Conference Schedule

Friday, January 4, 2019

8:00 – 9:00 /// Registration; Coffee & Donuts

9:30 – 10:30 /// Self Guided Tours:

  • University of Arizona Special Collections 
  • Library Center for Creative Photography 
  • School of Art Book Art & Letterpress Lab 
  • The Poetry Center

11:00 – 12:00 /// Committee Meetings: Communications, Meetings + Programs, Steering

12:30 – 1:30 /// LUNCH (box lunches on site)
Board Meeting;
Marilyn Zornado and Barb Tetenbaum: Animation Screening

A selection of short animated films from around the US and the world, each created using techniques common in the book arts such as letterpress printing from moveable type, wood type, pressure printing, lino and wood cut, etching, silkscreen as well as animation in watermarked paper. These films represent a new territory for Book/Print artists and are interesting not only because of their technical production, but because we see printmakers trying their hand at animation, and animators trying their hand at print techniques and many for the first time.

2:00 – 3:00 /// Self Guided Tours:

  • University of Arizona Special Collections 
  • Library Center for Creative Photography 
  • School of Art Book Art & Letterpress Lab 
  • The Poetry Center

3:30 – 4:30 ///
Opening Statements;
Special Lecture: Molly Kalkstein: Keith Smith’s No-Picture Books as Photographic Works

Since 1967, Keith A. Smith (b. 1938) has made over three hundred artist’s books, combining a diverse range of media and inventive approaches to book structure and content. As a student, Smith worked closely with photographers Arthur Siegel and Aaron Siskind, and was later recruited by Nathan Lyons to teach at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester. Despite these formative connections, Smith’s engagement with the medium of photography has been ambivalent, a tension that is nowhere more evident than in his so-called “no-picture books.” These thirty-six inkless books, characterized by the use of torn or punched paper and strung pages, include no photographs, no images of any other kind, and no text, and yet Smith has regularly referred to them as photographic books. To date, however, there has been no scholarship examining their status as such. This lecture proposes that the no-picture books draw on fascinating historical debates about the technical and conceptual basis of photography itself, from the lineage of cameraless photography to László Moholy-Nagy’s curricula at the New Bauhaus and Institute of Design. I also examine Smith’s engagement not only with specifically photographic principles, but with an even broader array of sensory and durational concerns. Like Robert Rauschenberg’s notorious White Paintings, from which this paper takes its title, I argue that the pages of the no- picture books are not truly empty, but are rather embedded with latent images that appear only when the book is opened, and that vary according to the reader and the day.

5:00 – 6:30 /// 
UA School of Art Exhibition Reception: Joseph Gross Gallery, 50 Years of Photographic Artists’ Book, 1968–2018

This gallery show of contemporary photographic artists’ books highlights photographically-based books that go far beyond the standard photographic monograph. The books in this exhibition use the book form as an original, creative genre incorporating photographic images coupled with an acute awareness of the artistic possibilities of the book. 50 Years of The Photographic Artists’ Book, 1968–2018 focuses attention on photographers and artists who have worked with the time-based medium of the book as a central part of their creative project. The goal of the show is to draw attention to the rich discourse of artists’ books that use photography as part of their conceptual language. Many of these works have been overlooked by the Artists’ Book Canon (does such a thing exist?) and deserve much greater attention. Conversely, the works shown are intended to inspire photographers to create new original work that investigates and exploits the great opportunities that are inherent in the codex book.

6:00 – /// 
Dinner on your own;
Tiny Town Gallery Opening: ‘Zine Exhibition (6–9pm) (408 N. 4th Ave.)

8:30 /// 
Late Night PechaKuchas (Short presentations by membership, location to be announced).

Saturday, January 5 2019

8:00 – 8:30 /// Coffee & Donuts 

8:30 – 10:30 ///
Members Welcome;
Members Meeting & Introductory Lectures 

Lectures by: 
Kate Palmer Albers (Professor and Photo art historian, Whittier College, Whittier, CA)
Truth, Fiction, and Photobooks
Artists have long drawn on the generative possibilities of the fictive photograph. Because of photographs’ enduring and persistent adhesion to some kernel of “truth” or reality, photographic images are all the more compelling and provocative a medium through which to conjure—whether slyly or blatantly—speculative scenarios. This talk will consider particular forms of the "parafictional" photobook, as it has emerged in both literature and art. In today's surreal world of truth and fiction mixed with abandon, the slippery, yet generative, intersections of plausibility and fiction in the arts are particularly relevant.

