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October 24 – November 15

On Friday, October 24 Micamera opened the pop-up store dedicated to Journal. On the tables, a selection of volumes published by the Swedish imprint that Gӧsta Flemming founded in 1991. We have managed to bring Flemming to Milan for the opening days, together with Joakim Kocjancic, author of the recently released Paradise Stockholm – volume # 101 of the imprint. The pop-up store is an initiative aiming at promoting a selected publisher, showing its titles, explaining its history, listening to its authors. It also aims at creating opportunities to meet and know the people who work for the production of a book and to create an opportunity for ocal potographers. Over the weekend, in collaboration with the Ethic Photography Festival in Lodi (Milan), we have therefore a portfolio review with Mr Flemming and a conference by Danish photographer Tina Enghoff.

Journal has no website and there is very little information on line – Gӧsta Flemming speaks mainly through his beautiful photobooks – as it used to be.

Of course communication with the customers is therefore more difficult, but Flemming strongly believes in a selected network. He is always at photography festivals and collaborates with a number of specialized bookstores. A policy that allowed him to keep prices as low as possible and build a network of relationships.

How did it all begin? In March 1991, Flemming read In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography by Fred Ritchin (Aperture, 1990) and thought it would have been a great idea to invite  Ritchin to the Göteborg Festival in fall. But time was short and no publisher would manage to make a Swedish version of the book within a few months, so Flemming decided to do it himself. In September Bildens förändrade värld appeared on the bookshelves and  Ritchin participated to the festival. Journal was born. A publisher that would always show a strong personality – clearly reflecting the taste and the character of its founder.

Beside some anthologies made on assignment, it is an imprint that publishes and invests in its own volumes following a policy of the heart. In other words, it is Gӧsta Flemming who chooses the titles, sometimes also doing the design and the production, and then the promotion and sale. Himself a book collector, he says he publishes only books he would buy. Of course there is a good part of the Nordic scene, as documented by the presence of photographers like Anders Petersen, JH Engström, Lars Tunbjörk and Rikard Laving – just to name a few – but Journal publishes also the new generation with authors like Kocjancic or Sara Skorgan Teigen – whose beautiful Fractal State of Being has also just been nominated for the Paris Photo/Aperture book award. This said, Flemming sees also very well beyond the Scandinavian horizon and his catalogue has a good place also for authors like Gregoire Eloy and Ken Grant (not to miss is his recent No Pain Whatsoever).

The first books were essays. The first photobook came in 1993 and was Lars Tunbjörk with Landet Utom Sig (Country Beside Itself) , today an expensive collectable item, also included in the Photobook II by Parr and Badger. Immediately afterwards, in 1994, came a small black and white volume with photographs by Micke Berg and words by Nina Lekander: Stockholm Blues.

For some years,  Flemming continued publishing 3 or 4 titles per year, working also for a magazine. Four years ago he decided to dedicate his time exclusively to the publishing activity and since then, Journal has started publishing 9 or even 10 titles per year.
For Gӧsta Flemming, the book is always the result of a close relationship with the author. If bookmaking was a squash game, he would be the wall in front, absorbing the energy of the ball and having it bounce back to the desired spot.

Journal is a one-man business: there is no staff, nor a unique and pre-defined way of doing things. The process of making a book follows the author, the project and the situation. Sometimes the photogapher works with a designer, other times it is Flemming who designs the book. Editions rank between 500 and 1500: small productions, but carefully curated in every detail.
Together with distribution, that Journal now takes care of directly, the other big problem of photobook publishing is high production costs. Sweden has a good grant sistem for artists so money often comes from Institutions.

Of course, each book has its own story. Sometimes, the author has a clear idea in mond. Other times, the book is the result of  long and open process – this was the case of Du mich auch, that gathers material that Anders Petersen shot during the Café Lehmitz period…

Joakim Kocjancic _ Paradise Stockholm

Birka Paradise was a boat, like an artificial paradise where it was always party and holiday, 24 hours a day. Many times, foreigners might have this idea of Scandinavia – as a perfect place. Paradise Stockholm is Kocjancic’s personal vision of the city, his relationship with the place, where he lives since 2006. Images are taken over a long period of time but particularly in 2011, when he could dedicate more time to this project. Some are iconic places and other more linked to ordinary life.
Kocjancic’s photography is honest, emerges through his feelings, is never staged. The text in the book is by writer Ulf Peter Hallberg, the design is by Jonas Westman.

The work is black and white but the cover is colorful and pop. It is an enlargement of a section of another image included in the book, to which Kocjancic and Westman have added colors from an advertisemet seen at the airport. The ad spoke of paradise and and it was just perfect.

Tina Enghoff_Seven Years / Migrant Documents

Tina Enghoff’s works aim at changing something in the society they describe. Through different media (video, sound and photography) and drawing inspiration from the world of art and from staged photography, Enghoff realizes participated projects in which the main character of the story is actively involved. The works she realizes are exhibited in galleries and museums, but they also go public, trying to find new ways of reaching and involving others. They become projections on the city walls, exhibitions in public spaces, but also postcards and of course books.
In a passionate conference, Tina Enghoff has told the audience how she uses art and photography to do political activism, to try changing something in our society.

Seven Years (2010) refers to a law introduced in Denmark in 2001 to stop marriages of convenience. According to this law, women who marry a man with Danish citizenship cannot divorce for seven years – or they can be expelled. Seven years deals with the isolation of women coming from non-Western countries who are victims of violent husbands. For these women, the choice is often between expulsion and violence
Today, years have been reduced to five, probably also following the work by Enghoff and the debate that it has stirred.

Migrant Documents (2013) is a complex work, made of various parts. It focuses on the illegal, homeless immigrants in Denmark and examines their situation and living conditions. At the same time, the project is also about putting different perspectives on Copenhagen: How does one experience Copenhagen as a tourist? And as a migrant?
The project Migrant Documents includes more series of photographs, a video (and in the exhibition also a sound piece) and postcards with images taken by African migrants in Denmark. The book, published by Journal, has been designed by the artist and associates these different parts in a very effective way.

Other authors published by Journal who have been at Micamera:
Martin Bogren_Ocean (2008)
Gregoire Eloy_A Black Matter (2012)
Anders Petersen Indications / Indicier with Strömholm, Petersen, Gustavsson (1996), Photographs / Fotografier 1966-1996 (1997),  Du mich auch (2002) and Close Distance (2002). A new title will be published in 2015.

You can purchase Journal’s photobooks at Micamera. HERE our on line bookstore. Signed copies available!

Date: November 29, 2014