Magnum Photo’s Mark Power on Photo Books

Sebastian Song Craft & Tools, Exhibitions & Events, Photo Books 13 Comments

We caught up with photographer Mark Power, Magnum Photos the other day in Singapore and popped him a few questions on publishing Photo Books!

(L-R) Mark Power, Stuart Franklin and Jacob Aue Sobol, Magnum Photos at Leica Gallery, Singapore

Do you still need a publisher as self publishing has become so accessible?

You still need to get it out there somehow – distribute it. It’s not easy. And for me, I think, it depends on the project. Like I just did a project, the Black Country Stories ( which is very much an exhibition. It has video and it has sound and you can’t replicate those things in a book. But this (pointing to The Sound of Two Songs) was always conceived as a book project. I’m a real nutcase for photo book collecting for twenty-five years. I have a lot of photo books. I love making books. I haven’t made enough. I’ve only made five. I am about to publish my sixth one.

On Self Publishing

I haven’t done a self-published book yet and it’s not far off because you know, I am lucky enough to have enough visitors to my website ( to make that work, to distribute it from the website. But I am not quite ready to do that yet. But you might encourage me to do shorter, sharper photo projects. That might get things out faster.

Good Advice

I am interested in the book as an object as well. All my books have been designed very carefully.  I am not embarrassed by any of them which is actually quite unusual because I’ve been very careful. So that’ s a good advice. You don’t make a book until it’s ready. Until you feel that it’s finished.

Mark Power’s The Sound Of Two Songs was voted Photo-Eye Magazine Best Books of 2010 by Anne Kelly, Antone Dolezai, John Gossage and Alec Soth.

Mark Power’s The Sound Of Two Songs was voted Photo-Eye Magazine Best Books of 2010 by Anne Kelly, Antone Dolezai, John Gossage and Alec Soth.

The relevance of books

The reason I think books are special is because having made books, a number of books and many exhibitions, I know that you put more effort into making a book than you do in making a show. In a way, it’s why I always think I prefer to collect books than prints. Most work that I like is about bodies of work and to sort of cherry pick a print doesn’t really do the work justice. I love prints and I have prints that I’ve swapped with friends of mine and have even bought a couple. Books are usually what I am working towards.

IPA Photo Books Day happens today!

IPA Singapore Photo Books Day happens today 2PM – 7PM at The Pigeonhole, 51/52 Duxton Road, Singapore 089516. Join IPA for Singapore’s 1ST Ever Photo Book Fair and possibly the largest collection showcase of Photo Books by Singapore Photographers bar none!

IPA Singapore Photo Books Day

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