Aperture, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting photography, is gearing up for a big year in 2012. In addition to celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, it has teamed with Paris Photo, the annual French photography fair, to launch The PhotoBook Review, a new biannual publication on photography books, and a new award to honor the best photography book of the year. Aperture also plans initiatives around its 3,000-sq.-ft. gallery space and bookstore, looking to bring greater visibility to other photo book publishers in the gallery and bookstore as well as plans for digital releases.
Founded in 1952 by a group of world-famous photographers, Aperture organizes a wide range of photography-related public events at its gallery space in the Chelsea art district of Manhattan. The nonprofit program published 14 trade book titles in 2011 (and one EPub digital release) and expects to publish 13 titles and three EPub titles in 2012. “That’s about where we’ll stay for the trade,” said Chris Boot, Aperture’s executive director since October 2010. Aperture has a backlist of 150 titles, and its books are distributed by D.A.P. in the U.S. and Thames & Hudson internationally.
Boot was quick to point out the publishing program’s biggest success of 2011, The New York Times Magazine Photographs, edited by Kathy Ryan, a 448-page oversized hardcover publication selling for $75 that collects the best photos from the New York Times Magazine over the past 30 years. Since its publication in September, the book has sold “tens of thousands of copies and had our largest first printing ever,” said Boot. He also emphasized that the book was aimed at a broader consumer market for books. “It’s a model,” Boot said. “It’s not something we’ve done in the past, but we will do more in the future.”
Boot said Aperture plans to go beyond presentation of the photo image to “cultivate the community of photo book makers.” Part of that effort is the debut of the biannual PhotoBook Review, a newsprint publication also available digitally through Zinio, the digital newsstand, as well as a new and as yet unnamed photo book award, sponsored by Leica Camera. In addition, Aperture will be working with other publishers to produce books as well as present and sell their books in the Aperture store.
The house also released new editions of two classic works, Josef Koudelka’s Gypsies (with 30 additional images) and Bruce Davidson’s Subway (with 25 new images) in 2011. And Aperture publicity manager Christina Caputo said the press will release a new edition of Nan Goldin’s 1986 The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a classic photo book that launched her career, in 2012. Big books for 2012 also include two works by Richard Misrach: a deluxe reissue of his Golden Gate, 50 iconic images of the famous bridge in an oversized format ($125) and Petrochemical America ($80), an oversized “ecological atlas” compiled by Kate Orff with photographs by Misrach documenting the impact of chemical pollution across 150 miles of the Mississippi River.
Currently Aperture’s digital releases are confined to prose works and include an EPub edition of Words Without Pictures, a book of essays on contemporary photography, released in 2010. Aperture Magazine is also available digitally through Zinio. “We’re still working on the best way to do e-books,” said Caputo, who added that Aperture’s Web site “will also expand in every way including more editorial content.”