Publisher’s Spotlight: Datz Press
This month is all about 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.
Datz Press is an art book press that works with photographers, designers, and bookmakers. They create and publish books centered on photography and curate exhibitions at Datz Museum of Art and their project space D’arkroom. They advocate for the growth of participatory artistic activity through art through publications, exhibitions, and art education programs.
Today photographer and book artist Sal Taylor Kydd interviews publisher Yeaijn Choi.
Follow Datz Press on Instagram: @datzpress
Our first publication was Magazine Gitz vol.1, published in celebration of the beginning of Datz. Connecting Datz Press and Datz Museum of art, Magazine Gitz vol.1 helped us expand our understanding on the role and identity of a press and how an exhibition becomes a book and how a book becomes an exhibition. Magazine Gitz continued to be an annual publication with 10 volumes currently published as we approach our 11th year as a press.
What is your mission as a publisher?
We are a community of creators, curators, art enthusiasts, and spectators of the art world, for whom the work and life of sharing art grows from pure motives. We value craftsmanship in our handmade books and focus on creating a book object that seamlessly translates the medium of photography into the book form and also archives the spirit of the artist. As a press, we explore the interesting transitions between book space and exhibition space of photography.
How big is your organization?
Datz Press is a small family of designers, bookmakers, photographers, and creatives. Along with our press, we run and manage Datz Museum of Art and D’arkroom, a project space designed as a bookstore where we hold exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.
What are the difficulties that publishers face?
A constant challenge we face as a publisher is promoting and distributing our own books.
Are there any publishing projects that have been particularly meaningful to you?
We’ve published around 80 publications so far as a press, varying in editions as little as 15 to as much as 500. Every single project is very meaningful to us and each book carries its own significance in our catalog. We learn something new on every publication project we work on so we hold every title very close to our hearts.
What upcoming projects are you excited about?
We are currently working on an artist book project with Chris McCaw which we hope to release early next year. He has shown his work at our museum (Datz Museum of Art) as a part of our show titled ’Tracing Light’ but this is our first publishing project together so we are very excited.
How can an artist get their work in front of you? Do you have any advice for photographers?
We have an open submission for those who want to publish or simply create a photobook but don’t know how. Artists are free to send their portfolio, resume, and project proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. We review the submissions as a team and get back to the artist as soon as we can.
What is the typical timeline of a project, from the beginning to the finished product?
Timeline of a project varies on the specifications of each book but usually, it would take around 3-4 months to design and work out the details of the project with an artist and around 2-3 months to complete production.
How collaborative is the design process with the artist?
Some artists approach us with a very specific book design in mind. In these cases, our designers are working to fit the work in a more fluid manner into the book form rather than creating an entirely new project. In other instances, an artist would come to us with a series of works and say “I want to make a book.” Then our designers get more involved in the design process.
How is the financial side of the project structured between publisher and artist? Does the artist contribute to production cost?
Most of our books are produced through funds provided by the artist. Artists bring grants or project funds to cover the production costs of our handmade books.
What support do you give artists in terms of marketing or distribution? Do you attend book fairs?
Datz Press manages marketing and distribution of its publications. We distribute through book fairs such as the Printed Matter Art Book Fair, CODEX, or Unlimited Edition (Korea) and also our online store.
Maine-based photographic artist and writer Sal Taylor Kydd uses various photographic media in a personal narrative that explores themes around memory and belonging; combining her poetry with alternative processes of photography and object-making.
Sal’s fine art photographs have been exhibited throughout the country and internationally, including Barcelona, San Miguel De Allende, Portland, Boston and Los Angeles; and she has been featured in numerous publications, including Don’t Take Pictures Magazine, Lenscratch, Diffusion Annual and The Hand magazine.
Sal has self-published a number of books combining her poetry with her photographs. Her books are in private and museum collections throughout the country including The Getty Museum, Bowdoin College, The Peabody Essex Museum and the Maine Women Writers Collection at the University of New England. Sal’s latest book “Yesterday”, produced by Datz Press, is a limited edition book of poems and photographs that explores our sense of loss around the pandemic of 2020.
Originally from the UK, Sal earned her BA in Modern Languages from Manchester University in the UK and has an MFA in Photography from Maine Media College in Rockport, where she now lives with her husband and two children.
Follow Taylor Kydd on Instagram: @sal.taylorkydd
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