The Sustainable Photobook Publishing (SPP) Network install a pop-up reading room at the Paintworks Event Space for BOP 23, raising issues around environmentally conscious approaches to photobook publishing.
The photobook industry has grown exponentially over the years, there are now photobook fairs and awards on every continent, as well as a broad range of publishers, from small imprints and self-publishers to medium and large-scale dedicated photobook publishers. During the pandemic the photobook economy boomed, with publishers reporting record sales. The portability of the book means that they can travel to every corner of the world (although often at prohibitively high cost). Given its growing size and influence, the photobook community has a responsibility to think about how we design, make, and distribute our books, yet the urgent topic of sustainability is nowhere near the forefront of recent discussions.
A key SPP network initiative is a series of case studies on photobooks that provide insights into their design, making and distribution. This hands-on reading room showcases a selection of these case study books. These include publications by Mandy Barker, Oliver Raymond Barker, Sayako Sugawara, Half Letter Press, Loose Joints, Folium, and the Sustainable Darkroom. The majority of these books were printed in their country of origin and involved nuanced thinking about materials, equipment, processes, packaging and transportation.
This reading room seeks to engage photobook makers and consumers in an urgent discussion about sustainability. How are we making books? How are we distributing books? How can we make responsible choices as a consumer?
The exhibition has been designed and constructed for easy disassembly; enabling it to be installed in multiple locations. Previous iterations have been shown at FORMAT23 and FOTOFESTIWAL 2023.Thank you to FORMAT for supporting the logistics of transporting the exhibition stands to Bristol for this event.