Photo Book Works
An International Exhibition of Photographic Artist Books
January 27 - March 12, 2011
Photo Book Works is an international exhibition of hand crafted artist books incorporating photography as a primary image medium. Photo Book Works was first presented at Abecedarian Gallery, a book arts focused gallery in Denver, Colorado in November of 2010 and was juried by Mia Semingson, a photographer, book binder and art instructor at the University of Colorado. 23 Sandy Gallery is pleased to host this stellar exhibition, which includes the work of 31 artists from the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland and Australia.
Semingson tells us, “The artists included in this exhibition bring their images back to the tangible realm and weave visual stories not just with photographic images, but with the materials they have chosen and the structure that houses their work. All of these ingredients deliver the artist’s concept to the viewer. As technology changes and upgrades, as we reach deep into our pockets to purchase the next version of Photoshop, one thing remains and will remain a constant—the book. And I will defend books to my death. They are a technology that is here to stay, a wonderful constant presence in a rapidly changing world.”
Artist books are small edition, one-of-a-kind book forms, handcrafted by individual artists and take a wide range of forms, sizes and shapes. They may “read” as an actual book would, but may also present in unexpected ways, often as sculptural works of art. Many contemporary artists incorporate letterpress, printmaking and other craft forms in their work. Handmade book production goes back centuries, but the artist book is an ever-evolving, late 20th century manifestation.Catalog Image Credits: Jeanne Buescher Bartlett and Thomas Finke (left), Lauren Henkin (center), Judith Hoffman (right)
I began making books and filling them with my early photographic images in a high school photography class in the mid 1980’s. These first books involved plastic sleeves, mat board, and three holes to secure everything with metal rings. The books would never be classified as photo albums or scrap books, both of which I have never been very good at maintaining, but rather visual stories told through the hand-processed silver gelatin prints. As I look back at these rudimentary attempts at storing and showing my photographs I laugh and marvel at them at the same time. Over 20 years later I am still mesmerized by the photographic images housed in a handmade book.
It was many years after these first attempts that I discovered artists’ books. My definition of an artists’ book - the definition that I prescribe to - is a book-like structure supporting the content, and vice versa. It is a symbiotic relationship that carries the message to the reader. With this discovery another world of creative possibilities was revealed to me.
And now we are in the digital age. It is a time where the black and white darkroom that I lived in throughout high school, college, and graduate school is now an alternative process; where most people carry a camera on their person at all times, even if it is part of their cell phone; where the sharing of images happens instantly and non-stop; where the traditional photo album is threatened with extinction in this Facebook/Flickr photo sharing age. These two social/photo sharing networks are so much the norm that a friend who is a photo professor now asks his students: “Is this a Facebook image or a Flickr image?” - there is a difference between the two. But my luddite reaction is - what’s the difference, they’re still just 1’s and 0’s’? I use digital technologies just like the next person, but I love the intimacy, the smell, the feel, and the discovery that only an artists’ book can provide.
The artists included in this exhibition bring their images back to the tangible realm and weave visual stories not just with images, but with the materials they have chosen and the structure that houses their work. All of these ingredients deliver the artist’s concept to the viewer.
As technology changes and upgrades, as we reach deep into our pockets to purchase the next version of
- Mia Semingson
|All images and text copyright the artists and authors. All rights reserved.|