The Photobook Club: Books and cities, communities and reading

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Photobook club, created in 2011 as a space to encourage open conversations around the photobook format, quickly developed into an international network generating events, publications and critical discussions, bringing together a variety of voices connected with the photobook with those who are new to the format. Photobook ‘Clubs’ have sprung up all over the world, each reifying an interest in the photobook into corporeal group meetings and discussions - to date there are over 45 clubs around the world from Auckland to Bangalore. This network is the starting point for an ethnographic exploration of the different ways in which groups are organising themselves around the photobook, constructing online representations of the discussions taking place and linking with local and geographically disparate groups.

For some cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Melbourne etc.), the Photobook Club sits within an already photobook-active and discursive environment. For others (Toowoomba, Montevideo, Casablanca etc.) the group reflects an emerging interest in the photobook as a means of communication, photographic distribution and even rebellion. Some communities meet on rugs in public spaces with food and drink, others in more formal and institutional spaces - reflections on the
attendees and the cities to which they belong.

In 2013 a box of books was sent over 50,000 miles around more than 20 Photobook Clubs with an intention to connect cities and Photobook Club communities through seven communal books. These books offered reference points for ephemeral discourse, recorded through the inclusion of two small notebooks. In addition to this informal collection of information were surprising additions to the box at each stop it made - badges, stickers, flyers, leaflets and stamps gave a sense of the different locations and the lack of compartmentalising on behalf of contributors and readers created a picture of a larger, global network.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2016
EventBooks and the City - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Jun 201624 Jun 2016


ConferenceBooks and the City
Internet address


  • photobooks
  • photobook
  • Reading
  • book clubs
  • community
  • photography


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