The PBN competition is open for submissions until July 14. On August 29 the winners will be announced during the awards ceremony in New York City. Blurb interviewed the only Dutch jury member, Claudia Hinterseer from NOOR images, about her passion, the PBN and her knowledge about photo books.
Describe what makes a great, successful photobook to you.
The combination of photography and design is essential for a great photo book. With the right flow of images and the right story, you can make it iconic.
Do you have any advice for photographers working on book projects? Any tips for good pictures or a good book?
First do research before you start. Look at other books and see what works and what you appreciate. It’s good to know what already exists and know what story you want to tell. A photography book is more than a collection of pictures. It’s the result of the cooperation between you the photographer and you the designer or another person who’s a designer. And take your time! With a book you immortalise your art work, your images. You need to consider carefully what story you want to tell. Therefore I would always suggest making a dummy and leaving it for a couple of weeks and then revisiting it. Also, seek a second opinion. Just as a picture, a book needs to add something significant. What’s the added value of your book? Is there some kind of emotion, a story, insight? And: be creative!
What is a favorite photo book that you own or have seen from the last few years?
There are so many photo books I like. Actually, too many to list. So a brief selection with the risk that I might forget one special book. I love Black Passport by Stanley Greene / NOOR. It’s an overview of Stanley’s work, in which he tells many personal stories, very refreshing. It is the result of a very close collaboration with the designer Teun van der Heijden, who has been more than a designer – he was the co-director of the book. Another one of my favourites is A Million Shillings by Alixandra Fazzina / NOOR. It’s a beautiful book. Not only because of the magnificent photography, but also because of the strong journalistic stories written by Alixandra herself. In documentary photography it’s important a photographer knows how to write well. And last Diamond Matters by Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR. Kadir has illustrated the diamond industry from the mines to the jet-set. The concept of the book is brilliant. The process of the diamond, from raw to refined/ polished, has been extended to the design of the book. The used paper varies from rough to shiny polished as the story evolves. It’s very small, like a diamond and it has a diamond on the cover of the book.
What is the most exciting aspect of the photography scene right now? And how do books tie into that?
Thanks to all the new on-line possibilities, everybody is able to make a book and it proves to be popular to do so. Which in a way is funny, for it’s such an old medium. Publishing your own book is no longer for the rich and famous, it has become more democratic. This also means that it is harder to distinguish yourself. Your book has to be intelligent, be able to add value and be surprising. On one side this creates opportunities (crowd sourcing, new publishing possibilities as application for the iPad/iPhone), but on the other side you have to be aware to keep a high quality level.
What is essential in a good photo?
A picture has to inform, communicate information and emotion and add something to the viewer’s knowledge.
How important is the influence of an international photography competition for the new professional photographers?
Competitions can contribute to your acknowledgement as a photographer and it can help you to raise awareness for your work.
What is your background? Why are you asked to be part of the PBN jury?
I started NOOR four years ago. Today I run this agency for documentary photography and the foundation, which varies from the determination of strategy to organising events and projects. Before NOOR I worked at World Press Photo for over six years. I studied visual anthropology, so visualization has always been my special interest.
What is your personal preferences in photography?
Do you take your camera always with you everywhere?
I often take my Nikon Coolpix, a great everyday camera.
Who inspires you?
Every day I work with 10 top photographers at NOOR. These people are excellent and a great inspiration to me. That’s why I like my job so much
Read more about the PBN here.