Photobook Bristol 2016: The Last Post!

Photobook Bristol 2016 is over and was simply wonderful. We are emotionally attached to the event, but it was a truly memorable festival for so many reasons with  great talks, great people and so many different perspectives given. And there were quite a few stand out moments!

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The weekend started with Amak Mahmoodian talking about her beautiful book, Shenasnameh. Her talk started with a clip of old Iranian movies which cut through the clichés of representation of the country. She went on to describe her working process, for all her projects and then the ways in which the identity photograph of the Iranian Shenasnameh (which is a kind of Iranian Birth Certificate/Domestic Passport) is used. The book is connected very closely to the different ways in which photography is used in formal settings and how those uses reflect politics, culture, violence and power. But above all, it is a book that is personal, autobiographical and filled with a passion and love that transcends the subject matter.

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Photobook Bristol 2016 is here. This is the line-up for the weekend.

We look forward to seeing everybody to the Southbank in Bristol!

Friday 10th June

2:30 – 3:15 Amak Mahmoodian: Shenasnameh and the Iranian Identity Picture
3:15 – 4:00 Craig Atkinson and Café Royal: A Life in Publishing, Drawing and 300 books
4:00 Book launch: Shenasnameh by Amak Mahmoodian

Shenasnameh ICVL Studio-RRB Publishing(008 )
4:00 – 4:30 Break

4:30 – 5:15 David Solo with Olivia Arthur and Susan Meiselas: The Photobook Audience! Who, Where, why?
5:15 – 5:30 Francis Atterbury: How to Make Your Photobook
5:30 – 6:00 Max Pinckers: True or False – The Story of Lotus
6:00 Book Launch: Lotus by Max Pinckers

6:00 – 6:30 Break
6:30 – 7:15 Dragana Jurisic: Photobooks, Philosophy and Home
7:15 Book Launch: Clear of People by Michal Iwanowski

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8:00 Barbecue

Saturday 11th June

10:00 – 10:45 Sonia Berger: Dalpine Books: Publishing and selling as a collaborative experience

10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:45 Yumi Goto with Hajime Kimura: Reminders Photography Stronghold: The Handmade, the Personal, the Political
11:45 – 12:30 Ivars Gravlejs: Anarchy, Chaos and the Classroom

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12:30 – 2:00 Break

2pm – 2:45 Julian Germain: From 90 minutes to 60 Seconds – Football, Photobooks and Love
2:45 – 3:30 Ken Grant: When Saturday Comes
Book Launch: The Topical Times for these Times book of Liverpool Football by Ken Grant
Book Signing: Memento Moris by Peter Mitchell

3:30 – 4:30 Break
4:30 – 5:15 James Barnor in conversation with Sarah Preston

5:15 – 5:45 Break
5:45 – 6: 45 An Evening with Krass Clement and Martin Parr
6:45 Book Signing: End by Eamonn Doyle

8:30 Music By Mik Artistik

Sunday 12th June

10 – 10:45 Ania Nalecka: Design Matters – Essential Photobook Design

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11.45 Jessa Fairbrother in conversation with Mariela Sancari
Book Signing: Garden State by Corinne Silva

11:45 – 12:30 Break
12:30 – 1.15 Laura El-Tantawy: A reflective look over a mighty big country: Egypt, beyond the childhood memories.
1.15 – 2:15 Mark Power with Daniel Cockrill (poet) and Dominic Brookman (designer)): Poetry, Pictures and Design from ‘Destroying the Laboratory for the Sake of the Experiment
Book Launch: ‘Destroying the Laboratory for the Sake of the Experiment by Mark Power, Daniel Cockrill and Dominic Brookman

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2:15 End of Talks

Ken Grant’s World of Football: Liverpool, Landscape and Manhood

For our final post before Photobook Bristol, here is a short interview with Ken Grant on his new book, The Topical Times for These Times: A Book of Liverpool Football.

This will be launched at Photobook Bristol on Saturday and is set to become (alongside Julian Germain’s wonderful In Soccer Wonderland and Hans van der Meer’s formally beautiful European Fields) one of the classics of football photobooks. Not that it’s really about football. It’s about much more than that. as Ken explains below.

Both Julian Germain and Ken Grant will be speaking at Photobook Bristol on Saturday.

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Shenasnameh: An Interview with Amak Mahmoodian

Amak Mahmoodian’s new book, Shenasnameh will be launched at Photobook Bristol on Friday. Published jointly by IC Visual Labs and RRB Books, Shenasnameh tells the story of Iranian women throught their fingerprints and the identity photographs they must make for their Shenasnameh (a passport like book which is a birth certificate and identity document). It’s a beautifully made book that mixes an attention to the vernacular uses of the identity photography with love, compassion and feeling for her fellow women. It’s a book of personal identities that come through eyes and looks and the turn of the mouth, mixed with official identities of fingerprints and photographs rejected due to an ‘excess’ of make-up or hair.

The project started 6 years ago when Amak was having her Shenasnameh picture taken with her mother.  These are the heartfelt and very beautiful words that Amak says about the project.

Shenasnameh ICVL Studio-RRB Publishing(001 )Shenasnameh ICVL Studio-RRB Publishing(009 )

The idea came to me immediately. I saw the pictures of myself and my mother in the day and I went home and thought, I’m going to make a project about that. The same day I started asking my neighbours if I could borrow their birth certificate photographs.

