Bookdummy Press @ICP

“Book Dummies” is an exhibition that gives insight into the process of making a photo book. It reveals the many layers of the process, giving a step-by-step view of the approach used by the photographers whose book dummies make up the exhibition. Through a selection of dummies, photographs, installations and videos, “Book Dummies” brings together some 50 works by 7 artists.

We show the process of the various photographers’ minds in action, creating stories and forms in the process. These original objects lead the viewer to the images by putting them into broader contexts, and reward us for taking the time to look at them in detail. The dummies as a “totality” illuminate meanings that the single image or finished book cannot.

The objective of the exhibition was to explore and give equal weight to the process of making a book, as much to the final outcome of this process: the book object itself.

The story of Victor Sira in self-publishing begins in 2008, one year after he curated the show Photography Book Dummies at the School of the International Center of Photography (ICP), in New York. “When I organized the exhibition, which included the work of other five photographers, besides myself, I had been working for years with book dummies, bound to this cultural practice [of making dummies] so common among photographers.”

Now a professor at the ICP-Bard MFA Advanced Photographic Studies in New York, where he teaches the course The Book: Imaginary Studio, A Non Stop Process, Sira also founded, with the Japanese photographer Shiori Kawasaki, Bookdummypress, a publishing company and bookstore specializing in artist’s publications.

Since 2008, making books has become an essential strategy for photographers to present and distributing their work.


The Book Dummy: A non-stop process workshop in Tokyo 2013
The course provides an overview of the development of the Book Dummy as an idea and as an object. We will examine and develop Book Dummies to prepare photo-books for publication.

Areas covered are:

Day 01 The Book Dummy:
1. Introduction: A short history of the Photo Book.
Review of all photo book projects of the participants and demonstrations how to make a photo book dummy.
The book assignment: Students start working on their Book Dummy.

Day 02: Zines and Serial Publications
1. The Photo book now.
2. Sequencing the Photo Book.
3. Fundamental Layouts for Photo Books.
4. Self-Publishing & Self-Distribution
5. Demonstrations how to make a photo Zine.

Day 03: Print on Demand/ Digital Printing
Demonstrations of basic of the desktop publishing program InDesing.
Demonstrations how to prepare a book for an online Print on Demand service.
Final Projects Presentations.
Prerequisite: Photo Portfolio review.

Date: 2013 January 12, 13, 14 (On evening of 11th, we’ll have a casual orientation welcoming instructors from New York City and participants!)
At the Reminders Photography Stronghold
Fee: 50,000 yen (Members) 55,000 yen (Non-members)
Limited to 15 places
Materials Needed: 25-40 images (URL link is okay) and a photo project statement in around 400 words.
Application deadline is November 15th.

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Victor Sira and Shiori Kawasaki are founders and directors of bookdummypress .Founded by in 2011, our studio is located in the West Village of New York City.