Inspired by Robert Frank: Publishing the Photobook in the 21st Century
Held in the Brown Auditorium Theater at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Moderator: Ashlyn Davis, executive director, Houston Center for Photography | Introduced by Jon Evans, Chief Librarian and Archivist, MFAH
• Alejandro Cartagena, Photographer and Editor
• Manfred Heiting, Designer, Editor, and Collector
• Kevin Messina, Publisher and Editor
• Gerhard Steidl, Printer and Publisher
The publishing of Robert Frank's landmark photobook, The Americans (1959), inspired generations of photographers to embark upon their own artistic careers. His searing views of postwar America created a new kind of poetry for the medium that was distinctly tied to the form of the photobook, and subsequently inspired generations of photographers to use the photobook in unconventional and impactful ways. Surprisingly, the digital age in which we live has spawned a photobook renaissance, with increased interest in publishing, collecting, and scholarly research in the field.
The Museum’s Hirsch Library and the Houston Center for Photography (HCP) jointly present this panel discussion about the current environment in the field of photography and photobooks, as well as perspectives on the future. This program, which brings together a distinct group of leaders in the field, is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Robert Frank: Books and Films, 1947–2017, on view at HCP from December 8, 2017, through January 5, 2018.
For more than three decades, the MFAH has had a commitment to Frank’s work through its collection of more than 400 of the artist’s photographs, distribution of many of his films, virtually complete holdings of his books, and maquettes for two seminal book works, The Americans and Lines of My Hand.