Traditionally, books have been used to bring order to artists’ scattered fragmentary practices. Together an editor and artist must work through a series of questions: What is worth keeping? What looks good? What will sell? What do these pictures say?
A variety of photobooks have been or will be produced, ranging from limited editions to chapbooks to pdf’s. Digital technologies, new double-sided inkjet papers as well as print-on-demand technologies have enabled the emergence of a range of new self-publishers – particularly photographers.
The artists’ book and the photobook share many aspects of practice, histories and makers. In commenting on artists books Doug Spowart and Virginia Cooper observe in Photobooks in Australia and New Zealand that their:
….impression is that one of artists’ books key strengths was its closeness to the printmaking discipline and the cohesive bond of makers, critics and commentators, educators, journals, collectors and patrons. As many of these are connected to the tertiary academic environment and collecting libraries, both of which are fighting for their relevance in a changing education and library world, could it be considered that this is a defining moment in the history and the future of the artists’ book in this country?