Darius Himes

Interview with Darius Himes

With the launch of Blurb ebooks, book makers now have an easy route for making ebooks for the iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. And while this is just the beginning, we think it's really going to change things. In economic terms, it's an affordable format that will change how photographers distribute their work. In aesthetic terms it's the marriage of beautiful book making and technological elegance.

We asked Darius Himes, the lead judge of Blurb's annual Photography Book Now competition what he thinks ebooks mean for photographers.

Are ebooks the new photo books?

I'm a firm believer in the “more is more” philosophy when it comes to creative means of expression. Over the course of the last 175 years there have been scores of photographic techniques and reproduction technologies invented and made available to photographers and artists. Both illustrated ebooks and printed, physical books, are interesting endpoints, and I'm sure certain artists will thrive in one arena or the other, whereas the rare individual will utilize both platforms to launch amazing projects.

What do you think this means for photographers and photography books?

It is definitely a chance to distribute creative visions to a very wide international audience without the constraints of physical book publishing.

How could this impact revenues for book makers and the way books are sold?

Hopefully, it'll be positive! It is yet to be seen how people will begin consuming ebooks - illustrated ebooks, I should say - and what price they want to pay. There has always been a market for hardcover, first edition literary books, and that aura of collectability is rampant in the photo book community too. A question I have is if people will see the illustrated ebook as something collectable or not, and if so, how that market develops.

Are there any photographers or artists who are doing interesting things with ebooks right now?

Journalists and artists alike are interested in the digital platform for their work - remember, we've all been trained and have become accustomed to seeing work electronically, on websites and in PDF form. The next obvious step is a self-contained digital project package, aka the illustrated ebook. In many ways, we are all so lucky to be sitting here at the launch of this new medium, attendant witnesses to the birth of a new form of expression. Let's just see what the artists do; I'm sure it will be amazing!

What do you think of the Blurb ebook?

Amazing! Blurb has continued to diversify and push the boundaries of how artists, authors, and photographers can envision their books and their stories.

Darius Himes is Assistant Director of the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. He is a co-founder of Radius Books, a non-profit publisher of books on photography and the visual arts. In 2008, he was named by PDN as one of the 15 most influential people in photography book publishing. His most recent book, Publish Your Photography Book, co-authored with Mary Virginia Swanson, was released by Princeton Architectural Press in the Spring of 2011. He has also served as the lead judge in Blurb's annual Photography Book Now competition since 2008.