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Walking, Memory and Darkness: A Review of Beyond the Visual

We’re delighted to say that Photobook Bristol 2016 is now sold out so this week we turn our heads back to look back at the event to be hosted by Photobook Bristol/ICVL at the Southbank Club. This was Sound, Word and Landscape: Beyond the Visual – a day of talks (by Max Houghton, Angus Carlyle, Jem Southam, Thom and Beth Atkinson, Paul Gaffney, Susan Derges and Esther Vonplon) that looked at the different autobiographical, sensory and historical elements that make up the landscape we experience.

The review below is by Rob Hudson (and do look Mametz Wood  and other projects!) was first published in On Landscape Magazine.

‘I’ve long believed in my own work that seeing by itself is insufficient to create a good photograph. Whereas visual skills are essential, they are only a part of the contribution we can make as individuals or artists to our photography. The real skill of the visual is translating whatever it is we’re trying to say into images. An extra level that might go some way to communicating our intent. Beyond seeing lies the murky, complex world of ideas, motivation, intent and meaning.

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Tipi: Buy a Book, Create a Community, Turn a Parcel into Art

Following on from Martin Amis of Photobookstore, today we have another bookseller answering the Photobook Bristol Questionnaire. This time it’s the amazing Andrea Copetti of Tipi Bookshop.

Tipi Bookshop is based in Brussels and is more than just a bookstore. From his base, Andrea also launches books, shows prints and mails out the most amazing photobook parcels. He also finds the time to answer unreasonably long interview questions like these. For that we are very thankful.


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Geoff Dyer on Peter Mitchell’s Scarecrows

We absolutely love this. Geoff Dyer writes on Peter Mitchell’s Scarecrows in the New York Times, bringing them to life with his ineffable, free-ranging prose.
‘Like these effigies, and unlike statues, the scarecrows are far from permanent, let alone immortal. So it is appropriate that Mitchell’s photographic record does not aspire to the taxonomic rigor associated with, say, Bernd and Hilla Becher’s gridded images of industrial structures. It’s more like a bunch of street portraits, done slowly, in fields. Time, in its physical manifestations — rain, wind and sun — takes its toll. The snowsuit becomes smeared in what looks like blood, as if it has barely survived some frosty and atrociously extended ordeal. A bloody wound suggests that crows have begun to peck away at its Promethean liver. Eventually the clothes rot away, so that the scarecrows acquire a Lear-on-the-heath air of tragedy: “Off, off you lendings!” The difference is that whereas Lear discovers that beneath the clothes are “poor naked wretches,” these guys are their clothes. Patched together not from stolen body parts but lent clothes, there is, nevertheless, a Frankensteinian quality to them: They are, by definition, scary.’
© Peter Mitchell
© Peter Mitchell

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Martin Amis on how to make a living from Photobooks


Today our focus turns onto the booksellers who will be at Photobook Bristol. This year we have booksellers and publishers including Journal, Photobookstore, Cafe Royal Books, MACK Books, Galerie Clementine de la
Feronniere, Hoxton Mini Press, Village Bookstore, Fabrica, Tipi Bookshop, Phaidon, Rorhof, RRB Photobooks and
Fish Bar.

It’s easy to overlook the vital role that booksellers play in promoting, funding and showing new photobooks. Real life bookshops like the Village Bookstore or Tipi provide real life exhibition space, they host book launches and they provide a physical space for photographers, artists and bookmakers to show and look at work.

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Say Hello to RRB Publishing and Photobook Bristol at Offprint

If you’re in town for Photo London this weekend, come visit the publishing arm of Photobook Bristol, RRB Publishing in a virtual kind of way.

Sadly we won’t be deep in the bowels of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall taking part in Offprint, London’s biggest Photobook Event, but you will be able to visit us online at RRB Photobooks.


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image above from Shenasnameh

You can check out our recently published titles such as Post-Script by Laura El-Tantawy, Shenasnameh by Amak Mahmoodian  (Co-published with ICVL Studio, , there will be a copy on display at Hurtwood Press stall) and Memento Mori by Peter Mitchell, buy from the amazing range of new and old photobooks with prices to suit everybody, and order tickets for Photobook Bristol.

And between doing all that, we hope you buy lots of books from everybody at Offprint, which is a truly fabulous event.



If you’re not familiar with Peter Mitchell, it’s never too late to start. A stalwart of early British colour documentary in the late 1970s, he is now undergoing a renaissance with a rush of new publications (mostly published by us) and a show at Arles this summer.

For an idea of how important a photographer Peter is, read this review of Peter’s Strangely Familiar on Photo Eye. And this is the introduction to the book. Written by Martin Parr, it explains how Peter Mitchell was responsible for Martin’s conversion to colour.

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Phaidon: On Branding, Crossover and Finding a New Audience


This year we are very happy to have Phaidon sponsoring Photobook Bristol 2016. As publishers of the Photobook Histories by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, Phaidon are the publishing catylyst in the surge in creative photobook publishing. Volume I was published in 2004 and though it was not the first history of photobooks (Fotografia Publica and The Book of 101 Seminal Photobooks came earlier), it was the publication that really brought the photobook to a much, much wider audience.

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Phaidon has also published great photobooks in their own right in books like Li Zhensheng’s Red Color News Soldier (see images above), it has reissued classics like Philip Jones Griffiths’ Vietnam Inc. and it continues to push the photobook into new audiences as part of its immensely classy catalogue on the arts, design and beyond.
In some ways then, Phaidon takes the photobook and brings it to new audiences. Two of its latest titles, Real Food by our very own Martin Parr, and Failed it! by Erik Kessels exemplify this ability to go beyond the photobook ghetto.

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