Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Future of Photobooks: A Cross-Blog Discussion

Andy Adams, of FlakPhoto, and Miki Johnson, of LiveBooks blog RESOLVE, have partnered up to organize a huge communal blog discussion on the future of Photo Books.

Spurred by a feature on FlakPhoto highlighting the winners of Blurb’s Photography.Book.Now contest, RESOLVE, a collaborative online community that brings together photographers and creative professionals, teamed up with Andy Adams to build a month-long cross-blog discussion around the Future of Photobooks. You can read all about it HERE and view contributing Photo Blog posts and add your own opinion. So far nearly 50 bloggers have contributed posts with their thoughts and RESOLVE has published numerous collections of innovative links and ideas; and, last week they launched three real-time blogger-moderated comment conversations that you can see here.

Copyright Miki Johnson, RESOLVE
Photo Copyright Miki Johnson

No one can deny that there are seismic shifts happening in the publishing industry right now. Between digital readers like the Kindle, print-on-demand publishers like Blurb (I've used Blurb for my own photobook and I contributed to a book produced by a collective of female photographers also published via Blurb) and the rumored Apple tablet computer, there are a lot of questions right now about what exactly a book will be in the future — especially photobooks.

What do I think Photo Books will look like in ten years? I can't predict the future but considering how fast technology is evolving, I think we can't begin to imagine the form they will take...but I do think that we will be the ones who determine it. In all my clicking around and reading on the topic, I came across this other post that pretty much sums up my view...

The fact is, we are the ones who will decide. There are certain blog-savvy leaders from small publishing houses, like Darius Himes of Radius and Lesley Martin of Aperture who are leaders in the industry and who will be the blueprint for others. There are ambitious photographers who have taken publishing into their own hands and who will no doubt continue to do so. Ten years ago no one knew what a blog even was and the idea of self-publishing was non-existent. Finally, there are consumers. Those of us who read blogs and love art who will create the market for these books. And you and me and anyone else out there who might be inspired by the ideas expressed here and start the next big thing that revolutionizes the photobook industry.

I will never stop buying photobooks (or any kind of book) no matter who publishes them. I love collecting them and seeing them on my coffee table and my bookshelf. I like to study my growing collection of photobooks and I don't understand the appeal of reading a book on the Kindle. I love holding a book in my hands no matter how heavy it is. I love the smell of books and I like to remember when and where I bought them...they all have their own stories. And, there is nothing like looking at a photograph (or any artwork) on paper (or canvas or whatever). I like to hold it up to the light, look at it in my hands or up on a wall - looking at something on my computer screen is fine as a first look but I need to make it last.

I hear that these folks are eager to discover new kinds of creative collaboration within the photoblogosphere and I'm pretty certain that this will provide an opportunity for the online community to collectively learn more about the future of photography.

What do you think about the future of photobooks? And, what do you think about the creation of this online dialogue? You can leave comments here or head over to the discussion to opine or read what others are saying.

Today's Soundtrack:
The Shins- Girl Sailor

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