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YEAR-LONG PHOTOBOOK COURSE 2023/2024 

Overview


The Nearest Truth Year-Long Photobook Program emphasizes the photobook as a medium. We aim to recognize and promote the photobook as an essential form of expression in the 21st Century. We recognize that it has its own codes of production, its own intentions and interpretations, and its own methodologies to its pedagogical approach that separates it from the general discipline of photography. We aim to encourage the production of more photobooks while also trying to expand its history.


The medium of the photobook is expansive, and though some university programs are beginning to consider the medium as a serious form of investigation, the general terrain suggests that alternative models may be explored outside of the institution. Our course defers to the photobook as a medium and not a subordinate form of practice. We employ the most relevant and contemporary thinkers and makers in our course. From publishers to writers and practitioners, our annual program offers a comprehensive view of the medium with a focus on producing a book. Our extensive list of instructors suggests an unparalleled discourse from a plethora of voices that aim to mine the medium with participants to engage and enlarge the discussion surrounding the photobook.


With the dramatic rise of the photobook both as a self-publishing venture and with its more commercially oriented and established publishing firms, the medium of the photobook has seen an unprecedented rise to the forefront of photographic thinking and discussion. It has been established as more than a fad, with more and more artists using the medium as a term of expression independent of the art market. Showing few signs of slowing down, the photobook medium offers artists an independent way to express their concerns in the 21st Century. Wide-ranging and malleable, the medium is just beginning its trajectory into the annals of serious scholarship and understanding. Our program offers the tools for artists to get more involved with the medium, from the novice to the artist who has already published.


The Program


During our course, we will offer participants three different tiers of participation. The first tier is the most ambitious and offers physical workshop meetings with top-placed professionals and publishers, combined with private mentorships and a Zoom course. The second mentorship tier allows individuals to meet with multiple mentors throughout the year with access to the Zoom course. The physical workshop and mentorship tier will enjoy access to our Zoom library of recordings from the 2022-2023 course. Our third tier, the Zoom tier, gives participants access to over 60 live and recorded Zoom sessions with contemporary thinkers involved in the medium. It allows participants to engage with questions and have a dialog with the instructors presenting. They are recorded for the convenience of playback should you not be able to attend the live Zoom date. 


The year-long program is essential. We believe in working with people and getting to know them and their work through our mentorships and physical workshops to help each best accomplish their photobook goals. Though other short-term workshops exist, we believe that to obtain the best results, the Nearest Truth program is best suited to produce competitive results as it is unhurried, considerate, and in-depth. 


Our course is designed to give participants the knowledge necessary for publishing their work, emphasizing the practical information involved, from conceptual layout to sequencing to production and promotion. We will also highlight a realistic look at the lay of the publishing land and, when possible, give participants insight into self-publishing as a means of expression and practical outcome. We do not emphasize that participants finish the course with a book dummy or publishing deal; instead, we highlight the tools for making decisions related to production practices.


Confirmed Instructors for 2023-2024 (STC)


Below is a list of confirmed instructors for the 2023-2024 Year. This list includes instructors involved in Zoom, Mentorship, and Physical Workshop modules. Though we have confirmed these instructors' participation, it is essential to remember that things may change, and some instructors may have a change of plans. In this case, we will add new instructors when possible if there should be any changes.

Michael Ackerman, Alejandro Acin, Regina Anzenberger, Jacob Aue Sobol, Adrianna Ault, Alice Figus, Thana Al Faroq, Piotr Białobrzeski, Matt Black, Tom Booth Woodger, Simon Bray, David Campany, Alejandro Cartagena, Melissa Catanese, Federico Clavarino, Jörg M. Colberg, Debi Cornwall, José Pedro Cortes, Deanna Dikeman, Matt Eich, Max Ferguson, Brad Feuerhelm, Aikaterini Gegisian, Matthew Genitempo, Helena Goñi, Soham Gupta, Kristian Haggblom, Damian Heinisch, Elena Helfrecht, Todd Hido, Kim Høltermand, Alan Huck, Pieter Hugo, Kingsley Ifill, Matt Johnston, Nadav Kander, Josh Kern, Stacy Kranitz, Jeffrey Ladd, Mårten Lange, Maria Lax, Tom Lecky, Dewi Lewis, Frederic Lezmi, Dana Lixenberg, Robert Lyons, Adam Meeks, Stacy Mehrfar, Hannah Modigh,  Kasuma Obara, David O’Mara, Ed Panar, Ryan Paradiso, Emma Phillips, Klaus Pichler, Nicolas Polli, Mark Power, Kourtney Roy, Ufuk Şahin, Bharat Sikkala, Mark Steinmetz, Myrto Steirou, Matt Stuart, Patrick Tsai, Michael Vahrenwald, Willem Van Zoetendal, Teri Varhol, Bruno v. Roels, Margot Wallard, Christian Widmer, Alice Zoo


