Objektiv want to look closer at book production in the light of the upcoming seminar at c/o Berlin Photobooks: RESET that starts from the premise that the photo book world is in crisis. Is the photo book in trouble? Founded in 2011, B-B-B-Books has published numerous books that have reached both Scandinavian and international acclaim, many projects that have been exhibited too, here are Klara Källström and Thobias Fäldt’s thoughts:
We released our first self published book Gingerbread Monument in September of 2008. It was the same month as the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers happened. Ten years later, also in September, Photobook:RESET takes place in Berlin and the topic of conversation is that the photo book world is in crisis. Are there parallels that can be drawn between the world economic crisis of 2008 and the presumed photo book crisis of 2018? Currently we are experiencing the longest stock market upturn in history, but now experts warn for a financial decline. The photo book boom has been created over the past ten years but supply and demand are imbalanced. The range of books have grown tremendously but the audience hasn’t grown as much. There has been a flourishing era of experimentation but at the same time small producers seem to pay less attention to or ignore issues of how to maintain in the long run.
This year saw the opening of your gallery FG2 in collaboration with the architect Per Nadén, could you tell us about the move from page to space?
What first inspired us to make our own publications ten years ago and subsequently also the imprint, was to take control over the means of production. We thought about how to make affordable books on machines that weren’t necessarily used for printing art books.
The case with FG2 has some similarities. One year ago, we were contacted by Per Nadén, architect at Nadén Arkitektur, who offered us to be part in the creation of a small culture house in Gothenburg. Nadén Arkitektur is linked to a carpentry that has a computer-controlled CNC saw. The machine is usually used for large scale productions, but if you learn how to manoeuvre it, it allows for experimentation that is rarely possible to execute unless you have a very big budget. Getting to know a new tool resembles our experience from book printing where learning about how things are being made is central to our practice.
What makes a good book? What books do you keep coming back to?
A good book is a book of interesting content. A very good book is when there is a clear reason why this content became a book and not something else.
What I enjoy the most with the book fairs such as Cosmos in Arles is that the aspect of selling books seems less important than talking about books, could you talk a little about your experiences with taking part of the different fairs?
This community has grown to what it is today primarily because people that are involved in it are deeply engaged with the medium and its development. The fairs have become the place where content makers, collectors and readers meet and knowledge is exchanged. The talking aspect can sometimes be more central to this phenomena than the aspect of selling. Not rarely, the ones that have produced the work are also the ones that sell it; there is an intimate relationship between author and seller. It creates a certain atmosphere and it gives opportunities for both the author and the audience to meet and discuss.