Grassland consists of 22 full-page c-prints and one digital print tipped in on the inside cover

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Several years ago, a self-published photography book could cost an arm and a leg to produce, carrying the potential to be so costly as to deter artists from attempting the leap of photographic publication. But low and behold came the arrival of the print-on-demand book – an exciting new avenue for emerging or mid-career photographers hoping to show their work to a wider audience. In recent years, the photography book business has seen self-published titles overwhelm the market – I see many of these titles on a weekly basis, few of which have caught my eye with regards to content and image quality the way Phil Underdown’s limited edition Grassland has. It is exciting to see a print-on-demand publication emerge with the characteristics and individuality only larger publishers are typically able to achieve.

via Antone Dolezal / photo-eye | Magazine .

There Are 13 Comments On This Article.

  1. Phil Underdown is a great photographer, though many of his works I find puzzling. I am sure that his book is wonderful in all aspects.

  2. I looked at the tease and I think the images and concept are great. I have a question though. Image content aside what was it really that made you like the book. Was it the size, paper, cover, what really gave it the definitive appeal?

    Do you find the size ambiguous or are larges sizes, which would be considered a tradition sized coffee table book, a run of the mill book and garners little interest since you could possibly find it at a book seller?

    I like it and at first I thought the price was a bit steep but then again you have a limited edition and it is signed and a unique concept that I haven’t seen in the last 35 years.

      • @Victor John Penner, No doubt it’s a deal at $60. I am asking the question of why it has more appeal than other books and why? I don’t see the appeal soley based on the fact that the book is bound C prints.

        • @Ed Hamlin,

          It is personal. You love the imagery or you don’t. I do.

          It is not a book in the traditional sense of being offset printed or the now ubiquitous POD book, they are c-prints, which makes it a collection of physical photographic prints, outside of this I have only purchased printed artists books that have included one C-print and the least expensive book was $600.

          • @Victor John Penner, Gotcha. I am asking the question for insight. I am not questioning the content/work of Phil’s work nor his concept. I thought my questions were direct. So what I understand from you is that you like the book because it is bound type c and you also like the content. Great. I thought I might go deeper that’s all. By the way I like what you do too.

  3. Do you know which company he used to print the book? There are a lot of print-on-demand companies now, but it’s hard to determine who has top-shelf quality.

  4. What’s the secret of getting this at a low price. I mean, you can still vanity publish with a real publisher if you fork out $$$ then charge whatever you want. Is that how this was done?

    • @JMG, The book is 4″ by 6″ prints slightly oversized with white borders, then bound together. I would expect the binding to be the tough part, and probably the greater cost than the C prints.

  5. Hi all, sorry I’m a bit late to this conversation, but maybe I can answer some questions and add some comments of my own.

    First on the topic of the book, how it was made and so on. The book is produced by Adoramapix, run by Adorama in New York. It is basically a series of digital c-prints that are folded, glued together, trimmed and bound. Because of the way it is bound, the page spreads open flat and have a nice thick, solid feel to them.

    Now to the question of price, cost effectiveness etc. I originally produced this book to accompany an exhibit. I really wanted to keep the price down, which is why I went with the smallest size Adorama offers. My goal was not to sell a lot of books or even to make any money, and if I remember correctly I actually sold it at a slight loss. I really just wanted people at the gallery show to be able to take some of my work away with them if they liked it. Selling it through photo-eye and Kehrer/Verlag made it necessary to raise the price to accommodate their mark-up, with the result being that I still just break even when all is said and done. So the question of cost effectiveness really depends on what you’re end goal is. For me this has been a really valuable experience, the support and exposure that photo-eye and Kehrer/Verlag have given is something that I could not have achieved if I had sold the book on my own. It’s a worthwhile trade off – they make a little money and I get my work out to a larger community.