The Nearest Truth Publishing Prize


In 2023, Nearest Truth will embark on a new adventure of opening a publishing imprint with the idea that one project from our Physical Workshop and Mentorship Tiers will be chosen for a limited-edition book to be produced at the end of 2024. The concept of the imprint is to also open submission possibilities for those who want to self-publish their books with some help from Nearest Truth at the end of the course. More information will follow.


Physical Workshop Tier Brief


The Nearest Truth physical module of the workshop will take place in three different locations throughout the year. The first workshop will take place in Neu Ulm, Germany. This workshop will be joined by Dana Lixenberg, Brad Feuerhelm, Todd Hido, and David Campany and will be an intensive 5-days of editing and sequencing work. It is compulsory. We are currently exploring options of visiting local publishing houses and photobook outposts between Cologne, Stuttgart, and Berlin to add to the workshop before and after our editing and sequencing session. We will inform participants about the activities as soon as possible, but you can expect add-on features for this meeting.


The second workshop will be held in Istanbul at Mas Matbaa print house with owner Ufuk Shasin and Nicolas Polli of Ciao Press. Nicolas and Ufuk will guide us through the printing process. It is not compulsory, but it will give those who attend direct access to seeing their work printed. It will highlight pre-press concerns and give participants a chance to understand the printing process, a crucial step in realizing one's book. This workshop event will take place in January.


The final workshop will entail pitching your projects to six different publishers and will include an exhibition of your photobook. The emphasis of the exhibition will be to move the book to the wall in new and experimental forms. The location is still being chosen but will likely be either Marseilles or Athens at the end of June 2024. We will decide at the end of 2023. It is a compulsory component of the workshop. Physical Workshop participants will be privy to mentorship and zoom tiers, including access to the Zoom library from 2023-2024. Participants will receive a 1.5-hour monthly session with Myrto Steirou, Brad Feuerhelm, Jörg M. Colberg, and Federico Clavarino. Modules will be set up with each instructor in particular months, with Nearest Truth’s Brad Feuerhelm being the principal instructor.


The final workshop will be decided in 2023. You will pitch your work to six respectable publishers in person and make an exhibition of your book on the wall for public viewing. We will announce the publishers on January 1st when the course opens for applications.


*Physical Workshop participants are eligible for the Nearest Truth Publishing Prize.

* Please be advised that costs are actual and do not include flights, food, or accommodation. Participants are expected to find their own accommodations and book their flights accordingly.


Mentorships Tier


Mentorship Tier participants will receive one 1.5-hour mentoring session each month to aid in the development of their projects. Most of these mentorships will be with Brad Feuerhelm from Nearest Truth as a constant observer and bouncing board for ideas. This year will also be augmented by Jörg M. Colberg of Conscientious, Myrto Steirou of the publishing house VOID, and artist Federico Clavarino. This tier is for those who want a monthly engagement to help push their work along without the associated expenses of the Physical Workshop module. It means regular check-in and absences are permitted only once. After that, it will not be possible to rearrange the monthly meeting. It is a serious tier of involvement, and we expect participants to make their sessions. Mentorship Tier participants will also enjoy access to the Zoom meetings and our 2022-2023 Zoom Library.


*Mentorship Tier Participants are also eligible for the Nearest Truth Publishing Prize.

* Please be advised that costs are actual and do not include flights, food, or accommodation. Participants are expected to find their own accommodations and book their flights accordingly.

Zoom Tier


The Zoom tier of participation has been expanded this year to include over 60 sessions spread out throughout the year, an increase of nearly 25 % more instructors from the 2022-2023 inaugural program. We have incredible thinkers and writers on the medium participating. The meetings are recorded and can be watched later. Still, we suggest attending the live Zoom meetings as the instructors take questions, and what better way to learn your way through making books than having access to probe the minds of some of the finest contemporary photobook makers? As mentioned above, our instructors have confirmed their participation this year, but meetings are subject to change.


*Zoom Tier participants are not eligible for the Nearest Truth Publishing Prize.


Come and join Nearest Truth for our second year. We believe in the medium of the photobook and provide the most robust program to date.