Steve Woodall (Logan Collection Specialist for the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA).
Entering the Photograph
Much more than a simple means of illustration, the use of photography in an artist’s book is a portal to a fundamentally distinct mode of expression. We will take a close look at why: at a deep level, photography’s intrinsic qualities of strangeness and displaced time open the door to particular strategies for presentation and narrative structure. The applications of photographic material in artists’ books are many and varied, and this talk intends to provide a context for concepts and techniques to be discussed in sessions over the course of the day.

10:45 – 12:00 /// Morning Sessions

1. Photobook/Artists’ Book: Media, Art, Design, History and Reading
Co-Moderators: Clifton Meador and Tate Shaw

Much of contemporary photobook discourse often starts from the position that photobooks are media first and only contingently material. Books, the thought remains, can be an elegant and relatively democratic means to experience photographs. Contemporary artists’ book practice—amazingly heterogenous though it is—often starts from the position that bookworks are objects rooted in craft and art history with authorial (in the largest sense of “makership”) intent. Both discourses embrace and exploit the book for its expressive and communicative potential, yet they have separate histories and often differ in their thinking about the use and veracity of photographic images, graphic design, and working with other agents for production and publication. We wish to create a seminar-style discussion and therefore ask participants to come prepared having read several essays and resources and viewed videos of books that the moderators will post well in advance of the session.

Questions and prompts may include:

  • The role of collaboration in book making, e.g., highly-authored work (where the author has control of all aspects) versus multiply authored work
  • Materiality in photobooks and artists’ books.
  • The existence of canons for each discourse.
  • Differences and similarities in how we read photobooks and artists’ books.
  • What role does design play in both areas?

2. Publishing and Disseminating Photo Artists’ Books: Strategies for getting artists’ books with photographic content into the world
Co-Moderators: Mary Virginia Swanson and Susan Kae Grant

Artists’ books based on photography are enjoying a strong market presence due to the variety of options for publication and distribution. In addition to producing handmade limited edition titles, digital printing via local or on-demand services, and independent presses, art and photo book fairs have contributed to the resurgence of interest in photo book-works. This moderated presentation provides an overview of how artists introduce their photo books to diverse audiences for acquisition. By tracing the evolution of the book prospectus this track illuminates the path to self-promote your titles for direct sale to collections/collectors as well as submission guidelines and acquisition practices of publishers, contemporary collections, dealers and other industry experts. Topics will also examine opportunities for artists to present their work including juried book competitions and exhibitions, photography festivals and book fairs. Following their presentation, the moderators will lead a round table conversation with the participants while sharing a survey of best practices from educators, book artists and collectors as well as provide a hands-on look at successful artist-produced promotional initiatives that have proven to be a successful path to placement of their book works.

3. The Rise of the Risograph
Co-Moderators: Bridget Elmer, Emily Larned and (via long distance) Tricia Treacy

A prominent, popular process to produce photographic artists’ books, risograph printing offers a myriad of ways of thinking about contemporary artistic production and collaboration. This panel will introduce risograph printing and give a pragmatic overview of its technical aspects, while discussing specific aspects of the process through a show-and-tell of diverse risograph printed books. Because risograph printing is easily learned (including by non-printers), the method can become a catalyst for collaboration, and a conduit for experimental, hybrid, and a practical form for publishing. The Risograph can serve as a fulcrum to intersect practices, and as an imprecise, imperfect printing method, it supports experimentation and chance.

12:15 – 1:00 /// LUNCH (box lunches on site)
Rich Kegler, P22 Film Screening: Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century

This fascinating design documentary captures the personality and work process of the late Canadian graphic artist Jim Rimmer (1931–2010). In 2008, P22 type foundry commissioned Rimmer to create a new type design (Stern) that became the first-ever simultaneous release of a digital font and hand-set metal font. Rimmer was one of only a few who possessed the skills needed to create a metal font. This film is a unique opportunity to share Jim's knowledge, processes and passions with the world.

