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Royal Photographic Society

Photobook Exhibition 2014

This exhibition has been a new venture for the Royal Photographic Society and as such, a step into uncharted territory. The members who sent in their photobooks, effectively on loan to the Society, are due our many thanks for the support they have shown. The selectors have been looking for books which approach the standards set by international photobook exhibitions, based on book topics of substance, with photography of suitable strength, book design, typography, sequencing etc. that supports the purpose of the book and the book’s overall characteristics as an object. From the range and qualities of the submissions it is clear that nearly all of the entrants have fully considered these criteria. The selection of the short list of 21 titles has largely been determined by the strength and value of the chosen book topic, with considerations of the photographs, book design and production values stemming from this. We believe it has been important to include handmade book submissions as well as conventionally produced books. We have been pleased to see several of these have been short listed. Brian Steptoe FRPS Joint Photobook Exhibition Organiser

With photography, you can experience new work through books that are beautifully made and produced as objects in themselves ‌ Simon Baker, Curator of Photography, Tate Museum, interview with Sean O’Hagan, FOAM magazine, Spring 2013

I would like to thank all the members who submitted work to support this, the first Photobook Exhibition held by the Society. I sincerely hope this event becomes a regular feature in the RPS calendar and is opened up to all comers. I would like to thank Brian Steptoe my co-event organiser for all his hard work and the support from the staff at Bath, who work so hard on behalf of the Society. Thanks must go to Ray Spence for his diligence in helping Brian with the selection of the shortlist, and particularly to Gerry Badger for his time and attention in selecting the finalists. I do hope you can visit the Photobook Exhibition when it is on in Fenton House, Bath, to see the excellent range and variety of books that are on show. This is a new and significant venture for the RPS, which I feel certain will grow in stature and reputation in the years to come. Rod Fry ARPS Deputy Chair Contemporary Group and Joint Photobook Exhibition Organiser.

Sponsors We send appreciative thanks to our sponsors for the winner and two runner-up awards: Dewi Lewis Publishing and Aperture Books.

Selector remarks An interesting and imaginative selection of books. Normally, the standard of photography is what drives my choices, but in this case I feel I need to talk about design. If children should be seen and not heard, I think good book design should be felt and not seen. As in the case of a football referee, if you notice him, he’s not doing his job properly. Too many potentially winning books were let down by their design, and in particular by their typography. I am a design professional, but in a different field, and I know enough about book design to know that I don’t know much about it. It’s very specialised, especially the typography aspect. That’s why people spend three or four years at college studying it. Many photographers, and this includes many professionals, think they can design books. Some can. Some can’t. The first thing to do is copy a book you like, especially the typeface, but typography is about so much more than choosing a typeface. And making a photobook is not just about sequencing images but making them sit comfortably on the page. This is the big bugbear with self-publishing, and I don’t know the answer. Looking at successful books and thinking about their design is a beginning, but if you’re really serious about making books, some kind of evening class course might be the answer. Perhaps there are correspondence courses in graphic design and typography - a businees idea for someone? So that said, I didn’t see too much of my other bugbear, too many pictures, and most people were making books on subjects about which they were passionate. That’s the first, and best rule, so that was good to see. The standard of picture-making was high, so congratulations to all. It’s just that design aspect, and I’m not sure what the answer is. I have felt this for a long time about the self-publishing industry. Turning to the winners, my first choice Be=f(P,E) and the Identifying England books were examples of what has become an increasing trend in current photobook strategy, the ‘layered’ narrative, where two strands of narrative are combined and set off against each other to make for a more complex and challenging result. My choice of To go to the window was a simpler, but satisfying book, all the better for being simple and heartfelt. It was let down slightly by its design, and the warm rosy glow of the images. A ‘sunset’ look to pictures should be avoided (certain well-known professionals need to learn this), it detracts rather than adds. And I felt I should include three books that nearly made it; the English Cathedrals book in particular; very much in a traditional style, full of good photographs and also full of fascinating information. Gerry Badger, 30 September 2014

Hon. mention

English Medieval Cathedrals John Eaton ARPS 30.5x30.5cm hardback 248 photographs plus floor plans, 264 pages

This book conveys the excitement and sense the author experiences as he enters any of the great English Medieval Cathedrals. Twenty three of these are included in this book, each with a detailed plan, historic text and many interior captioned photographs in graphic b&w detail.

