becoming one of Washington’s more interesting small collections.” – Mark Jenkins, Washington Post Express, November 9, 2011

America in Color

America in Color

Title: America in Color

Photographer/s: Brian Dailey

Contributor/s: Wendy Grossman, Klaus Ottmann

Date of publication: 2013



Title: Grìmsey

Photographer/s: Cole Barash

Contributor/s: Ian Frisch

Date of publication: 2015

Grays the Mountain Sends (Second Edition)

Grays the Mountain Sends 2

Title: Grays the Mountain Sends (Second Edition)

Photographer/s: Bryan Schutmaat

Date of publication: 2014

Islands of the Blest

Islands of the Blest

Title: Islands of the Blest

Photographer/s: various

Date of publication: 2014

L.A., 1971

LA 1971

Title: L.A., 1971

Photographer/s: Anthony Hernandez

Date of publication: 2014


Title: Transmission

Photographer/s: Lucy Helton

Date of publication: 2015




Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Andy Adams, David Campbell, Charlotte Cotton, Donall Curtin & Nathaniel Pitt, Mishka Henner, Francis Hodgson, Dewi Lewis, Stephen Mayes, Katrina Sluis

Date of publication: 2014



Title: Crash

Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Foreword: Stephen Snoddy and Stephen Dutton Essay: Jean Baird

Date of publication: July 2009



Title: (re)collect

Photographer/s: Jonathan Shaw

Contributor/s: Foreword: Debra Klomp, Essay: Peter Ride, Essay: Jean Baird

Date of publication: 2006