"Materialities of the Photobook"
Journal of Comparative Studies
Materialities of the Photobook
Deadline for submissions: July 31, 2022
David Campany (International Center of Photography/U. Westminster)
José Bértolo (U. Nova de Lisboa/Caldas da Rainha School of Arts & Design)
Compendium invites submissions for its second issue on the theme of Materialities of the Photobook. This special issue welcomes essays that explore the photobook, contemporary or historical, as an art object, looking into the processes that guide its composition, its specific materiality and objecthood, its reception and the reading/seeing experience.
In the last decades, we have witnessed a “photobook phenomenon” corresponding with a significant rise in the publication, acquisition, and circulation of photobooks. Canons and counter-canons have been established, and the photobook has become a recognised form with a set of lineages. New independent and specialized publishers have emerged across the world, along with new audiences of not only collectors and photographers but also occasional and non-professional consumers.
While an exhibition demands consideration of elements such as spatiality, volume, scale and presentation, among others, the book asks for a different set of decisions. The specificities of the photobook imply a new object, and a new form, in which images, text, sequence, design and choices of materiality all play a part in the constitution of the work.
Photobooks have started to become objects of study and research for academics and critics. These initial studies are mostly centered on the art and book market (e.g., the work of publishers or the social profile of photobook consumers); the history of photobooks (e.g., how we arrived at this contemporary boom); or the photobook as a specific case in the wider context of photography studies (e.g., in the 19th issue of Aperture’s The PhotoBook Review, which aimed at assessing the state of photobook studies in our time, one of the leading questions was “What is the current state of photobook criticism?”). Much is yet to be learned and thought through about the photobook in itself as an object of observation and interpretation, or, in other words, as an object of interdisciplinary reading.
We invite prospective authors to look closer into photobooks as complex, unstable and hybridized artworks, considering their material specificities and the diversity of interpretive and sensorial experiences that they can offer, and the varied ways in which they engage with the world and find their place within it.
Some of the topics we hope to explore in this issue include:
- Case studies on specific books or bodies of work
- Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the photobook
- Book designers and the facets of authorship
- Sequence, narrativity and meaning
- Book design, printing, formats, paper
- Reading a photobook: reader-oriented perspectives
- Digital (im)materialities
- Photobooks, zines, photo-albums
- Image and text: possibilities, connections, and divergences
We especially encourage submissions on topics that reach beyond Western cultures, as well as submissions from doctoral students and independent or early-career researchers. Submitted articles may be written in English, Portuguese, Spanish, or French, and should range between 6,000 and 8,000 words, including notes, references, an abstract of 150 to 250 words, as well as 4 to 6 keywords. Authors must follow the formatting guidelines listed in the Submissions section under Author Guidelines on the journal’s website. Submissions must include a separate document containing a short biographical note of the author, up to 150 words. Online submission: to register and submit your article for peer review, please follow the hyperlink Make a Submission on the Compendium homepage before the 31st of July 2022.