Publisher’s Spotlight: Another Place Press
These past months we have been focusing on books on Lenscratch. In order to understand the contemporary photo book landscape, we are interviewing and celebrating significant photography book publishers, large and small, who are elevating photographs on the page through design and unique presentation. We are so grateful for the time and energies these publishers have extended to share their perspectives, missions, and most importantly, their books.
Another Place Press employs a somewhat singular approach in the world of photo book publishing by employing a business strategy that rewards both the artist and the publisher in a balanced manner while keeping book prices low enough to allow for a broader clientele to afford their books. If you head to the web page at www.anotherplacepress.com to search for a title, you will also notice another unusual feature in the offerings. You may purchase a book and a print by the artist in limited editions for astoundingly reasonable prices unlike most other publishers’ limited-edition offerings which can often break one’s budget. As you peruse the wide assortment of books published (and many sold out), it is a genuine surprise to discover that all this is accomplished by a one-person operation with Iain Sarjeant at the helm. Nestled in the wilds of Scotland, Another Place Press demonstrates refreshingly that the passion of photography and the photo book medium are happily coupled in novel ways.
Iain Sarjeant is a photographer and publisher based in the Scottish Highlands. His photography explores both natural and man-made environments, and the interaction between the two. His work is often concerned with change – human impact on the landscape but also the reverse, where nature regains its hold. He is often drawn to ordinary, everyday places – whether in an urban or rural setting – seeking to document and find interest in the commonplace.
He is the founder and editor of Another Place (blog) and Another Place Press.
Follow Another Place Press on Instagram: @anotherplacepress
Follow Iain Sarjeant on Instagram: @iain.sarjeant
Another Place Press has two main principles which underpin all that I do:
- Our books are affordable and accessible. I love expensive, lavish photobooks but ultimately these tend to sell to collectors and other photographers, and to people with a reasonable amount of disposable income. I feel strongly that I want our books to be affordable to those on lower incomes, such as students… to make exciting photography accessible without compromising on quality. So, most of our books are under £20.
- All our artists pay nothing towards their books and receive royalties on every copy sold. This is an important principle for me – there’s a growing trend for artists to pay to be published, leading to those who can afford it being successful. I want a level playing field for all, judged on work alone. So, I believe any publishing project should be a collaboration between publisher and artist… where the publisher takes a risk on work they believe in, and both parties benefit from the venture (financially and in terms of exposure).
What was the first book you published and what did you learn from that experience?
Another Place started life as an online blog, sharing photographic projects by photographers around the world which explored our relationship with ‘place’. I come from a background in both photography and graphic design and had had some experience of being published. So, when the blog really took off and became popular, I came up with the idea of releasing a few of the projects I was featuring as small, limited edition books. I launched around 6 years ago with 3 titles which all sold out within 3 or 4 weeks. Since then, I have published nearly 50 books and 40 zines! The initial book launch taught me a great deal… a steep learning curve indeed. APP’s success from the start was really helped by having previously built up an audience using the blog.
What is the focus of your selections?
Another Place Press publishes photographic projects from around the world which explore our relationship with ‘place’. I deliberately keep this theme quite vague… to allow it to be interpreted in as wide a way as possible.
What are the difficulties that you encounter as a publisher?
Undoubtedly, the most challenging difficulty for a small publisher like APP is cash flow. There are so many publishers, and so many artists self-publishing, that it is never easy to sell enough books to keep a steady financial flow. It’s a full-time job, but one I have a real passion for.
How can an artist get their work in front of you? Any advice for photographers?
I don’t accept submissions for books… for me I find it easier to approach artists directly who I would love to collaborate with. But submissions are always open for our ‘Field Notes’ series of zines (full details on our website) and also for features on the Another Place blog. It is not unusual for a submission to either of these to catch my eye and go on to become a book project.
How do the economics work become the publisher and artist? Does the artist normally contribute financially to the process? If so, to what extent?
As I’ve said, artists pay nothing… APP covers everything. And more than that… artists receive royalties on every book sold. Because these are limited run books the sums are not huge… but it’s the principle that is important. Artists should be paid for their work.
Is the book design process collaborative?
Yes, the editing and book design is very collaborative. Sometimes, artists come to the project with very clear ideas about how they envisage the work being presented, and other times the artist will hand me a wide edit of images and be keen to see what I come up with. But usually, it is somewhere in between… the artist has ideas but is also keen to see what I might suggest. There is much sharing of layouts between us until we edge towards something we both love.
What have you published that has been particularly meaningful?
Every book project is special. Of course, it was really special for me to collaborate with Mark Power… a photographer whose work has been a real inspiration to me over the years in my own photographic practice. But it is also inspiring working with less well-known photographers and seeing them gain exposure that their work richly deserves. So, I would say it is impossible to single out individual books as particularly special. What I would say is that often I make great friends through collaboration… which mean a lot to me.
How many titles do you normally publish in a year and what new editions are on the horizon?
I try to publish around 7 or 8 books a year, together with around 15-20 zines. With APP being a one person venture it can vary a little.
We have a couple of titles currently released for pre-order – ‘295 Kilometers’ by German photographer Martin Friedrich, which follows the interaction of human and natural landscapes along the River Isar, and ‘Low Season’ by Danish photographer Anne Lass which explores life during the dark winter months on Anne’s home island Bornholm… in particular a sense of isolation felt during the years of the Covid pandemic.
We also have several exciting titles coming in the next few months… next up is a book called ‘Passage’ by UK photographer/artist Guy Dickinson which explores Icelandic landscapes… pre-orders coming soon for that one!
On top of this there will be regular releases of new titles within our ‘Field Notes’ series of zines.
What specific support do you give artists? Do you have a distribution network, and do you attend book fairs?
The main support I can give artists is paying them for books sold, and hopefully for the exposure they receive from having a book released.
Most of the distribution is done by myself through our own website, but I do also supply a few select photobook retailers in Europe and the US. I am based in the Scottish Highlands, which is quite remote, making attending book fairs almost impossible… travelling to them is just not viable economically. So, most promotion of our books is done online, though social media and relationships we have built up with websites, magazines and newspapers.
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