Self-Publish, Be Happy has been around since 2010, encouraging, collecting and generally celebrating self-publishing, specifically photobooks. Its new book, published by Aperture, acts as a compilation of 50 publications that are part of its collection of over 3,000 titles (they are not necessarily the best books, author (and founder of SPBH) Bruno Ceschel stresses, but a “select sample of a much bigger group of fantastic publications released over the course of the collection’s existence”).
The book features imagery and text about each of the 50 photobooks, which aims to act as an inspiration to others to also get publishing. And to help in practical terms, Ceschel has compiled a 14-point manual offering a guide to how to go about creating your own photobook. With advice including ‘How to think of a book as a journey, not a destination’, ‘How to think of a book as an object’ and ‘How to be happy’, alongside more down-to-earth advice such as how to edit your photographs, the manual is both a pragmatic and somewhat philosophical guide to bookmaking.
And if you need even more of a shove to get started, then you’d be wise to read Ceschel’s opening manifesto, which serves to sum up, in inspirational terms, the purpose and pleasure of books. “Books are both social and utopian places,” he states, before going on to say that “today, more than ever, we need to rise against the homogeneous globalised culture in which we are (un)knowingly trapped – a culture dictated by the market and absorbed via social media”.
As Ceschel puts it, Self Publish, Be Happy is “a call to arms – a rallying cry to take part, to act, to share”. So get to work people!
Self-Publish, Be Happy is published by Aperture and priced £19.95, aperture.org. For this week, Ceschel and Self Publish, Be Happy are in residence at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, holding a series of events. More info is at thephotographersgallery.org.uk.