Indie Photobook Week (part 1)

In anticipation of the third annual Book Fair at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center in Philadelphia on May 5th, I thought it would be fun to spend the week featuring some of the photobooks recently added to my collection. I'll stick to the genre of small edition, independently published books... my favorite kind. I wish I had the budget to buy as many of these collectible books as I would like. Instead, I browse the internet selectively and usually add one new book each month to my collection. My preference is for signed editions under 500, at around twenty dollars each.

First up is a fun little book by Joseph Putrock called Twentysix Gas Cans.

Twentysix Gasoline Cans by Joseph Putrock

A nice little take-off of the iconic Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha, published in 1962. Putrock offers us relatively banal images that when presented in series attain a subtle irony and charm. The ubiquitous red gasoline can showing up in various suburban settings. Its a fun book to browse through and I found myself chuckling as I turned the pages, wondering where the little red can would appear next. Twentysix Gasoline Cans is printed in an edition of 300. I got number 13 with a nice note from Putrock thanking me for buying the book.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Ed Ruscha

The book is the first venture into photobook sales by Small Batch Editions. I asked Melissa Stafford, who runs SBE, to tell me a little about this book and plans for future offerings...

Yes, Twentysix Gasoline Cans is our first book release - sort of an experiment to see how limited edition artist books would be received (and so far, the feedback has been really encouraging).
 Joe's book came to me already packaged, but in the future (as I would love to release more titles going forward), Small Batch Editions will have a greater involvement in shaping the project and designing the final output. All of the editions on SBE come from series / bodies of work, and publications are the next inevitable and natural progression to help photographers fully realise their ambitions. Our aim is to publish books that are more objects, and smaller runs (under 500)  
 As of right now, we have a few projects in the works, including 'From a Small Island', a work in progress from photographer Andrew Jackson ( 'From a Small Island' examines the legacy and lives of migration. Jackson's parents both came to Britain from Jamaica in the 1950's, and the project is an opportunity to explore that generation and their experiences in England since their journey.
We also hope to put out more projects from Joe Putrock, who is working on a series of conceptual photo books with subjects ranging from something as specific as parking lots to things as grand-reaching as the universe. 

Melissa Stafford is an independent curator and art consultant based in Upstate New York. Melissa made a name for herself as the Director of Carrie Haddad Photographs, in Hudson NY, a position she held from 2008 to 2011. Previously, she was Assistant Director of the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY for nearly six years. Throughout her time with Haddad, Melissa played an integral role in the mounting of more than 75 exhibitions. In addition to Small Batch Editions, Melissa is director of Stafford Contemporary, representing a select group of artists working in a wide variety of artistic approaches, including, photography, works on paper, sculpture, paintings, video and installations.

Small Batch Editions

Stafford Contemporary

Joseph Putrock

Third Annual Book Fair at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center