The photographer, the publisher, and the photographer’s book

The photographic monograph has always been an important vehicle for the expression of authorship and vision. But despite the potential wide reach of books and the supposed ubiquity of printing, the fact remains that for photographers wanting to publish their work in book form, the costs invariably far outweigh the returns, at least in commercial terms. Unlike the “The Photobook” volumes by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, which celebrate the book as an art object, my essay was concerned with the pragmatics of publishing, especially in the UK. Based on interviews with photographers and publishers currently active in Britain, both commercial and “fine art”, the discussion tried to set out some of the considerations which might be useful to a photographer wanting to get a book produced and distributed. The essay dates from 2002, so some of the principles and players mentioned have changed considerably, and the world of on-demand printing through Blurb and other services has transformed the landscape. So this essay should be read as a snapshot of a particular time.

To access a PDF copy of the essay click here: publishing essay

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