Unconventional Photo Books – Meier und Mueller

- - Book Publishing

Meier und Mueller is a new photo book publisher founded by Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann and Jörg M. Colberg. They aim to publish high quality books that are a bit different than the norm. This book trailer gives you a good idea where their head is on this. I’m guessing the German electro music is not included like one of those new Hallmark cards.

Seems to be a new trend of people wanting more control over the book publishing process or wanting to publish books that the big publishers have not interest in (see: LBM). Either way it sounds like progress to me.

“Conditions”, Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann from Meier und Müller on Vimeo.

According to Jörg “Pre-sales start the week after Labor Day, the official sales start in early October.” The book is priced at $49 with special editions that include a print for $90 and a box edition with a large print and nice box to store it for $350. The book will be sold online only except for specialty shops like Dashwood.

There Are 27 Comments On This Article.

  1. I’m sold – this example is great forward thinking. And the timing for this post couldn’t be better.

    Thanks Rob!

  2. Nice! reminds me of Artist Books. I think it is a natural reaction to move away from the mass markets. We are overloaded with the generic all the time.

  3. As long as they’re open to new names and faces out there, this is a good thing. I love some of the work by companies like Abrams and Phaidon (in terms of the quality of the prints, binding, paper, etc), but they’re so exclusive (to the point of not even accepting submissions) that it the great work of many photographers is excluded from the start.

    • Doug Lowell

      @F, So what isn’t a gimmick? The photobook with left hand page blank and image on right hand page? Isn’t it a gimmick that gets used by nearly everyone?

      • Nah that is just called controlling how your image is displayed. This gimmick is clever but it also destroys all the careful sequencing one might want to do.

        But go ahead, whatever.

  4. Well it’s creative and different. It seems a little complicated to navigate however. Okay it’s a fine art book, not a novel, but still that form following function dictum seems to be stretched a bit. I guess I’d feel better about the concept if the split format served a purpose. I suppose they deserve credit for thinking outside the box (or maybe figuring out a way to charge $301 for a box).

    Also, I always get a chuckle out of demos featuring disembodied hands — just seem strangely impersonal to me.

  5. At first I agreed with F that this seemed a tad overly gimmicky, but I visited the link to the publishers website and found this in the Artist statement–
    “”Conditions” does not guide the viewer. It does not tell the viewer how it should be read, looked through or perceived.” and a light bulb clicked in my head. This guy doesn’t want formal layout and if he could he wouldn’t have any bindings at all, I bet he wishes he could add a random button too (and some German Techno). Cool concept…

  6. thank you for sharing. so nice to see book publishers pushing boundaries. i’ve heard for 12 years that creative book publishing is essential for photography. it’s great to see someone taking a chance a going for it.

  7. Frank Nachtman

    One of my top pet peeves of book design is beautiful images ruined by running them across the fold. Depending on the type of binding, this type of layout can be anywhere from a minor annoyance to downright distracting. The book design in the video takes putting creases in your images to a new level. Maybe if the photographer is going to do a gallery show, they can put a big fold in the images before they get framed.

  8. I have designed and printed a couple books for friends and family. The process of working to get the right flow was most of the work yet as I look back at each of the books, I really wasn’t satisfied. I felt limited by page size. I think my biggest concern is paper, binding, appeal.

    I like the concept/design of the book. I think you actually have more options to the flow of the images. There was a comment about a crease in the image. So what I say. It is a book not a print collection. I am not sure about the loose pages stored at the end or middle of the book.

    I would really like to see one and get the true feel for it. Leave it up to Georg to come up with something great like this, Cudo’s to him.

    • Alexander Davidson

      @ Michael Morris,
      found here:
      http://www.beikey.net/mrs-deane/?p=4102

      “Sharing the book demonstration video — you really have to see it to grasp how the book works — elicited this response from Mariam Khalil, a graphic designer in Beirut, with whom I am collaborating myself on a number of projects:
      I like the new unconventional interpretation of the borders issue, and the fact that the book “does not guide the viewer”, which is some thing we have when the photographs are separate cards, giving the viewer the total freedom of browsing and countless combination possibilities. It’s a clever way to have the same concept of free yet grouped in one unit, avoiding the possible unorganized scattering of photographs.
      I quote: “photography books need to reflect their contents and their artists’ vision, both in quality and design”, and i guess that that is the ultimate aim for every project, where all the materials, colors, layout, format, and typography tell the story with out read ing a single word.

      • Michael Morris

        @Alexander Davidson,

        The book becomes more about the design than the images much to the detriment of the photographs.

        • Alexander Davidson

          @Michael Morris,
          Detriment of the photographs?
          This book is showing something else than just images.

          • Michael Morris

            @Alexander Davidson,

            Yes, but it’s a photo book. And from the looks of it, a photo book that requires two hands to operate (and a decent-sized lap it appears).

            It is also a photo book that requires you to remember to put the colophon and other pages back into the book (in a specific order?), prior to refolding and sleeving.

            What other than that is the book showing?

            • Alexander Davidson

              Dear Michael,
              It seems to me, you don’t feel comfortable with the various possibilities of exploration this book offers.
              And this is exactly what this book is about, the work is about social boundaries, identity and the freedom to take out own decisions…this all is reflected on the object.
              I think we just have different ideas of how a book experience should be like. It shouldn’t always be convenient.
              Hope you the best!

              • Michael Morris

                @Alexander Davidson,

                I certainly agree that my idea of good book design isn’t the same as everyone else’s and shouldn’t be.

                I do believe though, that the design should be complimentary and not so overwhelming as to distract from the matter at hand. In this I feel the book fails. It’s almost as if, given the freedom to design, that the creative team made up for all those jobs where the client dictated design and they let loose with both guns.

                I’m old-school though. I like Avedon and generally buy his books but left the poorly designed, accordion-fold, portrait book on the shelf. It’s such a poor design that it doesn’t even make it to the sale table.

                I wish them well with this book but it’ll never be in my collection.

                I hope you the best as well.

              • @Alexander Davidson,

                If I may chime in, for a moment, it’s not the viewer’s comfort level but the actual photographs inside the book. If they have a message, you do not need pretensions designs to sell the work. Paolo Roversi, for example, doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks. His photographs have the ability to capture the viewer instantly. A photograph should always be able to stand on its own without the help of designs. So you flip one side and you see one set of photos; on the other side, you see another set. It begs the question: So what?

  9. It’s not so much gimmicky as it is pretentious. While I shouldn’t judge the images solely by the video, the work in there doesn’t seem to be fairly average. Is the design of the book the selling point or are the images the selling point? If it’s the latter, then those images should stand on their own without the help of physical designs. If one has to explain their intentions, then the same holds true.

    Show me great work glued and staples together by hand, and I will buy it.

  10. Completely agree about the pretention. A way of making mediocre imagery seem falsely high-brow.

    This sort of thing elevates the work beyond accessibility. Like an undergrad art project.

  11. Anne Sollmann

    Thanks a lot for this post!
    This is a great work finally available as a Book!

  12. Very subtle imagery…
    and IMO a very solid edit…
    Is there a video of the whole book?

  13. The dual binding reminds me of the double neck guitar used by Jimmy Page in ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ Or, perhaps, I’m thinking of the double neck bass used by Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap. I’m not sure which. It is, after all, a fine line between clever and stupid.