1:15 – 2:30 /// Afternoon Sessions

4. The Historical Photobook: Examples, Conventions and Extensions
Co-Moderators: Molly Kalkstein and Joan Lyons

In this session, we will discuss examples of historical photobooks and “photobookworks” ranging from the traditional to the experimental, and spanning decades of photographic and artistic practice. In keeping with the theme of this year’s meeting, The Photographic Artists’ Book, we invite participants to consider the history of book production and design as it relates to our understanding of photography, and to join us in a conversation about how these works relate to artists’ books more broadly. Although photobooks may sometimes be associated simply with glossy monographs, there is a long and robust history of thoughtfully designed photographic books that engage both with the particular format of the book, and with the singular characteristics of the photographic medium. Some scholars have even argued that books are in fact the optimal way to view photographs, thanks to their intimate scale, portability, and their suitability for presenting complex and evocative sequences of images. Some practitioners have also circumvented traditional means of publication to produce artists’ books that use photography for all or part of their content. We will look in particular at such photobookworks produced during the 1960s and 1970s, and at the ways that artists have incorporated photographic images into books, often along with texts and other media.

5. Printing Photographic Images using Letterpress
Co-Moderators: Rebecca Chamlee and Barb Tetenbaum

Continuous-tone images are characterized by gradual transitions between shades and colors and have frustrated letterpress printers for decades. The need for the traditional halftone screen often produces coarse prints, difficult registration and color issues. Rebecca has extensively explored the possibilities of letterpress as a means for producing successful continuous tone prints. Slides show different approaches to achieve innovative results, shown in chronological order from 2011 – 2019 that illustrate the development of processes to achieve detail, realism and sensitivity to the source material. Topics include choosing imagery, image capture possibilities, file preparation for photo polymer plates and strategies for printing in tight registration. Barb will speak about the use of the half-tone engraved plate as a solution for letterpress printing photographic images onto paper. Historic background about this process will be covered along with contemporary uses and studio tips gleaned from personal experience.

6. Print-On-Demand Clinic: Ways to Hack the Print Restrictions of Digital POD
Co-Moderators: Clifton Meador and Philip Zimmermann

In this track, Clifton Meador and Philip Zimmermann describe ways (and show examples) of various ways that artists’ book makers can use devious and not-so-devious ways of getting around some of the format and material restrictions of such companies as Lulu, Blurb, Spoonflower, and MagCloud. Printing two-up, printing extra pages so that company logos can be ripped out, printing bookcloth with POD service and how to use it, removing saddle-stitch staples and hand sewing signatures, plus custom covers (with special materials) substituted for the stock POD originals, and much more. Many examples will be shown.

Participants will be actively encouraged to bring works in progress for suggestions and options for using POD services.

2:45 – 3:45 /// Committee Meetings: Awards, Development, Nominations + Membership, Publications

4:15 – 5:45 /// Keynote Speaker: Cristina de Middel

Cristina de Middel is a Spanish photographer whose work investigates photography’s ambiguous relationship to truth. Blending documentary and conceptual photographic practices, she plays with reconstructions and archetypes that blur the border between reality and fiction.

After a 10-year career as a photojournalist and humanitarian photographer, de Middel stepped outside of the photojournalistic gaze. She produced the critically acclaimed photobook The Afronauts in 2012, which explored the history of a failed space program in Zambia in the 1960s through staged reenactments of obscure narratives.

Since 2012 De Middel has been continuously producing new bodies of work that aim at redefining what documentary can be and at completing the limited description of the world that mass media provide. De Middel’s work shows that fiction can serve as the subject of photography just as well as facts can, highlighting that our expectation that photography must always make reference to reality is flawed.

With more than 12 artists’ books published, Cristina De Middel has exhibited extensively internationally and has received numerous awards and nominations, including PhotoFolio Arles 2012, the Deutsche Börse Prize, the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York. Some of her best-known photobooks include The Afronauts, This is What Hatred Did, Sharkification, Party, Polyspam, and Jan Mayen.

Cristina de Middel is a Magnum nominee since 2017, and lives and works between Mexico and Brazil. See more about her at: http://www.lademiddel.com

6:00 – 7:15 /// Final Toasts at Gentle Ben’s (865 E University Blvd)

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