PBN Juror Lesley Martin on Powerful Photography Books (and More)

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Lesley A. Martin PBN juror PBN Juror Lesley Martin on Powerful Photography Books (and More)

The July 15 deadline for Photography Book Now (PBN) submissions is fast approaching. If you’re not too busy working on your book, we thought you might want to take a moment to hear what Lesley A. Martin, the Publisher of books at Aperture Foundation and one of the PBN jurors, thinks about great photography books and which books have been the most influential in her life.

Aperture is one of the oldest and arguably the most influential of all photography institutions, born from the vision of a group of legendary photographers, curators and artists – Ansel Adams, Beaumont Newhall, Minor White and Dorothea Lange among them. Since Aperture’s founding in 1952, it has grown beyond the magazine we all know and love to include a gallery and publishing house, having published monumental titles in the history of photography by artists including Robert Adams, Bruce Davidson, Sally Mann, Richard Misrach, Stephen Shore and many others. Lesley, as Publisher, has initiated and edited dozens of titles.

Blurb: In your opinion, what makes a great book of photographs?

Lesley: Thoughtfulness. This is the key ingredient to making a really great book of photographs. By this I mean that there are a lot of very serviceable formulas for book making and design. A truly great book, no matter how simple, straight-ahead in its approach to the form and design, rewards careful and close attention over time—usually because it is the end result of a series of decisions considered and committed to.

Blurb: What was the first photography book you bought (or consider as being key to your artistic/creative development)?

Lesley: Sometime in the late 1980s, Jacob Holdt toured U.S. college campuses showing his slide show titled “American Pictures.” This was revelatory to me. His photos – both daring and a little bit on the haphazard side – opened a whole other perspective, not only on the sociology of the United States, but also on how a photographer might work in the world, bringing it back for the rest of us in a little, paperback-bound package. I bought the book. I also plunked down the extra cash for the poster.

To read more in-depth thoughts from Lesley on the role of photobooks, see her entry to The Future of Photobooks discussion here.

Thanks, Lesley, for sharing your thoughts and insights. As for the rest of you, the countdown begins. Nine more days to get your book entered. As always, the PBN bookstore is packed with entries that will inspire and inform, but don’t get too lost browsing. Get your entry in today (and enjoy your summer!).

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