Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Photobook, Top Ten lists, a comment from Joachim Schmid

David Kregenow - Joachim Schmid

Joachim Schmid is a Berlin based artist who has worked with found photography since the early 1980s, he is a consummate and prolific maker of bookworks which is at the core of his practice. Wikipedia says this: ...Yet the fundamental richness of Schmid’s photographic raw material – along with the sardonic wit he so often displays – derails any attempt to read his work as pure anthropology or social science. His artistic preoccupations reflect a close observation of photographic history and a fascination with photographic images themselves in all their alternately bizarre and conventionalized aspects.

Recently Schmidt was asked to prepare a photobook best-of-list, He had this to say:
Dear … Thank you very much for your enquiry. I know I should feel honoured to be regarded as one of the experts on photobooks, but let me be honest: I am rather confused.
First of all, I have to admit I don’t understand much about photobooks, or even worse, I don’t even know what a photobook is. I know, people tried to establish definitions but the ones I know seem to be rather useless. I do more or less regularly look at books, and some of the books I look at or I buy do include photographs; some of them do contain nothing but photographs, but I would not necessarily call them photobooks. Some of the books I look at or I buy are about photography and not all of them include any photographs. Are these also photobooks? To make things worse, some of these books are not explicitely about photography but I think I learn a lot about photography by reading them. Things are complicated. “Photobook” is not a very useful category.

You can read Joachim Schmid's response in full on his website HERE.

If you are interested in looking at an over-view of Schmid's practice there are still copies available of the wonderful hard-back Steidl book - Joachim Schmid: Photoworks 1982-2007. With essays by Frits Gierstberg, Joan Fontcubert, and Val Williams among others, for anybody interested in the dynamics of working with found photography, this book is a must have.

Joachim Schmid: Photoworks 1982-2007