A Show of Hands and a Tale Of Two Countries : Notes from the IPA Photo Books Show 2013

Kevin WY Lee Exhibitions & Events, Invisible Propaganda, Photo Books 1 Comment

Notes from the IPA Photo Books Show 2013


It is now about 2 weeks since the IPA Photo Books Show. Enough time to take a breather, reflect and now, post a few notes.

The most satisfying thing we did last year, can also be repeated as one of two things this year – the other, of course, our first photography awards held earlier this year.

If there was a way to summarize this year’s Photo Book Show, it would be ‘A Show of Hands’ and a ‘Tale of Two Countries’. We put out a call for photo books submissions and the response was overwhelming. The show featured published and dummy books from India, Japan and China, to the Southeast Asia region. While our first edition last year was mostly a Singapore-centric affair, this year was most definitely a tale of two countries with strong and passionate representation from our neighbors and peers in Malaysia at the show’s fair and exhibition. It was most encouraging to see Singaporean and Malaysian photographers mix, mingle and exchange under one roof, over the 2 show days. Che’ Ahmad Azhar even managed to squeeze in a school reunion with his former students :-D.

Signed official poster for IPA Photo Books Show 2013

Signed official poster for IPA Photo Books Show 2013

While we do note that the quality of the photo books at the show were as diverse as the content, we firmly believe that an inclusive start is needed, especially in a field that is a niche within a niche. This is, but our second effort, and an independent one at that. The point is to encourage both the makers of photo books and the market for them – books are a worthy option for photographers to express and exhibit their work, and to consumers “Yes, photographers make books you should consider too.”

Kosuke Okahara presenting Backyard Project at the show.

Kosuke Okahara presenting Backyard Project at the show.

Audiences at IPA Photo Books Show 2013.

Audiences at IPA Photo Books Show 2013.

Twentyfifteen.sg booth at the show fair.

Twentyfifteen.sg booth at the show fair.

Faisal from Photobook Club Kuala Lumpur chats with Jebat from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Faisal from Photobook Club Kuala Lumpur chats with Jebat from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Che Ahmad Azhar presented his first book mockup during the Photo Book Dummy Hour at the show.

Che Ahmad Azhar presented his first book mockup during the Photo Book Dummy Hour at the show.

A few notes on IPA Photo Books Show 2013.

  • Thanks to the gracious support of National Museum of Singapore, our show space doubled this year.
  • We had approximately 1,200 audiences visit the 2 day show.
  • We had approximately 70 participants at the fair section, and about 200 photo books on show.
  • Purchases at the book fair doubled from last year, netting approximately SGD$20,000.
  • There were approximately 15 book launches and debuts at the show.
  • We hosted our first Photo Book making workshop.
  • Participating photo organizations at the Show included Platform.sg, Twentyfifteen.sg, KL International Photoawards, Photobook Club Kuala Lumpur, Singapore International Photography Festival, and Inter-Art Center & Gallery (China).
  • Event publicity 100% online, viral support via community sharing.
Team Malaysia from the KLPA Exposure+ program at the show.

Team Malaysia from the KLPA Exposure+ program at the show.

Tay Kay Chin and Rahman Roslan at IPA Photo Books Show 2013.

Tay Kay Chin and Rahman Roslan at IPA Photo Books Show 2013.

 

Kim Hak (Cambodia) signing his book during his book launch at the show.

Kim Hak (Cambodia) signing his book during his book launch at the show.

Hajime Kimura, our Photo Book Asia Award 2013 winner signing the show poster.

Hajime Kimura, our Photo Book Asia Award 2013 winner signing the show poster.

With Ian Teh at the closing of the show.

With Ian Teh at the closing of the show.

A popular question immediately after the show was ‘What’s next?” An encouraging question indeed, but one that reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do. We’ve received some helpful feedback on how to improve on the few hiccups we had this year that we will surely take into account. The key question we have for ourselves is growth. We’ve had to turn down and forgo some participation in this year’s show due to resources and funding. How can we foster and in turn, cope with the inevitable (and hopeful) growth of this event? Sustainability, resourcing and funding support remain pending questions.

If there was any doubt as to the need for such a photo book festival, this little note from a curator in China gives us some comfort “Your photo books show is a very meaningful event, there is no such show of this scale in China yet, we would like to introduce it through Internet, let more people know IPA and your photo books show.”

A huge thanks to everyone who helped make the IPA Photo Books Show a success from our gracious sponsors, our wonderful team of volunteer hosts, to all the participating photographers and, importantly the audiences who came and browsed and bought books. Hope to see you again next year.

 

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