I was asked to write my thoughts on this subject as part of a forum in the form a blog, meaning FLAK PHOTO and LIVEBOOKS are writing about the subject and inviting others to join in by writing something, linking it, then they re-link it up for an ultimate future post of all of it together in one blog? I don’t know I’m confused too. Blogs eat blogs, and they never be not hungry.

Blogging is a good segway into my thoughts about the future of photo books. I’m thinking the internet is turning into a library or more like jail for your photos. Yes, libraries are way awesome and yes we are all photo nerds forever learning, but how long can you stay in there. It’s like detention for your photos. Saturday school. Your photos need to get out, go on dates, and get into some shit.

What happens next is what’s already happening now. Photogs are deleting their flickr and their blogs and crewing up with only the hardest realist ninjas. It’s hyper attack mode. Photogs are scrambling because their agency just cut them and their editors got laid off. Not to mention, “Oh, you shot this or that, someone else caught it before you on their cell phone and New York Times already spent their budget on those.”

For a photographer, getting published is the validation. It’s in the DNA. It’s past money. And if they can’t get any big names to put them out, they’ll put out their own stuff just like Lil Wayne blowing up off free mixtapes. Notice the decline in big publishers, yet the massive birth of brand new small publishers in this year alone. At one time print on demand services were a sketchy idea, now it’s pretty normal. I don’t think digital pdf download photobooks will ever enter the ring, maybe for press release type situations only. Viewing photos on an Ipod is ok for referencing stuff, but I don’t think anyone would enjoy a viewing a whole book that way.

I think photo books will always be around and get better and better, and in 10 years they will look even better than we can imagine. It’s brewing now. The perfect storm. All these self published titles will make the bigger companies step it up and take risks to survive. Also it will force content and quality up a notch, and bring ridiculous prices down. I don’t think everything has been done yet. I’m looking forward to it..

*The above photo is our hardcover book put out by POWERHOUSE BOOKS a year or so ago, I like to think of it as our first full length recording and all the magazine stuff as singles and b sides. We got lucky..

**Looks like you can get a copy for under $13 now off amazon.. (??!!?)

9 responses to “THE FUTURE OF PHOTO BOOKS”

  1. elka Avatar

    Thank you. This reminds me to start following the photo book publishing community more closely, as much as my thin wallet allows. Shit is about to get exciting, says the optimistic onlooker.

  2. […] Hamburger Eyes has my mostest respect so far. HE is rightly confident in the book as a medium; HE doesn’t uphold a naive belief in the internet or technologies to deliver ALL the goods; and they make a call for real life. […]

  3. Brad Avatar

    Have similar feelings…

    IMO, Flickr has turned photography into random noise with images posted as merely testament to one’s existence – the result being it’s all pretty much fungible. POD books/mags are not far behind…

    Prints and and offset-printed books/mags will always be treasured and demand respect.

  4. rzz Avatar

    im looking into getting some off set equipment. if i can figure it out, its going to be bonkers..


  5. […] 18, 2009 · Leave a Comment Hamburger Eyes have got a cool little musing on their blog about the future of […]

  6. dmtz Avatar

    HO NAH!

  7. […] is the future of the photo book?’ It’s a question everyone is asking in these dark days for print. Should they exist as luxury objects, beautiful behemoths to look at […]

  8. […] out this recent post on their blog about photography and the future of photobooks: Notice the decline in big publishers, yet the massive birth of brand new small publishers in this […]

  9. Tim Avatar

    More on the future of photo books from Senior Product Manager at online publisher lulu.com Tim Wright: http://bit.ly/87FuEK