I am obviously behind on this blog. And now I’m more behind: I brought back a pile of books from my trip to Seoul back in November of last year (1, 2, 3). So there’ll be new content here soon.
In particular, I plan to write about Listen to the City’sProtest as I think it presents a number of useful things to think about in the current political climate. A number of the things I wanted to write about have already come to pass–major protests here in the US and considerations of how to maintain political action in order to effectively affect change rather than simply channel anger or disappointment.
And there are some fluffier books that are more fun to talk about.
And a new conversation about considerations when building a library for an academic institution. It’s been conducted, I’ve just got to find time to transcribe it…
On October 26th, Sangyon Joo of Datz Press came by KPB HQ to talk about her experiences as a publisher, curator and photographer. We’d first met during Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair at PS1 when I stopped by the Datz Press booth. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
MNM: Sangyon, thank you so much for making the time to come out to Brooklyn for this conversation. I am delighted to have you here and looking forward to the conversation.
SYJ: This is the fifth issue in our magazine, Gitz. Our conversation reminds me of somebody we profiled in the magazine, a Korean book collector who collects books about Korea. The books he collects were made by Western people who came to Korea in the early years, a hundred years ago. They saw the Korean people and culture and archived their observations in books. They collected and spread exotic cultures in their home countries. He goes to Western bookstores to collect these books about Korea and brings them back to Korea to show to us. It says a lot to me about how books work and how books can go around sharing culture. I think it is a very interesting job mixing Western views of Korea—we can see ourselves through their eyes and can find ourselves through their eyes. Something really great can be done with books. Continue reading →
In doing a bit of background research for the last review, Taewon Jang’s Stained Ground, I noticed that over the past decade the publisher of that book, Hatje Cantz, has been giving significant attention to work by Korean photographers.
Hatje Cantz has published works by Nikki S. Lee (2005), Kyung Woo Chun (2005 & 2009), In Sook Kim (2009), Atta Kim in (two titles in 2009), NOH Suntag (2009), Bae Bien-U (2009 & 2010), Sung Soo Koo (2012), Hyun Mi Yoo (2013), Yoon Ji Seon (2014) and Taewon Jang (2014). In November of this year (2015) the publisher is releasing Contemporary Korean Photography, which explores how “pioneering” Korean photographers have made a splash on the global photography scene between 1986 and 2015. This is based only on a quick search through the publisher’s online catalog; there may be additional titles in its deep catalog that I missed.
Korea appears to be the best represented country outside of Europe, America and Japan (though if we exclude Sugimoto titles, Japan would probably have fewer titles than Korea) in Hatje Cantz’s catalog. I have no idea why this is, but it is certainly notable. For anyone looking for accessible titles by Korean photographers in Europe or America, Hatje Cantz’s catalog is worth exploring.
MNM: This is Michael Meyer, the publisher and writer of KoreanPhotographyBooks.com; I am sitting here with Lee Kyusang and Ahn MiSook of Noonbit Publishing Co. as well as my wife, Ji Young Lee who will be translating and asking follow up questions. Mr. Lee and Ms. Ahn, let’s start with the easy questions: what is the history of Noonbit and your background in photography. Were you photographers, or editors, or, before beginning Noonbit, did you come from another division in publishing?
Kyusang Lee: Originally, what we studied was Korean literature and writing. As you know, every Korean male must serve in the army, so I did too. After I finished studying I became an editor in a publisher producing art books. My wife, who is the chief editor… Continue reading →
Quickly: Graphic Magazine #30 features interview with ten publishing companies. Check it out.
Graphic Magazine is put out by Propaganda Press. On my last visit to Seoul I picked up Park Sung Jin’sKid Nostalgia published by PP that I’m looking forward to writing about once I’ve had the time to spend some time with it.
I spent a rushed hour swinging through Printed Matter‘s NY Art Book Fair at PS1 this afternoon. The museum was a veritable zoo; to say it was thronged would be an understatement. With all the bumping and brushing of the crowds, I found it difficult to take in the books or to really focus on them. Next year I’ll be sure to go on the Friday when the crowds are thinner and the focus is on seeing rather than being seen. It was a bit of a scene today.
While there were dozens of publishers showing hundreds (thousands?) of books, the highlight of the fair for me was a quick conversation with Anticham and Francis van Meale of the Red Fox Press. I find their books delightful and I bought two to add to the half dozen I already own. Tomorrow’s review will be about one of these books. A future review will look at a broader selection of books by them. Hopefully we can figure out an interview somehow sometime soon.
If you’re in New York you should cancel all of your plans for Sunday and head over to PS1 to check out the fair. It’s hot, noisy and crowded, but it’s worth braving these hassles to see the full breadth of Franticham’s oeuvre. Their new book of screen printed LA-scapes is fantastic (though a bit out of my reach). And there’s plenty of other stuff to see at the fair, something for every taste.
Bad photographer that I am, I didn’t take any pictures. Not even with my cellphone.
This past March, while Ji and I were in Seoul visiting family, I had the opportunity to sit down with Hyojoon, Daiwoong and Eunhye of Corners and talk about how book making fit into their design practice and why they were making books. They were incredibly generous with their time, and very patient with me as I felt my way through this first in a series of interviews. A big thank you to Jimin Han, a very talented artist I met through Sook Jin Jo, who acted as my translator during the interview and generally kept the interview moving along. Thank you also to Yoonsun Jung for her work transcribing and translating the audio.
l-r: Daiwoong Kim, Eunhye Kim and Hyojoon Jo of Corners.