Hi there. This is a Tumblr that was put together as a way to present highlights from the Future of Photobooks project produced by Miki Johnson (RESOLVE Blog) and Andy Adams (FlakPhoto). It should still make sense if you just look through it as is, but if you saw Miki’s presentation at the Apple Store or Andy and Miki present at Flash Forward Festival, you may want to pick a specific version (where it says “Choose your presentation”). Thanks!
Spurred by a feature on FlakPhoto highlighting the winners of Blurb’s Photography.Book.Now contest, RESOLVE teamed up with Andy Adams, creator of the online photography showcase, to build a month-long cross-blog discussion around the Future of Photobooks. It started in December, 2009, and ran through January 2010.
In order to include as many viewpoints as possible, we asked bloggers to contribute posts, shared some of their best ideas, then brought it all back to a central point where readers could grasp the larger issues more easily. You can see the results in these three discussion posts, each moderated by a contributing blogger.
Those discussions addressed three ideas: photobook CREATION, CONSUMPTION, and DISTRIBUTION. And those are loosely the categories that are explored in this presentation.
From Wikipedia: “The act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an “open call” to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.”
* We’re going to be talking about “crowdsourcing” a lot, so here’s a quick definition. A classic example is a users forum. The old model is: I come to the Apple Genius Bar if I have a questions about my new iPad. That still happens, but the other option is to go on the Apple forums where other users are answering each others questions. Instead of information coming from one source (Apple), it’s coming from lots of different ones and being organized by Apple, ultimately saving both them and the user time and energy.
# of posts by contributing bloggers = 54
# of comments + responses = 197*
# of unique viewers = 13,700*
Moral of the story? Involving a large group of people from the beginning means an idea or project can spread wider, faster because those same people are invested in seeing it do so.
*For the RESOLVE blog alone. The impact across the other 54 blogs was obviously even greater.
“Allow us to rephrase this inquiry into something more active and, we hope, productive: What SHOULD photobooks look like in 10 years? The fact is, we are the ones who will decide.”
~From The Future of Photobooks
We quickly realized that asking people to “predict” what photobooks would look like in 10 years was somewhat futile, and not our original intention. What we want to do is expand people’s concepts of what a photobook COULD or SHOULD be in the future. And also to help everyone realize that that future is their own to shape.
With options like wedding album books and print-on-demand magazines, literally everyone can now publish their own book. So when we say, “We are the publishers of the future,” we mean it quite literally.
Before you decry the rise of digital publishing and the “death” of physical photobooks, you’ll probably want to know that the number one thing we heard during this project, over and over again, was that people LOVE their photobooks. They may decrease in number, they may change their main purpose, but we don’t think they’re going away any time soon.
Rachel M. Wolfe