Image: Alpine Star by Ron Jude from the publisher’s website
Recently, A-Jump Books answered a few of Karen’s questions about their publishing company. A-Jump Books is based in Ithaca and has published numerous photography books. You can see and purchase books from their books at the May 6th Arcades Project.
K: What inspired you to start making artists books?
AJ: We’ve both always loved the experience of encountering art through books, and find it’s an important component to who we are as artists and consumers of art. The medium of photography also lends itself very well to the book format. When we first started A-Jump, we felt there was a niche to be filled for inexpensive, yet quality photo-based artist’s books. With the exception of a few independent presses like J&L Books, you either had high-end, very expensive monographs, or zines generated on a photocopier, and not much in the middle.
K: How did A-Jump Books get started?
AJ: Very organically. That is, we never had any real ambitions to start a press. In 2005 Ron was working on a project called Alpine Star that ended up taking shape as an artist’s book. It felt very much like something that should be self-published, so we decided to simultaneously come up with an identity for this book, and any future artist’s books that either of us wanted to publish. Since then, we’ve slowly expanded the reach of our publishing efforts to include other artists whose work we admire and who have small projects that make sense as self-contained book works.
K: Can you explain more about the differences between showing artwork in a gallery and in a book?
AJ: Obviously, photographs can successfully find meaning and reach an audience in both gallery shows and books, but they’re very different beasts, with almost completely different problems and concerns. One practical reason we really love books, is that exhibitions have a very finite lifespan, whereas books, years after they’re published, can continue to find an audience. Also, certain bodies of work just seem to make more sense in book form.
K: What is the most recent book you’ve published?
AJ: We published a short piece by New York-based artist Dan Torop last fall called Skydiving. We’ve been fans of Dan’s work since we first encountered it back in the late-90s, so it was very gratifying to be able to work with him on a project. This was the first piece that we published where we actually solicited the artist. We’re incredibly happy with the outcome of the book. It’s beautiful, tough, and smart – exactly the type of publication we’re trying to advocate through our press.
K: Anything else you’d like to add?
AJ: Book publishing, whether it’s our own work, or facilitating the work of others, has been tremendously rewarding, and has broadened our understanding of how photographs can function. In short, we love photobooks!
Image: Skydiving by Dan Torop from the publishers website