top: Exeter Cathedral plan, history and architectural description centre: Exeter Cathedral, Pulpitum and Pulpitum and Organ bottom: Gloucester Cathedral, Lady Chapel and Nave and West Window

Stolen Art John Evans-Jones ARPS 20.5x20.5cm hardback 47 photographs

Based on the knowledge that all good artists and all good photographers ‘steal’ art, the author shows groups of photographs, many as pairs, which illustrate this principle. One chapter shows how something ordinary is photographed and then changed into an artwork. Another shows moments when a connection is found with an established artist’s work. A concluding chapter comprises installation shots of the author’s exhibition of some of his ‘stolen’ creations.

Sleeper Tamsin Green ARPS 20.5x21cm hardback, photo pasted on cover, 86 photographs, 92 pages

Sleeper is a series of photographs taken on a train journey from London to Mumbai; illustrating the experience of getting somewhere slowly, feeling the landscape change and being in no hurry. The author travelled across Eastern Europe and Russia, through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and on through India.

Hon. mention

Serenity and Death Don Harris FRPS 20x21cm hardback in slipcase 24 photographs

Instigated by curiosity of place, introduced by the long shadows of a railway viaduct, a place to end existence. These images show the marks of man in the landscape, the coexistence of two forces bound together.

Little Poland Ken Holland ARPS 20.5x23.5cm softback 90 photographs, 92 pages

Little Poland is the name given to Ilford Park Polish Home near Newton Abbott. It is a story of migration which aims to show the life of the individuals who were here, but have now moved on. The images in the book show what was left of the place and discarded belongings, before it was demolished. Also it shows the demolition and the new home in which remaining inhabitants are now housed.

Hon. mention

For Corbina Christopher W Morris ARPS Handmade book and relic in bottle, in wooden box. Box 12.5x7.5cm, 4cm deep. Concertina paged book

A (literally) unfolding story in words and images, of advice to Corbina “To my dear young friend...� in life and possibly in death.

Regarding Dreams and Uncertain Realities Jeff Hutchinson 20.5x20.5cm comb-bound softback 62 pages, 30 photographs This book is a journey into the ungraspable, initiated by discussions about the relationship of physics to art and philosophy. It is about our place in the universe and how things fit together, looking for patterns in life to somehow give it meaning and a reason to continue.

I Hate Fruit Alan Organ LRPS 21.5x27.5cm hardback 20 pages, 17 photographs

The author shows how he feels about fruit with a set of murderous images which are both his therapy and revenge. The book concludes with two installation photos of this work exhibited in 2014 at the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry.

Edgelands Tom Owens ARPS 29x28.5cm hardback 46 photographs, 64 pages

This book shows the author’s response to officially designated areas of beauty in the countryside. It begins in Cattawade, at the southern edge of the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB and evolves into hinterland locations around Ipswich where urban and rural environments clash.

The Corbels of Kilbeck Church Maurice Piper 33x44cm, stab bound hardback 32 photographs, 132 pages

The stone bracket corbels, carved in the early 12th century are the subject of this author’s project. All of these are featured, accompanied by texts from a range of poets, playwrights, the Bible and Bestiary, a book of mystery beasts.


Be = f(P,E) Karen Rangeley 22x29cm hardback with inserts 32 photographs, 32 pages and 12 photographs on 6 insert pages

The work in this book is based on Lewin’s formula; Behaviour is a function of Personality and Environment. The author has followed employees in Roberts Dyers and Finishers, looking closely at how their space has been adapted to their rôles and how they mark their personal spaces. The inserts are photos taken by employees on disposable cameras.

Men Of Milk Zuzka Repakova ARPS 20.5x23cm, 137 photographs, 120 pages hardback

Showing the working and other interests of milk delivery men of Kay’s Dairy, Wigan, this book illustrates many aspects of the delivery man’s life and interactions with his customers. The first section shows work in the dairy and then eight individual delivery men’s lives are covered in following chapters. Text quotes add to understanding of their activities.

