Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Better by Design: The role of design in the making of five modern photobooks

It seems to me that if you are even only sort of interested in photography you should be making photobooks of your work. The problem is design; it  is something that doesn’t come easily to everyone. I marvel at my friend Andrew Esson, who is a book designer, he instinctively knows how to a design a book that looks impeccable. Then again he has designed books for the UN, Houses of Parliament, the Royal Palaces …. Anyway this article found in the BJP looks at some recent photobooks and discusses the merits of design.

Jörg Colberg focuses on an overlooked aspect of the photobook, discussing the role of design in the making of five modern classics.

In the most basic terms, they are simply books made up of photographs, but of course there’s much more to the photobook than that. Typically they are carefully edited and sequenced, and the selection of the photographs, and their order, are crucial to whatever story is being told. But there’s another crucial element that’s too often ignored – the design.

Over the past few decades, photobook design has become an integral part of telling the story. Classics such as Walker Evans’ American Photographs used a very straightforward design: blank pages and picture pages alternating with very little text, if any. In contrast, contemporary photobooks have come to embrace the many different ways in which the design of a book – the graphic design as well as its actual physical properties – can help shape the message. The following books are some of the most striking examples I have come across. Interested? Read More Here

Broken Manual by Alec Soth.

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