In the final instalment of the interview series with the Unseen Dummy Award jury, we catch up with the Director of Lecturis publishing, Paul van Mameren, who returns to the jury for the seventh year. We chat with him about the diversity of the photobook industry today and the challenges the jury face during the selection process.
You will be judging the Unseen Dummy Award for the seventh time this year. Can you tell us how the process has changed throughout the years?
Every year the process is different because the members of the jury change, and each time we have to find a way to go through the dummies and find out and define what triggers us in certain works. The most interesting moment is when we come together to discuss our opinions and share thoughts and feelings about dummies – each time there is quite a debate and everyone has to shape clear arguments.
What do you find most challenging in the process of judging the dummies?
Coming to a conclusion and reaching a state of agreement after having discussed all the different opinions. Until now it has been always surprising to experience that, in the end, we are like-minded about winning dummies.
Can you reflect on last year’s Unseen Dummy Award winner, cry of an echo by Malgorzata Stankiewicz? How did the transformation from a dummy into a book work out for you?
Malgorzata knew very well how she wanted her dummy to be transformed into a book, that it should be produced in a different way to a handmade dummy. We had to create a production ready InDesign file with the images and text we received from Malgorzata. That wasn't a difficult task. Choosing the right paper was quite an effort, but I think the end result was really good.
Can you give advice to artists who plan to produce their first photobook?
Try to get as much input as possible from other artists who already produced a book; talk to graphic designers and publishers. There are many details to think about in terms of editing, design, finance. Of course, you must also think about your audience: who is your book for?
Have you noticed any trends in bookmaking/publishing within the last year?
There are many paths that lead to Rome; the variety in how a book is made and published is vast. Many photobooks are produced on a small scale and don't reach a large audience but the effort to produce such a book is no less than the books that have higher print runs. The photobooks published by Lecturis recently show this variety, I like the fact that every book has its own 'story'. It is a privilege to work with so many different photographers and designers and reach a satisfying result with them.
Image: During Unseen Dummy Sessions, 2018 © Jùnn