Full Physical Workshop Tier


3750 Euros + VAT

Limited to 20 seats

Three Physical Workshop Trips + Mentoring + 60 Zoom Meetings + Zoom Library

*Access to Publishing Award

* Please be advised that costs are actual and do not include flights, food, or accommodation. Participants are expected to find their own accommodations and book their flights accordingly.

Mentorship Tier


2750 Euros + VAT

Limited to 24 seats

Monthly 1.5 Hour Mentorships + 60 Zoom Meetings + Zoom Library

*Access to Publishing Award

* Please be advised that costs are actual and do not include flights, food, or accommodation. Participants are expected to find their own accommodations and book their flights accordingly.

Zoom Tier


1250 + VAT

Unlimited Seats

Over 60 Monthly Zoom Meetings over the Year


Payment Plans


We understand that the economics of the course is not suitable for everyone. With an ambitious program comes ambitious expenditure, which results in a higher price of admission. We are open to payment plans for people based on a shifting rule of economics to ensure that once accepted for the course and once committed to remission of payment, the participants are responsible for honouring their investment in themselves and us. We ask that all payment terms be fulfilled as per the contract, and to help this, we will offer individual payment plans. This fee will be slightly higher to ensure our position against possible payment negligence. We also cannot issue, under any circumstances, refunds for individuals who cannot attend after signing their contract and after payments have begun. If we can sell your seat, we will refund you, but it is not our job to do so. In short, if you invest in this program, you have to be prepared financially, as we will not be able to refund you due to the high cost of running the course. 


Payment Plan Specifics (Limited to 5 seats per tier)

Please remember that there is an increase in the overall fee structure for payment plans to ensure Nearest Truth against payment default. Once committed to the program, there cannot be an allowance for refunds.


Physical Workshop Tier (5 Seats)


2000 Euros +VAT due by March 1

1,300 Euros + VAT by May 1

1000 Euros + VAT August 1


Mentorship Tier (5 Seats)


1500 Euros  +   VAT due by March 1

1,250 Euros +   VAT due by May 1

500    Euros +   VAT due by Sept 1


Scholarships


We will be selectively giving out full and partial scholarships. A handful of full scholarships will be given out at universities, and the second handful of half-price scholarships will also be given out. We will make further announcements about the half-price scholarships in the new year.


Diversity of Instructors


We have made significant attempts to diversify our program and balance gender. When assessing our instructors and our remit, it is essential to understand that the final program has changed before you have seen it. This includes everything from people coming to the program late to including many potential instructors who have declined our invitation. We recognize the imbalances in photography and photobook publishing and hope our course encourages the expansion of diverse voices much-needed in publishing today. We also acknowledge that our program could be more perfectly balanced and accept responsibility as much as possible or is justified.


Email nearesttruthworkshops@gmail.com if you are interested. We will begin taking applications in January. If you are convinced of your interest beforehand, please feel free to let us know.


*All parts of this program have been deeply considered and are actual as per the commitment to the instructors and the Nearest Truth Team. In the event that any unforeseen circumstances occur, Nearest Truth will do its best to replace or refit parts of the course where necessary. Delays and re-bookings may occur for unforeseen circumstances such as public health, war, and other global events that may deter the program, mainly its Physical Workshop Tier. Please keep in mind that we will not issue refunds in the event of these circumstances but will re-book when the next convenient moment happens. It feels silly and disheartening to mention this, but given the state of the world...

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INSTRUCTORS

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DANA LIXENBERG

Dana Lixenberg is known for her stripped-down portraits that revel in the elemental characteristics of her subjects. She uses a large-format field camera – a cumbersome tool, which necessitates what the artist refers to as a ‘slow dance’ between her and her subjects. The resulting portraits contain an enormous amount of detail and texture, and are as revelatory as a personal encounter. The power of the work arises from its intimacy, compositional rigor and, importantly, the absence of social stereotyping. Lixenberg has been predominantly active in the United States, and her thorough understanding of the country and its society seeps through palpably in her work.


Besides her extensive editorial practice, for which she photographed many cultural icons, she pursues long-term projects with a primary focus on marginalized communities. These projects include Jeffersonville, Indiana (2005), a collection of landscapes and portraits of a small town’s homeless population and The Last Days of Shishmaref (2008), which portrays an Inupiaq community on an eroding island off the coast of Alaska. Lixenberg’s most extensive body of work to date is Imperial Courts, 1993-2015 (2015), which she begun in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King riots. Spanning 22 years, the project tracks the changing shape of an underserved community in Watts, Los Angeles. In contrast to the often one dimensional, sensationalized media coverage of this neighborhood, Lixenberg employs a more subdued and collaborative photographic approach.


