Bruno Ceschel started the Self Publish, Be Happy imprint in 2010 after he discovered that, away from the mainstream publishing industry, “many talented photographers where making experimental publications. It was an army of young self-publishers,” he says.
These self-publishers “were reacting to the ephemeral nature of the online consumption of photography and against the dictates of the market,” he continues, “while starting to shake the moribund publishing market with weird and wonderful publications.”
Self Publish, Be Happy was created to provide “a platform for these new exciting publication,” he says. “A ‘place’ where self-publishers would find support, exposure and legitimization.”
Now, the organization has partnered with Aperture to publish Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manifesto and Manual. “It is not a survey of recent photobooks. It is not one of the many ‘best-of.’ It is a call to arms—a rallying cry to take part, to act, to share,” says Ceschel. “But most importantly the book aims to prompt readers to make photos, to collaborate, and to publish them. In a time where everything is measured against its profitability, the act of making books, is not a nostalgic—or worse—retrograde endeavor, but it is an act of subversion, a flick of the middle finger to homogenous capitalist culture.”
“The act of self publishing has a longstanding roots, from the very beginning of the history of book making,” adds Ceschel. “It has always been an act of defiance against oppression (religious, political, economic, sexual, etc). DIY culture is, by its nature, an ethic in opposition to society’s rules at large. It flourishes in environments of communitarian support, collaboration, and even informal barter economies.”
Ceschel shares with TIME three tips for aspiring self-publishers:
Bruno Ceschel is the Director of Self Publish, Be Happy (SPBH). His latest book Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manifesto and Manual— co-published by SPBH Editions and Aperture Foundation—will be released in October 2015. Pre-order it now.
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