The final PhotoLondon Pre-Talk with Brett Rogers OBE and Jack Latham. Brett is a gallery curator who has been involved in exhibitions of Photobooks and Jack Latham is a winner of the Bar Tur Photobook Award 2015. The evening was a little bit surreal as London was on edge following the terrorist attack on London earlier that day and while walking to the talk there was the sound of helicopters circling over the city.
As with previous talks I jotted down notes and the following is a summary of my notes from the talk.
The talk started with an introduction of Brett and Jack and the discussed started with a general discussion about Photobooks and their increasing popularity as a medium for exhibiting photographs (Note: Something I expect us to cover in greater depth in Module 3 Surfaces and Strategies.)
The discussed about the fact that getting a publisher to publish your photobook is not easy which is why so many artists take the self publishing option. The advantage of self-publishing is you are in control. Jack Latham said “Self-publish be happy.”
Brett explained in her opinion the physical book is something special as you are able to interact with a physical item. Brett discussed going with Martin Parr on his expeditions to search out photobooks and when on to recommend “The Photobook A History Vol 1, 2 and 3” by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger as great reference materials for the photobook collector. She was pleased to say that OffPrint would be running in parallel with PhotoLondon. There was a brief discussion on the Japanese photobook industr, its strong history in iconography and the fact that many photographers are exploring photobook creation as a performance event.
The talk proceeded to discuss Jack Latham’s photobook the Sugar Paper Theories. Jack explained that he felt many students are now shooting film as a response to the immediacy the snapchat, instagram generation of photographers. In the case of Jack he uses a large format camera to take his images. The Sugar Paper theories play between fact and fiction but tells the story of 6 people convicted in Iceland of the murders of two people who’s bodies have never been found. The title of the book is based on the fact that the theories related to the murders were drawn on sugar paper. In Iceland a number of conspiracy theorist looked into the murders and Jack meet these people when researching his book. The book is a mix of text and pictures that give it a natural pace. Jack has drawn on images from the original police files to create the complete story.
It was interesting the Jack does not describe himself as a journalist though his book is collaboration with an Icelandic journalist and a psychologist to tell the story of the 6 convicted people who’s convictions were eventually over turned.
For me it was interesting to understand the decisions taken by Jack in creating the book and his approach to taking his photographs of locations related to the murders but creating those images in their modern context rather than at the time of the murders. He decided to incorporate archive images into the book to tell parts of the story that took place prior to engagement with the subject. This is something for me to consider with my own project as it would allow me to provide a historical context to my project that would not be possible.
Clearly the decisions taken by Jack had worked well as the book has sold out and was on Martin Parr list of the top photobooks for 2016.
- Latham, Jack, www.jacklatham.com