Once a niche corner of photography, photobooks have grown exponentially in recent years. On the one hand, less expensive production has allowed some photographers to get their work out into the world without the need of an intermediary. On the other, limited edition photobooks of more prominent photographers have become collector’s items in their own right.
In Martin Parr’s seminal work on the topic, The Photobook: A History Vol I, II, and III, he argues that in the form of a photobook, photography enables a kind of interpretation that is otherwise not possible from a single contextless image. Put simply, “the combination of remarkable images and good design in a book that is beautiful to open and pleasurable to leaf through is an ideal way of conveying a photographer’s ideas and statements.” While a gallery or museum wall offers a public display of photography, a photobook facilitates a private and even intimate reading of a photographer’s work and indeed, their world, even if the message may be elusive at times.
With The Photobook Show, Gulf Photo Plus is encouraging the community to engage with work from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, showcasing a unique sampling of more than 30 photobooks from 12 different countries. The exhibition highlights a wide spectrum of photobook forms including handbound, experimental booklets from Bon-Gah, an artist collective in Tehran, to a 630-page publication by Ahmed Mater from Saudi Arabia, documenting the changes taking place in the cityscape of modern-day Makkah. Through this collection, we are able to examine both contemporary photography practices as well as historical documentation of life in the region from a photographer’s perspective.
Running in parallel to the exhibition, we will be hosting a series of talks about photobooks. Attendance is free, but registration is a must!
Mon, April 23 at 7pm: GPP Talks with Sanne De Wilde | The Island of the Colorblind
Wed, April 25 at 7pm: GPP Talks with Daniel Donnelly | Talking Photobooks
Stay tuned for upcoming talks.