DEWI LEWIS ON PUBLISHING PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dewi Lewis Publishing has a reputation for high quality contemporary photography books by the likes of William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Anders Petersen, and Bruce Gilden, as well as lesser-known photographers. Here Dewi Lewis shares some advice for photographers…


What are you looking for when you decide whether to take on a new project? 
It’s hard to say. It has to work internationally. For whatever reason we [have to] believe it will be of interest to someone in the US, in France, and in the UK. That can simply be that it’s about a human issue that everyone in the world would respond to. It’s almost easier to say what you can’t do.

What can’t you do?
If it’s very personal, unless there’s funding you can’t take it on. One of the things a lot of photographers seemed to do as college projects at one point was revisiting a house that had personal meaning for them – their grandparents’ house or the house they were brought up in. To be honest, however good it is, the interest level [for that] is family and friends. Also a lot of young photographers do projects about their friends lying round drinking or whatever. Occasionally that works but it’s pretty rare.

What does it take for a great photography project to become a great photography book?
It’s essentially: is there enough in it to sustain a book? There are often things you see, particularly documentary work, that would make a really good extended magazine feature but there’s not enough for a book. And it’s not simply about the number of images. There’s a longevity to a book: you’re trying to create something that someone would be interested in looking at it several times over several years.



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