The Future of Photography Books?

Posted by Jerry Avenaim on December 15, 2009 – 1:51 pm
Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

“Andy Adams, of Flak Photo, and Miki Johnson, of LiveBooks blog RESOLVE, have partnered up to organize a huge communal blog discussion on the future of Photo Books! You can read all about here and view contributing Photo Blog posts and find out how to add your own.

What do I think Photo Books will look like in ten years? Considering how fast technology is evolving, I think we can’t begin to imagine the form they will take by then. Ten years is light years in technological time. I do think whatever method used to create Photo Books, hand crafted like Raymond Meeks or printed in awesome gravure like Twin Palms, photography books in any form will still have a collectible market. Read Eric Miles interview on Rare Photography Book Collecting.” The above section by  –Elizabeth Avedon (photos © Elizabeth Avedon)

Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

For myself, I hope there will still be “real” books and not just digital ones. While I am most definitely a technology person, I also cling to the beauty of the craft of the book – be it literature or art or photography. While I can read a book on a Kindle, it could never replace books that are more than words and I still buy hard copies of ones that are meaningful that I want in my library.

I love the art of book cover illustration. We have a many used bookstores in the Pasadena and Burbank areas of Los Angeles. I used to spend hours there on any given day in the Art & Photography section looking for treasures – the older, the better, as usually – but not always – the quality is better. It’s always an adventure as it’s a hit or miss experience.

Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

Looking back: Vintage PORTRAITS Book Dummy

Technology changes so rapidly so it is so hard to predict what we’ll be looking at in 10 years but I hope we have choices and that books do not become cost prohibitive from producing (green issues aside about trees, etc). I just hope that those who will be in their teens and beyond in 10 years will still have an interest in and love for books as we know them and that they will not be something they see in a museum showcase.

When the DVD format was introduced in the 1990’s, movie theaters were terrified they would lose there business to people that had ‘home theaters.’ We all realized how nonsensical that was because at the end of the day, when the lights go down and the curtains part, we know nothing will ever replace the movie theater experience. And in my opinion a work of art is not digital, it is tangible.

What are your thoughts?

Jerry Avenaim

I hope there will still be “real” books and not just digital ones. While I am most definitely a technology person, I also cling to the beauty of the craft of the book – be it literature or art or photography. While I can read a book on a Kindle, it could never replace books that are more than words and I still buy hard copies of ones that are meaningful that I want in my library.
I love the art of book cover illustration. We have a many used bookstores in the Pasadena and Burbank areas of Los Angeles. I used to spend hours there on any given day in the Art & Photography section looking for treasures – the older, the better, as usually – but not always – the quality is better. It’s always an adventure as it’s a hit or miss experience.
Technology changes so rapidly so it is so hard to predict what we’ll be looking at in 10 years but I hope we have choices and that books do not become cost prohibitive from producing (green issues aside about trees, etc). I just hope that those who will be in their teens and beyond in 10 years will still have an interest in and love for books as we know them and that they will not be something they see in a museum showcase.
When the DVD format was introduced in the 1990’s, movie theaters were terrified they would lose there business to people that had ‘home theaters.’ We all realized how nonsensical that was because at the end of the day, when the lights go down and the curtains part, we know nothing will ever replace the movie theater experience. And in my opinion a work of art is not digital, it is tangible.
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4 Responds so far- Add one»

  1. 1. Steve Said:

    Thanks for this great posting Jerry and thank you for it. Like you I am a book lover and one thing that does concern me is that the production of fine books, particularly art book, will fade away as unprofitable. Photography is a medium best experienced in print (in book or print form) and the books themselves, like the ones that publishers such as Twelve Trees and Twin Palms, Steidl and others produce are such elegant designs that between the photography and the book itself you have in your hands a total experience. I hope we never lose this and I don’t think we will, I think things just find their new place in a new scheme of things and who knows, maybe the books we care about will actually get better than ever!

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  2. 2. Jason Christopher Said:

    Love this Jerry. I am rarely asked to see my book anymore. Great post about keeping some things in life genuine.

    [Reply]

  3. 3. Cheap Stock Images Said:

    Great post. Very inspiring. More interesting post in the future and I will be back to read and inspire again to your posts.

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  4. 4. Pete Said:

    As much as love my kindle and reading pdfs on my phone. The pleasure of wandering book shops for hours on end and spending a small fortune on books, can never be replaced. The works of Cartier-Bresson, Penn, Avedon etc really need to be seen in the highest quality print to be truly appreciated.

    [Reply]

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