Things are going to look very different at The Photographers’ Gallery this week. In the first of a new series of experimental publisher residencies, they’ve invited Self Publish, Be Happy to take over their studio floor and use the space as they wish. Coinciding with the launch of SPBH founder Bruno Ceschel’s new book Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manual and Manifesto (Aperture/SPBH Editions 2015), there will be a series of talks and workshops around the world of self-publishing.
Ceschel was in the midst of moving his Dalston studio into The Photographers’ Gallery, but found time earlier this week to talk to us about the interesting ways he’ll be using the space.
“We’re taking over a whole floor, yesterday we loaded a van with literally most of our studio – so a thousand self-published books from our collection that the public will have access to, even our tables and chairs – and we’re going to be running our whole office from The Photographer’s Gallery.
“It’s a chance for the audience to see what what we do, but also to reach out and invite the audience to participate in our activities. We invited some our favourite publishers, artists and photographers to talk about books and what they’re working on in an informal way. People can join in online (the talks will be livestreamed on YouTube) or they can visit the gallery and sit down with us.”
The daily series of talks plays off the organisation’s self-sufficient ethos; Sunday’s talk with artists and bookmakers Anouk Kruithof and Peter Puklus is titled ‘Self Publish, Be Playful’ and Thursday’s talk with Ceschel’s design partner, Art Director at both SPBH and New York Times, Antonio de Luca is titled ‘Self Publish, Be A Team’. Ceschel will also be speaking to the likes of Melinda Gibson, Juno Calypso and Max Pinckers.
There will also be opportunities for the enthusiastic amateur to get involved, a zine-making workshop ran by Jamie Shaw. As Ceschel explains, “it’s a chance to learn about how to make books, look at interesting self-published books, and discuss them with people in the field. It’s a means to give people an understanding and a taste for what’s going on in photobook publishing.
“Our own books and photobooks in general can be a kind of activator of public discussion, interaction and exchange; they create a space. So we thought about it in the same terms – how this new book and takeover can activate a collaboration between artists and the public. I think it’s really interesting to do it in a public gallery in Oxford Circus.
“We won’t just be talking with the usual audience of people in the arts and design who come to our events, but we don’t interact with people who might be interested in photography but don’t know anything about photobooks, so we’re trying to reach out to a broader audience who aren’t already in the know.”
Find out more about the Self Publish, Be Happy takeover and all the residencies at The Photographers’ Gallery here.