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Photography Research

A research guide created for students in the photography program at Lesley University's College of Art & Design.

Types of Photobooks

You'll find plenty of scholarly texts in the library, discussing an artist's work, a specific technique, etc. But you can also find books full of large images. Some might me a mix of scholarship and images, some are primarily photo prints.  As always, when you do research consider who is speaking, what their bias might be, and whether or not you should be seeking out the voice of the artist themselves.

Anthology: Contains work from many artists, sometimes a comprehensive theme like "icons of the 21st century" sometimes more specific like "Food Photography".  The book will feature many artists, sometimes multiple authors, and an editor to pull everything together.

Monograph: This is a book all about one photographer.  There are even different types of monographs:

  • Photo Project: A book designed by the artist to feature work for a specific project
  • Life's work: A book that attempt to comprehensively cover all of an artist's work, sometimes published by the artist themselves, sometimes published by someone else after their death.
  • Exhibit Catalog: There is another category for exhibit catalogs below that don't take the form of a traditional hard-bound book, but sometimes they are published as monographs.

Exhibition Catalog: Accompanies a museum or gallery exhibition. As a monograph it's published as a book and meant to sell copies and check out of libraries. Sometimes, however, it's a paperback catalog meant to be a more temporary document for practical purposes as people visit the exhibit.

Artist's Book: A book that not only contains artwork, but serves as a work of art itself. The form of the book is part of the aesthetic of the project.

 

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