Mark Power – Magnum Photos

Mark Power a Magnum Photographer shared his story of book publishing. Mark explained that his books and exhibitions borrow from each other though he did say that having large exhibition pieces means that storage costs can be high and advised the group that having smaller pieces is something he would have considered with hindsight.

Mark explained that his first book Shipping Forecast was inspired by a tea towel that showed the different areas shipping forecast areas. When researching for the project he collected shipping forecast recordings and visited the different locations multiple times. The areas without a coastline presented some problems as to how he would get to take photographs in those locations. A ferry provide the solution to taking photographs in German Bight. The language used for the shipping forecast could be viewed as abstract and the images were adapted to reflect the text. What is interesting about Shipping forecast is the book broke out of the photobook market and appealed to other groups which helped increase awareness of the book.

Mark’s second book was based on the London A-Z and those locations that were just off the edge of the London A-Z maps. The book was titled “26 Different Endings’ and only consists of 27 images. One of the challenges was editing the images down to the final 27 that appeared in the book. The images were paired with an essay by a writer that helped create the overall product.

Mark’s book Superstructure was a story about the building of the Millennium Dome which was published by Harpers and Collins because there was government funding for millennium projects. The site was filmed from different perspectives aerial photography, ground level and under sodium lights once the outer shell started to take shape. The final images were taken at the opening ceremony with one long exposure image spanning the two centuries.

The book “Treasury Project” was the story of the redevelopment of the Treasury building in Whitehall. The book was was created as a 1500 print run. 500 of the books went to art museums and the remaining 1000 books were given to the architects for distribution.

Mark visited Poland as part of a Magnum project to record the story of countries joining the Europe Union and returned to the country multiple times over the next 5 years. From those visits Mark created a book called Mass that contains images of Catholic Churches. The book has a unique page format that required a special manufacturing process.

Mark then explained the story of the first book that he has self-published about the fall of the Berlin Wall to be published on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mark engaged with a Polish designer and the whole design process was done via email. The book made use of newspaper archive material including the book title using the typeface from a paper published in 1989. The book was printed in Poland and the 1000 copies cost £10K to print.

The books are being sold through an online bookstore. Mark felt that being a Magnum photographer certainly helps with his profile when self-publishing.

References

  • Power, M. (2002). The Treasury project. Maidstone, Kent: Photoworks in association with Exchequer Partnership.
  • Power, M. and Chandler, D. (1998). The shipping forecast. London: Zelda Cheatle Press in association with Network Photographers.
  • Power, M. (2007). 26 different endings. Brighton: Photoworks.
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