Art Photo Book

For some people, me included, it can be quite hard to go to a bookshop, especially if it’s a bookshop of a museum or even art gallery, where you have wonderful choices not only of great books but also magazines. Sometimes it can be quite painful to see them, feel them and not take them all with us.

There are now great publishers, editors and even artists publishing wonderful books of photography with the best quality.

In fact the other day I was surprised with an email from someone, who after buying my book Oneness, decided to buy a second one just to cut some photographs by the spine to frame them, keeping the first one as book.

Art-photographers like Roger Ballen have been publishing wonderful books, which is great, as for the people who can’t afford some good artist works, a photo book with quality is the best thing you can have at home. And believe me, looking at a printed photograph is completely different from seeing it on your computer screen.

There have been also wonderful magazines like books to delight us with the best photography, like EYEMAZING, which now will come up as book with the very best of their 10 years of publishing in a magnificent book, that you can pre-order already at Thames & Hudson. 10 years of the best in contemporary photography.

But nowadays you can publish yourself with really good quality without making a huge investment, doing it digitally and through websites/software. I tried a few of them and to be honest, Blurb was the only one that showed the best quality on printing, etc. I published already several books there for clients and we always ended up happy with the result. Of course that the best would be to have a good publisher to take care of that all, including printing, distribution, etc. But in case you don’t have, Blurb works perfectly well.

Small Proofs, Books and Bookmarks, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Small Proofs, Books and Bookmarks, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

small proofs, bookmarks, books... by ©Gonzalo Bénard

small proofs, bookmarks, books… by ©Gonzalo Bénard

I was coming back home from the lab, thinking in a beautiful book that I saw, a book of author, with only 12 photographs + text (60x40cm) in great photography paper. But this is different, they are printed photographs bound together as a book.

Is it? What’s the difference then?

A book of artist is that, each page is a photograph, and they’re signed and numbered, and you have that way a collection of photographs bounded together.

A photobook is a book of photography, in which the artist selects a series and prints them with texts, etc. The photographer can even do a special edition, numbered and signed, but it’s a printed book with the same quality as the photographs of the book of artists, but with the aim to be a book.

Book "B Shot by a Stranger" 2012 by ©GBénard

Book “B Shot by a Stranger” 2012 by ©GBénard

B Shot by a Stranger book, by Gonzalo Bénard

B Shot by a Stranger book, by Gonzalo Bénard


The book B Shot by a Stranger for example, is a selection of the best 100 photographs (20x20cm) of the 1st series, printed in premium paper and also 3 important texts on the subject: the youth, the loneliness and how they face it. How fragile can be a male teenager in their nakedness to the society? Young guys who volunteered to be shot by a stranger in their private lonely moments. The texts are 1 from the author about the whole project and experience as an observer (voyeur); another from one of the loners, a writer, who shares his own experience of being observed; and another one a dialogue between parts. It’s a sequence, almost a story that makes sense all together for you to have the feeling. A feeling that you can only have if you see the whole collection in a gallery, and maybe not even that, as a gallery would only exhibit like 20 or 30 of them. In this book you have the best 100 photographs, some of them no one saw because they’re not shown on internet or even galleries.
B Shot by a Stranger have been shot through satellite using webcams as spying cameras into the young loners’ privacy.

A book like this can be a pleasure: you can stay home in your comfort, feeling the whole collection of photographs by your own. To feel it. In fact, one can end up being a voyeur of a book of photography. As the models there felt voyeurs of their own naked intimacy.
As it is the Oneness book. Oneness is the series I needed to do after the coma I went through, to be able to locate myself again in the world. In the society, as man, woman, animal, plant… nature. There are few places on internet where you can see some of the photos (website, facebook, tumblr, 2HeadS, etc), or even better if you saw them in real in an art gallery. But you only can have the feel and fully understanding when having the book with the whole series and texts about it, in which you can follow what’s beyond the Oneness. In your hands to feel at home.

Horned, by ©GBenard

Horned, by ©GBenard

Oneness book, by Gonzalo Bénard

Oneness book, by Gonzalo Bénard

Oneness @GBénard

Oneness @GBénard

The other great thing of photobooks, is that they can be the art gift in your budget: giving to someone you love an art book is giving a piece of art, a series of an author, sometimes surprising the one we love: as having it we can go much deeper having a pleasure of being in it. It’s an art exhibition in your hands.

Giving an art book, is giving a piece of the artist, a piece of his artwork, giving art. And giving art is giving love.
And finally, giving an art book is also supporting the artist so we can keep working and creating for your own pleasure.

Related essays you should read:

Proofs of Artist
B Shot by a Stranger 2012
B Shot by a Stranger 2013
Open for Discussion
Portfolio Reviews
Why Sponsoring?

text by ©Gonzalo Bénard for 2HeadS
April, 2013
@GBenard on twitter – FacebookPortfolio Reviews

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