Radius Books: Artist Weekend 2023
Radius Books, a non-profit unique book publisher is known for their compelling books with extraordinary designs. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, they recently hosted their 7th annual Artist Weekend. Included in the festivities were people from around the country connected in some way to Radius Books – artists, writers, supporters, curators, and gallerists. Overall, the weekend was about ties to community with a strong sense of connection to others who share a passion for artbooks.
This was my second time attending the Radius Artist Weekend event. A highlight was attending the community-wide book fair, a public book sale and “sign-a-thon” including 44 artists and writers. For me, one of the most thrilling parts of a book fair is finding work in which I wasn’t previously familiar – feeling compelled to open the book cover, and then experiencing a sense of excitement from within the pages. This was the case with Jennifer West’s book Media Archeology.
David Goldes’s new publication Unpredictable Drawing was outstanding in so many ways. Not only did David and I look through the publication together, but he explained to me in detail about his processes. Being the Art + Science enthusiast that I am, I was fascinated to learn about his multilayered photographic investigations of phenomena using graphite (carbon) silver, sulfur, and salt along with electricity as his tools. During the book signing, he used the words “boundaries, border and wars” to describe this work. When I asked him what that meant, he responded “In many if not all the works in the book I was conscious of the invasion of one form into another. In the colorful chemical drawings, the color results from an infection resulting with sulfur altering the purer and cleaner silver. In the electrified works the boundaries between shapes become marred and marked by burns resulting from arcing between graphite shapes. The boundaries show the resultant destruction.”
Another memorable time for me during the book signing was a conversation I had with Mark Klett. We discussed the publication Drowned River: The Death & Rebirth of Glen Canyon on the Colorado. He walked me through pages and filled me in on details about the book and project. I also had the great opportunity to meet Rebecca Solnit. The powerful collaboration of photographers Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe along with the compelling essay by Rebecca Solnit offers the viewer a thorough history of Glen Canyon and an informed future of Lake Powell.
As I read the words and looked at the photographs, I felt as if I was present among the small group (Mark, Bryon and Rebecca) – gliding over still water, walking on muddied desert floors, peering between canyons and finally, taking a deep breath up toward the sky. Yet, amongst the beauty, what remains in me is a deep feeling of concern for the American West and the rapid changes we are experiencing. Rebecca writes: “For the Colorado River, victory and defeat are hard to tell apart, and they may be the wrong terms for the end of an era and the arrival of another.”
It was a true delight to be able to meet in person so many visual artists as well as literary artists whose contributions add a different dimension and insight to the works within. Art critic Leah Ollman was in attendance, as she contributed an outstanding accompanying text that perfectly complemented Alison Rossiter’s exquisite book of camera less photographs in Alison Rossiter: Expired Paper.
The long awaited third edition of Publish Your Photography Book co-authored by Darius Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson was recently released. Within the pages, the reader will find detailed information that will guide photo-based artists though the steps involved in publishing a book of their own work. Also included is advice from professionals within all facets of the publishing industry. A bonus is the removable workbook to help readers address book preparation, draft submission guidelines, production timelines, and marketing plans. Also, check out the companion website and 9-week educational series for more resources at www.publishyourphotographybook.com.
Another favorite recently published Radius book, Notations, features photographs by Richard Misrach spanning from 2006-2021. The beginning of this time frame corresponds with his shift away from analog film to working exclusively with a digital camera. Evident in this collection of photographs is Richard’s playful approach to photography, full of magic, surprise and discovery.
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