Disturbances in Reading Palimpsest Michael Schreier 27x31.5cm hardback 119 photographs, 108 pages

The book combines photographs with drawings and paintings to create stories in the reader’s mind. Some images convey the sense of decay and use a palimpsest, others are more straightforward. Overall this is a conceptual work; chapter headings help to convey the thinking underlying the work: being ‘Prologue’, ‘Disturbances in Reading’, ‘entre’acte’, ‘Palimpsest’, ‘Dénoument’, and ‘Epilogue’.

The House Peter Stevens ARPS 20.5x26.5cm hardback 87 photographs, 114 pages

The author presents photographs which follow the construction of an opulent residential house of great size and quality. Over 100 workers are involved in its creation and each stage through to completion is shown. Workers engaged on their tasks are the main components of the story. Black and white images are used for the heavy construction stages, changing to colour for the more decorative and finishing stages.

You See Me, I See You Audrey Tan ARPS 20x15.5cm softback, unfolding both sides, with some smaller and unfolding pages. 36 photographs

This book is made up of a set of conceptual images taken over a seven year period. One series, entitled Now/Anytime/See, was made using two cameras with shutters clicked at the same time, in collaboration between the artist and her model. In the second series, Artist and Model, both the artist and the model were allowed free reign over their representation. The book is the catalogue for the author’s exhibition at the Substation Gallery, Singapore in June 2014.

The State We’re In Nigel Tooby FRPS 27x31cm hardback with case 101 photographs, 114 pages

A no-holds-barred set of views about the state of Britain and the major issues in politics, the media, the police and many other institutions. Some of the issues addressed by the photography are: absent family fathers, hospital scandals, plans for tax raids on family finance, MP expenses, press freedoms, Islamic school influences, cctv surveillance and many others.

First runner-up

Identifying England Derek Trillo ARPS 21.5x13.5cm, 22 photographs and texts pasted onto pages of a 1934 book ‘The Flags of Britain’

This book shows the many and varied ways in which English and British flags are seen in the countryside. Pencilled captions tell the reader their locations. The series started with a newspaper article about two taxi drivers flying St George’s flags in their cabs, in defiance of the local council.

Guggenheim Bilbao Duncan Unsworth 15x11cm unfolding book, three folds wide, two folds high. 14 photographs

A photographic study of the textures and colours of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

‘Come On The Borough’ Bruce Viveash 29x29cm hardback 94 photographs, 74 pages

The author follows the Harrow Borough Football Club behind the scenes, with management, players and supporters all featured. The book was put together when the team achieved a run of nine matches, mainly home team wins, in Spring 2014.

Second runner-up To go to the window Kate Wentworth LRPS 20.5x20.5cm hardback 20 Photographs, 42 pages

This window faces west looking out over the Yorkshire Dales. The light from it fills the room and the author captures the light, the view and the features within the room, scenes both beautiful and also unsettling; a succession of stilled moments. Three sections of the book are of morning, afternoon and then evening.

To Jazz or Not To Jazz Anthony Williams LRPS 29x29cm hardback, 34 photographs, 42 pages

This book of music images is a conclusion of several years of study of the subject. They are celebrations of many of the lesser known artists who perform for pure pleasure at small venues. Several of the pages include quotes from the performers and all resonate with the atmosphere of the occasion and the enjoyment of the musicians. All the artists, locations and dates are given in an illustrated index page.

top: Violinist with Clare Teal and her Hollywood Orchestra, Wigan Jazz Festival, July 2014 bottom: SK2 Jazz Orchestra, Wigan Jazz Festival, July 2014

Š Catalogue photographs and design, bjsdesign 2014 All photography and content of photobooks shown is copyright of the authors Catalogue printing,, 150gsm lustre paper

This catalogue illustrates the selected short-list of photobooks that were submitted by members of the Society for the Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2014. The winning photobook, two runner-up entries and three honorary mentions from those short-listed were selected by Gerry Badger, co-author with Martin Parr of the three volumes The Photobook: A History. He is an established selector for and commentator on international photobook exhibitions. These photobooks were exhibited at Fenton House, Wells Road, Bath during November 2014.

Rps photobook exhibition 2014 catalogue for issuu  

Illustrated catalogue of the Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2014. shown at Fenton House, Bath during November 2014. Final s...

Rps photobook exhibition 2014 catalogue for issuu  

Illustrated catalogue of the Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2014. shown at Fenton House, Bath during November 2014. Final s...