Courtesy of Decode Books
These independent book publishers are producing interesting, well-regarded photo books in a variety of formats and edition sizes. Often releasing books in small print runs, these publishers are taking chances on works that major publishers ignore. The resulting books have often proven to be highly collectible.
The publishing arm of the photography nonprofit organization founded by Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff, Daylight Books has published work by Bruce Haley, Kevin Kunishi and Marjolaine Ryley. Daylight also published Photographs Not Taken, the popular book of essays on photography written by more than 60 photographers. Recent books include Jeff Jacobson’s The Last Roll, and Brett Van Ort’s Minescape.
Seattle-based Decode Books is an offshoot of the graphic design firm Decode, Inc., which was founded by John Jenkins and Stephen Lyons in the early 1990s. Decode Books began publishing photography monographs in 2008 and has released a small number of titles per year since then, working with Nealy Blau, Kelli Connell, Brian Finke, Suzanne Opton, Amy Stein and Stacy Arezou Mehrfar, among others. Decode also releases collector’s editions of its titles, which are accompanied by signed, limited-edition prints.
This is the imprint of a design studio, based in Paris and Brooklyn, New York, that offers art direction in the fields of fashion, product design, graphic design and photography, so it’s not surprising that their photography monographs, published under the title Études Blue Books, are elegantly designed. Each of the Études Blue Books has the same format: bound in blue cloth, with a photo tipped-in to the front, issued in editions of 500. Among the titles they’ve published since their launch last year are Car Crash Studies by Nicolai Howalt, Matador by Nicolas Hosteing and Political Chaos by Paul Kooiker.
The Ice Plant
Founded by photographer Mike Slack and Tricia Gabriel, The Ice Plant has published books by Charlotte Dumas, Ron Jude and Ed Panar, all in small editions, at price points that appeal to the collector and the impulse buyer. Antoine Wilson’s Slow Paparazzo, which contains just 21 photos and is saddle-stitched, sells for $14.95 in an edition of 500 copies. However, the collector’s edition of Ed Panar’s Animals That Saw Me: Volume One, is 80 pages, clothbound and issued in an edition of 25, each of which came with a signed C-print; it was available for $175 but has sold out.
This Swedish publisher produces small (40 pages or less), clothbound books by photographers and artists in small editions, usually of 300 copies or less. Recent titles include Executive Model by Ron Jude and Sol & Luna by Viviane Sassen. The books are typically printed in Sweden, and are of high quality, both in their reproduction and their simple, clean design.
Little Big Man
Photographer Nick Haymes founded Little Big Man to publish books he likes and bring them to a U.S. audience. These have included several titles by Japanese photographers, including the legends Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama, as well as Motoyuki Daifu, who published his first book, Lovesody, with Little Big Man. Little Big Man has also published books by Miguel Calderón and Nick Waplington.
A London-based nonprofit publisher of books and booklets founded by Aron Mörel, Mörel Books is known to many collectors thanks to projects with Asger Carlsen, Corinne Day, Sam Falls, Craig McDean, Ryan McGinley and Terry Richardson, among others. Limited editions, the majority of which have sold out, range from 250 to 1,000 copies. Pitch-perfect production dovetails with the images and artwork, and runs the gamut—from ’zines to beautiful hand-bound books to faux wedding albums.
Berlin-based Peperoni Books, founded in 2004 by Hannes Wanderer, publishes books of contemporary photography by artists such as Roger Eberhard, Thomas Hoepker, Viktoria Sorochinski and Michael Wolf. The books, which range from smaller softcover editions to hardcover works, are often published in both German and English.
TBW Books may be best known for its limited-edition books, which are sold with signed prints in a slipcase. They range in price according to the size of the edition. For example, a limited edition of Mike Brodie’s A Period of Juvenile Prosperity sells for $225 from the edition of 225, while a copy from the edition of 25 sells for $2,500. TBW Books has also produced a series of four books by four photographers, which are available through an annual subscription. The 2010 subscription series, for example, included books by Dru Donovan, Katy Grannan, Mark Steinmetz and Elaine Stocki. The signed editions of the four-volume set are sold out, but some unsigned editions are still available for $100.
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