Mimi Mollica – Speaker. Mimi on #whatsonyourmind on youtube
This years’ mid-year gathering was kindly hosted by Sheffield Hallam University, the theme for the afternoon “The Photobook as a teaching tool – concept, design, making and marketing” was very nicely organised by Andrew Robinson and the photography team at Sheffield. Over lunch we held our interim AGM which facilitated fruitful discussions over issues within the sector and positive ideas for future initiatives. The nominations for the new executive committee were approved and the voting will open imminently so watch this space. Then we were able to shift our focus to the main event with our excellent speakers:
Andrew Robinson, Senior Lecturer at SHU, spoke about the ideas which lead to the development of the Photobook, how the format became established, and was subsequently challenged by new interpretations reflecting cultural changes in the status of the image from photographers and artists.
Theo Simpson, artist/photographer and Lecturer at SHU, in the context of his own practice carefully questioned the fetishisation of the object – he discussed his photobooks ‘What we buy” and ‘Transmission Towers’ and his ambivalent relationship with the format, ‘it’s not everything, it needn’t be precious and can be entirely pragmatic’.
James Corazzo, Principal Lecturer in Graphic Design at SHU, on designing the photobook, provided an in-depth, thoughtful and revealing presentation based upon his PhD research and Graphic Design practice, in terms of what is made, and why decisions change the object and viewing experience.
“The photobook, in both its traditional and less traditional guises, was held up to critical and pedagogical scrutiny through a series of provocative and thoughtful positions. It reinvigorated my take on the photobook¹s cultural position and its possibilities as an experience and offered up some inspiring and very doable tactics for my teaching.” James Corazzo Feb 2017.
Matt Johnston, Lecturer, PhD student and founder of the Photobook Club , gave the audience many points to remember, particularly the challenge to untangle the term ‘the golden age of photobook’ to some a cult, others a circus, he also discussed considering the photobooks life and methods to conduct an exploration of the format in great detail. Matt put his ideas in the context of the afternoon as,
“A great opportunity to get a sense of the multiple ways that the photobook is playing a role in photographic education. There was a great deal presented here that showed some fascinating tensions in the way we think about the photobook and how it operates in the world.” Matt Johnston Feb 2017.
Mimi Mollica, photographer and co-founder of Photomeet: Discussed his practice and specifically his new book Terra Nostra , how he has used photography as a tool to reconnect with his homeland of Sicily. Mimi talked of referring to the cliché, and how he sought to borrow back from Hollywood, the work explores the less than glamorous idea as mafia as a tourist product – by seeking a different authenticity in Sicily another side of culture is revealed.
Mimi also talked in detail about his experience successfully crowdfunding the project as a Kickstarter campaign.
The afternoon really encapsulated the skill intelligence and critical analysis of all aspects of our members connection to the photobook, a big thank you to all who attended. We will finish with quote from the event’s organiser Andrew Robinson,
“The speakers complimented each other really well drawing out interesting issues and ideas relating to the photobook and teaching methodologies. The afternoon left us all with lots to think about and thankfully we have it all documented! The feedback from everyone was really positive.”
Don’t forget if you are interested in hosting one of the Association’s informal gathering’s then please get in touch. They are great a way to receive support to share and indulge your passion for photography.
We look forward to welcoming everyone to Norwich for our Summer Conference, 19th-21st July please save the date, it will be here in a flash.