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Photonews : Book making at all costs? Markus Hartmann (Hatje Cantz Verlag) on publishing risks, production costs, ...

The latest issue of Photonews once again features countless exhibitions and book recommendations. Including the Saul Leiter Retrospective at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg (Haus der Photographie 03.02. - 22.04.2012) or 'Color Correction' with pictures by Ernst Haas at the Christophe Guye-Galerie.

The Brand Eins economy magazine features documentary photography and photography art – another contribution by Anna Gripp, Denis Brudna and their team of editors.

The 'Nachbilder' exhibition by Reiner Nachtwey will be on show at the Newspaper museum in Aachen until the 15th of April 2012. For over ten years, he has been producing art books with and about photography. PHOTONEWS presents an extract of his '30.8.2006.' artist book.

We were particularly impressed by this PHOTONEWS issue's survey 'Creating books – no matter the cost?'. Markus Hartmann, head of the Hatje Cantz Verlag product division, offers a very in-depth and interesting glance into the world of photography books and their production. You can find a preview here on GoSee. The PHOTONEWS blog goes way beyond the boundaries for a print magazine and adds exciting answers and opinions by publishers and photographers to the discussion.

Photonews: Due to the high production cost in this day and age, can a photography publisher take the commercial risk of publishing the work of a newcomer without any financial contribution by the artist in question (or the acquisition of a sponsor)?

Markus Hartmann: The publisher can indeed take that risk but not very often and not for very long. On the subject of 'high production cost': first and foremost, it has to be said that the cost of print, bookbinding and reproduction has been decreasing over the past few years. Due to the digital preliminary stage, photographers can now take care of many pre-press responsibilities themselves, such as lithography and design, something that can easily save you a few thousand Euros. The cost of printing has also decreased due to advancements in production processes and the increase in competition.

On the matter of newcomers: it depends on the subject, what constitutes a newcomer? For example, we produced the book by Roman Bezjak on modern socialist architecture in Eastern Europe. Most certainly, Roman Bezjak is not your typical newcomer due to his age, but it was his first major book publication, he had no sponsor and did not expect to earn a lot at all (and now the book is in its second edition!). We saved money due to the support of people such as Dirk Fütterer and his class at the FH Bielefeld (among others). To find out more go to PHOTONEWS BLOG.