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  • Photo du rédacteurArthur Genre

A conversation with Erik Van der Weijde


03 décembre 2015


You are artist, photographer, self publisher, artistic director of 4478 Zine. You are from Holland and you are living in Brazil. I am working on a PhD about digital influences on photobooks or artist books (books with printed photographies).My main argument is that a new history of photobooks is emerging for 15 years, due to an explosion of publishing pratices. And this phenomena would be directly connected to development and accessibility of digital technologies.


1 ** When and how did you start interresting yourself to photobooks?


I studied at the Rietveld Acdemy in Amsterdam (’99-’03) and had as teachers Willem van Zoetendaal, Frido Troost and Paul Kooiker, amongst others. They were all photobook fanatics and showed us all the good and bad and weird from the history of photobooks. So being in this environment it came very natural.


2 ** Is there specially a book that convinced you to engage yourself in this way?


Not really, it was more that I was collecting some zines from the US and started looking for photography based zines, which I couldn’t find, so I started making some xeroxed zines myself, around ’02. That’s how I really started making.


3 ** What do you think about the explosion of self published photobooks for at least last 10 years?


I think it’s great. A lot of interesting stuff has come out of it, ever younger people who dare to express themselves in books and many experiments are made. Very healthy for photography in general. Although I think the percentage is kind of the same as ever (80% is not good), with higher exact numbers, the amount of good stuff is also higher.


4 ** Did you feel an important changement on photobooks form as soon they were conceved with digital softwares / tools?


Ah yes of course. Photoshop and Indesign being the most important. Without Adobe, there wouldn’t be one tenth of the production of what we have now. Before, roughly, 2000, photobooks were only made by the big publishers, but then suddenly any kid with a computer and Indesign could start playing around with publications.


5 ** To which level do you locate the bigger influence of digital on photobooks?

Content, graphic design, printing, binding an book forms, distribution?


So definitely in the possibility of design, like I stated before, and of course more access to printing, laser print becoming cheaper, and now offset cheaply available in countries like China or Estonia: This is now more available via social networks, contacts with other self publishers via e-mail and Facebook and FTP servers. The same for distribution: Most of the distribution and marketing for smaller publishers rely on Facebook and of course webshops.


6 ** Will "digital books" (dematerialised) find a place in the future of publishing?


No. Probably some hybrid forms, as start to appear now, with augmented reality. I do think the printed (book-) form combines very well with photography, but I can see that other sorts of using photography in a digital way, will become more important. Like for example Instagram is now. There will be much more totally new forms, but I’m not sure if I’d call it ‘publishing’.


7 ** Do you have an idea or a wish for the future of photobooks ?


Well, the market is so saturated now and there aren’t many more collectors, compared to five or six years ago. I wish the photo book could make a cross over to a ‘real’ audience: People who don’t have an artistic background, but who appreciate books with photos. And (young) students who ‘read’ photo based books in school.


8 ** Do you agree if I affirmate that digital has influenced the creation of a new contemporary history of photobooks that started at the transition of our century?


Yes, I was trying to think the other day how many interesting books from the 90s, so before the democratization of the medium through availability of softwares and computers, I could name, but there are much less. All the experiment that nowadays already starts in art school, is a game changer,





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