Reinstating Touch in the Documentary Photobook. (Daly 2012)

Abstract

Interest in the authored documentary photography book form has increased exponentially since the
publication of Andrew Roth’s The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century
(2001) and Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s The Photobook: A History (2004). Assisted by the emerging
technology of on-demand printing and web-based distribution networks, as offered by Blurb.com
and others, photographers can now self-publish for a hundredth of the costs incurred ten years ago.
While the interaction between image, text and design on the printed page projects a scenario for
the reader unavailable from the photograph alone, many documentary photobooks are variations on
three book forms already established by the end of the 19th century: the album, the portfolio and the
catalogue. Less common are those exploring the self-reflexive nature of the book, together with the
unique materiality of the photographic print, such as Stephen Gill’s Warming Down (2008) and fewer
still use the medium’s innate material qualities of light sensitivity and transience together with its
unique sensory properties where a reading of the work is dependent on physical handling and material
interaction.

Published in: Photography and the Artists' Book. J. Carson & T. Wilkie. Boston: Museums Etc 2012.

Book description on Musuems Etc

Full citation on ChesterRep

(above image: Tim Daly)