In episode 68 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed starting Part 3 of a three part series reflecting upon the history, funding, distribution, cost, creation, expectation, audience and future for photo books. This week he looks at self-publishing, crowd funding and distribution.
Plus this week publisher Colin Wilkinson/Bluecoat Press takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’
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In 1973, Colin Wilkinson founded the Open Eye project in Liverpool, England (that directly led to the Open Eye Gallery opening in 1977). Colin based the project on the Canadian Challenge for Change programme - which was established to give a voice to minority communities particularly through film and the emerging portable video technology. He pulled together a largely inexperienced small group of people and made 16mm films about community festivals before engaging community groups in making short videos. The project expanded and he acquired a derelict ex-public house in the centre of Liverpool on the basis of a six month lease which became a 10 year long residency. This gave him space to expand his vision of a community facility offering film, video, photography and sound recording. The ground floor bar area became the gallery (occasionally doubling up as a cinema) with a cafe attached. During the late 1970s, it became a key meeting place for bands (Echo & the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes practised in the basement below), photographers and other creatives. In 1982, he set up a commercial photographic company and in 1992 he founded Bluecoat Press, specialising in local history books with a high photographic content and published over 200 books until the 2008 financial crisis. Colin assessed his situation and decided that he would have to concentrate on a niche market he had the greatest interest in - and so became a photobook specialist. Since 2012, Bluecoat Press has specialised in publishing the work of British photojournalists and social documentary photographers including John Bulmer, Rob Bremner, Peter Dench, Bert Hardy, Jim Mortram, Tish Murtha, Paul Trevor, Nick Hedges, Hugh Hood and Patrick Ward. The books are available from many bookshops and galleries and can be ordered online. https://bluecoatpress.co.uk
Image: Karen moving furniture from Youth Unemployment by Tish Murtha. ©Tish Murtha from Youth Unemployment. Bluecoat Press
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Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015). His next book New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019.
His documentary film, Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay can now be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd47549knOU&t=3915s.
© Grant Scott 2019