Art, Books September 15, 2011 By Derek Peck

Is there a book or exhibition during your Dashwood career that you’re most proud of or that’s most memorable?
My first Dashwood publication, The Chance is Higher, by Ari Marcopoulos, and my most recent, Life Adjustment Center, with Ryan McGinley. I loved Ari’s work and had gotten to know him through the store and we’d been searching for a publishing project to do together. He included a few large Xerox pieces in a gallery show in New York in 2007 and I asked if he’d be interested in publishing a book of them. Gilles Gavillet of Gavillet & Rust in Geneva who Ari had worked with a few times designed the most astonishing and original book. Even though we printed only 700 copies with a special edition of only 50 copies it was really well received and allowed me to consider the possibilities of a publishing business in tandem with the bookstore.
     Then, one of the opportunities that project led me to, was collaborating with Ryan McGinley on two monographs published last year (2010). Ryan has a rabid following in the US, Europe and Japan and yet had published relatively modestly produced books. I decided on his series of black and white studio portraits, something of a departure for Ryan, to pull out all the stops and publish something of really exquisite quality. Our second collaboration was a more modest affair printed for an exhibit last October at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. The result of a two-hour design meeting and printed on a breakneck schedule, the finished product was a perfectly elegant cloth-bound book. I’m really proud of it.

During our meeting you spoke of your observation about art photographers tending to fall into one of two categories, those who create to hang and those to publish.
Yes — I feel that photographers can generally be divided into two camps: those whose work is best suited to the wall and those best suited to the page. For instance, the work of Berd and Hilla Becher, whose obsessive documentation of industrial architecture has become so iconic it seemingly would be best suited to the page, but even though their books are impressive it is their prints that are almost always more compelling. Similarly, the rest of the Dusseldorf school — the German photographers who emerged in the 80s and 90s who were students of the Bechers, have produced some very fine photography books: Gursky’s Montparnasse and Thomas Struth’s Museum Photographs, to name only two. But the oversized prints they produced and that became synonymous with contemporary photography in the 90s have an unparalleled presence in person. On the other side, almost exclusively the Japanese — with the notable exception of Hiroshi Suigimoto — are more comfortable on the page where their work is consumed in sequences.
     It’s an idea first mentioned to me by Bruce Gilden, one of the photographers at Magnum where I worked for twelve years before opening Dashwood. He curiously described himself as a photographer whose work was best suited to the wall and yet belonged to a cooperative most associated with the press and printed documentary work and is a book nut with an extensive photo book collection himself.

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