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Printed Matters

Photography is often considered a solitary pursuit. However, creating a photography book is anything but. Book-making frequently requires photographers to collaborate with editors, designers, printers and publishers to realize the best possible presentation of photographic work. Designers, and the role they play in shaping a photo book project, take center stage in a new exhibition at Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW). “By The Book: 9+ Designers” highlights the work of some U.S. designers who have collaborated on book projects for and about many of the most influential photographers in history, including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Imogen Cunningham, Danny Lyon, Sally Mann, Stephen Shore, Sylvia Plachy and many others. 

The show illuminates a particularly fruitful and important period in photo bookmaking. “The designers featured in this exhibition began working on photography books before, or in the midst of, changing technologies, including the beginnings of desktop publishing in the 1980s, the emergence of the internet in the 1990s, and on-demand printing and binding in the early years of this century,” PCNW noted in a statement announcing the exhibition.

The show includes books designed by Wendy Byrne, Eleanor Caponigro, Yolanda Cuomo, Roger Gorman, Katy Homans, Ed Marquand (and his associates), Catherine Mills, Mary Shanahan and Lorraine Wild. Collectively they have designed numerous books for prominent galleries, art museums and other institutions, and publishers such as Aperture, Phaidon, Random House, Chronicle Books and others.

Each of the designers collaborated with PCNW to select some of the titles on display. Viewers will also be able to page through copies of many of the books. Pictures of archival material, including handmade maquettes and mechanical boards of book jackets, will also be on display, highlighting the evolution of book design and production over the past few decades.

Like an enhanced library visit, “By The Book” is sure to delight bibliophiles and photo book collectors, and offer food for thought to photographers interested in pursuing their own book projects. 

—Conor Risch

“By The Book: 9+ Designers”
Through December 13, 2018
Photographic Center Northwest

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