The highlight for me this year was meeting and getting to know (a little) Alejandro Cartagena and Cristina de Middel. Alejandro is best known for his book Carpoolers and Cristina for her book The Afronauts, but both have done many other great photobooks. They did fascinating presentations on their most recent work. After all the presentations, there were book-signings. I already had four of Cristina's books, but now have five and have pre-ordered the second edition of The Afronauts and the book Man Jayan. (I had always thought that Cristina was Catalan, but it turns out she is from Alicante and now lives in Michoacan, Mexico.) I am also now the proud owner of five of Alejandro's books.
Every symposium brings up new discoveries, at least for me. There were many people I wasn't aware of before. One was Andre Bradley, who did a moving presentation on his book Dark Archives. The thoughtful presentation was almost like a performance. His rich, mellifluous voice was a perfect voice-over for the powerful images from the book. Another new face for me was Deidre Visser of the California Institute of Integral Studies and Chroma Publications. They are starting to make some very interesting photobooks there, and she showed three of them.
In addition to the symposium, Keith Smith had a marvelous show in the gallery there of a suite of his new work called Ladies First. VSW published a special edition of this work which sold for $100 and Keith was there on Thursday evening signing the books.
The first picture is Keith and Clif Meador at the signing desk. The second one is Keith signing his books, with Dan Varenka, VSW Book Store manager, to his right, our left.
My presentation was on trying to understand and define the continuum of photography book to photo-bookwork. Photobookwork (all one word) was the term that Alex Sweetman coined in 1987 (in a CMP catalog) for artists' books that use photo-based content. It is now more commonly written as a hyphenated word: photo-bookwork, hence the name for the current VSW symposium series. My presentation was accompanied by a graphic continuum chart that I mae where I tried to define that spectrum. Here it is:
You can click on it to see it a bit larger.
If anyone would like the chart as a larger pdf, please write me. This blog format does not allow me to post pdf's so I converted it to a jpeg. A rasterized jpeg file is not ideal for type, but I can send it to you in type-friendly form if you write me and let me know. I can also send you the text of my presentation –but without the images that were used in the powerpoint. For those who are members, a little later this year, both may be redisplayed on the College Book Art Association (CBAA) blog.