Jennifer showed me Anthony Friedkin's book "Timekeeper" a while back. It's a really great collection of b&w photos by a world renowned photographer. We were discussing a picture book of my 60s-70s photojournalism at that informal meeting.
Considering my last post about an "uncertain future" and my meandering into a bit of investigative journalism it is refreshing to know that the technologies that "threaten" photographers also empower them. A traditional print run of a couple of thousand "coffee table" photo books like Timekeeper would come to at or near $100,000 total for all costs, maybe more.
Technology has evolved to the point where it is no longer necessary to do a "print run." So the average price calculated above, about $50 per book, could be the per-copy price for a small batch of 5 to 10 copies of a similar book by another photographer. That's a price just about anyone can afford and you don't have to put up with all the many, many hassles and time delays of traditional publishing.
Technology can and should be a photographer's best friend. The photographer must not only master new technology in all applicable forms (creating photos AND exhibiting them) but also push beyond the current boundaries. That's the hallmark of a true professional.
So why aren't there thousands of great books around? Probably not because there's a dearth of good photos. My guess is that the number of photographers with a set of personal traits needed to undertake the project in the first place is the limiting factor.
Just because you can print a fancy book mean its real worth is much more than that of a glorified scrap book of photos.
So this great technology must be married with a photographer who has a body of work he strongly desires to see in print. But to get anywhere beyond the UPS delivery of the finished product requires a lot more than simply great photos.
It takes a vision for the project and the patience to shepherd it through to ultimate completion. It now only takes great photos but also the know-how and artistic ability to put together a collection of photos really worth publishing.
Making a successful photo book by no means guarantees its financial success or acclaim. That requires a whole other set of professional skills oriented toward marketing which in turn means knowing the market. PR for the fine art world is a fine art in itself, a highly specialized set of skills separating the average promoter/publicist from the really desirable professional suited for the task.
And that's why I'm fortunate to have Jennifer working with me.