The independent publishing community is, to me, one of the more interesting facets of what’s happening in photography right now. It’s exciting to see people taking it upon themselves to create their own opportunities and explore different means of getting their work out to others. With the deluge of photo books and zines that have come in recent years, though, it’s hard not to feel at once overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work being published and underwhelmed by the range of quality within. DIY zines have their place, certainly, but it seems that we too often encounter releases whose content is weakened by financial restraints (subpar printing quality, color photos printed in black and white) or whose creators haven’t given sufficient consideration to the implications of presenting an artist’s work in book form.
Neither can be said of the publications put out by Gottlund Verlag. Established by Nicholas Gottlund in 2007, this small publishing house has made its name producing work of the highest standards, both in terms of content (its catalog includes the likes of Peter Sutherland, Estelle Hannia, Sam Falls, and Jason Fulford) and in the quality of the objects themselves. Splitting its operations between an office in Baltimore and a barn tucked away in a wooded valley in rural Pennsylvania, the Verlag produces gorgeous, expertly-crafted artist books in limited editions (usually 50-1,000 copies), as well as an array of other items including book boxes, slip cases, posters, and woven photo blankets. Design, printing, and binding for each project is done almost entirely in-house and by hand, and while each work uniquely reflects the vision of the artist in question, Gottlund’s aesthetic – simple and clean design, experimental use of traditional printing techniques – remains evident throughout.
This, to me, is the embodiment of what an independent photobook publisher should strive to be.
As if his contributions to publishing weren’t enough, Nick’s also an excellent photographer in his own right. His works include Wild Prayer (acquired by the Whitney Museum Library) and the upcoming Possessions.
I’ll finish up with some shots of the studio – seriously romantic stuff.