Unseen Interviews: Dummy Award Judge: Paul van Mameren

by Unseen July 11 2014

Paul van Mameren, Director of the printer/publisher Lecturisone of Unseen 2014's sponsors, returns as a judge on the Unseen Dummy Award 2014 for the third year running. He speaks to Unseen about the developments of the award.


You have been a member of the jury of the Unseen Dummy Award for the past two years. What developments have you seen in the submissions over the years?

What we have seen in the last two years are books varying in subject and design from traditional to quite experimental. Some books are complete in terms of design and print: hardly are a 'dummy' anymore. In general, we see a broad spectrum of books which makes it interesting.  I can’t say that I have seen a specific development. Photobooks are still a beloved medium for a lot of photographers and designers.


Last year you said you were looking for new levels of innovation and design. Did the photobooks meet your expectations? 

Not all but some books really were striking (such as the winner).


Have you noticed any trends in book making/publishing recently?

Everybody seems to want to make a book!


Do you have a personal interest in photography and/or photobooks?  

I was once an enthusiastic photographer with analogue equipment. The excitement of seeing a white sheet being developed is special. And of course because of my background being a printer of art and photobooks.


Will you be looking for something specific in the submitted photobooks this year?

Again I will look to the book design in combination with the quality of photography.  


How important is the ability to tell stories versus personal aesthetics in book making?

A book that is meant for a larger audience needs to tell a story that mostly goes beyond telling only a personal story but sometimes it is only the personal story that is worthwhile telling.   


Do you have an advice for photographers with a bookmaking-wish and a small budget?

You can also make remarkable books on a small budget. It has to do with making the right choices in design and execution. Besides that: crowd funding is a way of collecting budget that is more and more successfull.


What is the value of a photobook in comparison to an art-print?  

It is accessible for a broader audience and it is a way of letting photos reflect with each other and tell a story that way.


Do you have a special connection to a particular artbook you have in your own collection?

Monsters van de Peel, by the dutch photographer Martien Coppens made in 1958. In design and print it was, and still is, unique. 


What is you favorite book of last year?

I don't have one favourite book. The point is I think that since there is less money for making books, and digital alternatives are there, the books that are being published in a printed form need to be outstanding and worthwhile. The attention to design is therefore more needed than ever before. That's why there still are a lot of very good new books published! 


Thank you Paul van Mameren for this interview.