Dana Lixenberg is based in Amsterdam (NL). She studied photography at the London College of Printing from 1984 to 1986, and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1987 until 1989. Her work is collected widely and has been exhibited at institutions such as Aperture Foundation, New York (US); Mai Manó Ház, Budapest (HU); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (NL); Centre Photographique, Rouen (FR); MMK, Frankfurt (DE); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (UK); Busan Biennale (KR); Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (NL); LACP, Los Angeles (US); and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL).

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DAVID CAMPANY

David Campany is a curator, writer, editor and educator. His recent exhibitions include William Klein: Yes. Photographs, Paintings, Films 1948-2013 2022; Actual Size: Photography at Life Scale 2022; A Trillion Sunsets: a Century of Image Overload 2022; Gillian Laub: Family Matters 2021; Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara 2021; and A Handful of Dust 2015. He was the curator of The Lives and Loves of Images (the six-museum Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Germany 2020). His books include Indeterminacy: Thoughts on Time, the Image, and Race(ism) co-written with Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa 2022; Victor Burgin's Photopath 2022; On Photographs 2020, So Present, So Invisible 2018, The Still Point of the Turning World: Between Film and Photography 2017; Walker Evans: the magazine work 2014; Jeff Wall: Picture for Women 2011; Photography and Cinema 2008, and Art and Photography 2003. He has worked with many institutions worldwide including MoMa New York, Centre Pompidou, Tate, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Photographers Gallery, London. He has written over two hundred essays on photography, and several works of fiction. He teaches at the University of Westminster, London, and is Curator at Large for the International Center of Photography, New York.

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TODD HIDO

Todd Hido (born in Kent, Ohio, 1968) wanders endlessly, taking lengthy road trips in search of imagery that connects with his own memories. Through his unique landscape process and signature color palette, Hido alludes to the quiet and mysterious side of suburban America—where uniform communities provide for a stable façade—implying the instability that often lies behind the walls. His photographs are in many private and public collections, including at the Getty, Whitney Museum of American Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Pier 24 Photography holds the archive of all of his published works. Hido has published more than a dozen books, including the award-winning monographs House Hunting (2001) and Excerpts from Silver Meadows (2013), as well as innovative B-Sides Box Sets, which function as companion pieces to his books. His Aperture titles include Todd Hido on Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude (2014) and Intimate Distance: Twenty-Five Years of Photographs (2016). His latest book is Bright Black World (2018). His upcoming publication, which was titled before the pandemic, The End Sends Advance Warning, will be published in 2023. Hido is also a collector, and over the last twenty-five years has created one of the most notable photobook collections, which was featured in Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books (2019).

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BRAD FEUERHELM

Brad Feuerhelm is a reluctant writer, a more reluctant curator, and a less reluctant photographer. He runs the Nearest Truth Podcast, an archive of conversations devoted to photography, which features artists, writers, and curators speaking about the medium. He is also the director of Nearest Truth Workshops and the director and editor of American Suburb X. He has published eight books. His latest project Bleak House (VOID, 2022), explores the work of 12 artists producing imagery under an omniscient but invisible force (Covid-19). His previous books include Mondo Decay(Winner of the Ear/Eye Award, Witty Books, 2021), Dein Kampf (MACK, 2019) Goodbye America (Yard Press, 2016), Soft Touch (Chaco Books, 2016), Let Us Praise Infamous Men (Paralaxe Editions, 2014) T.V. Casualty (Archive of Modern Conflict, 2013), and SPBH Vol. II Self Publish Be Happy, 2011). He has also curated several exhibitions of photography- On the Ephemeral in Photography (Hotshoe Gallery and London Art Fair, 2011), Haunting the Chapel: Photography & Dissolution (Daniel Blau Gallery, 2012), On Paraphotography: Uncertainty, The Uncanny, & The Occult (Harlan Levy Gallery, 2013), Supravision: Photography and the Visual Servitude of the Unseen (Arles Cosmos, 2015) The Family of No Man (Arles Cosmos, 2018) American Revelations (Fotofestiwal Lodz, 2019). He has contributed essays for several artists' books for Inka and Niklas, Anouk Kruithof, Rita Lino, Vincen Beeckman, Charles Johnstone, Olivier Pin-Fat, Maya Rochat, Melinda Gibson, and others.

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