Yale University Library News

Haas Arts Library establishes Photobook Club

photo book page showing parked car in front of buildings
October 9, 2019

A Photobook Club organized by the Haas Family Arts Library will showcase the library’s extensive photobook collections while offering practical advice to students and others who may wish to publish their photography in book form, as well as collectors of photography and photobooks.  

“With changes in technology and greater accessibility of on-demand printing, photographers continue to evolve the medium in interesting ways,” said Heather Gendron, director of the Arts Library. “We see a growing interest in this form, especially with the rise in self-publishing.”

The club's meetings, billed as “monthly chats about all things photobook,” kicked off on September 25 when Gendron and Mar González Palacios, Haas Library associate director for special collections, shared examples of photobooks that have won the prestigious Aperture Photobook Award. On Oct. 9, Curator George Miles (pictured below) presented a selection of photobooks from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Curator George Miles displays photobooks from the Beinecke Library collection.

Haas Library has been collecting books by photographers for decades to support teaching and research in the arts. Its special collections include over three hundred MFA photography theses dating back to the early 1970’s when the photography department was formed at Yale and includes the works of renowned photographers. The collection also features photobooks and artists books that use photography.

Beinecke Library has a history of collecting original photography, particularly related to the American West. More recent acquisitions have focused on women photographers in the Peter Palmquist Collection and contemporary photobooks in the Indie Photobook Library/Larissa Leclair Collection.

“Our two collections are highly complementary,” Gendron said. “Together they provide historical context for photobooks as an emerging, innovative form. Our goal is to introduce these extraordinary resources to more students, faculty, and the public.”

Photobook Club events are free and open to the public. The next meetings are:

Wednesday, Nov. 13, noon- 1:30 pm, Haas Arts Library. Photographer Trevor Powers and artist Esther White will share some of their work and lead a discussion on self-publishing.  

Wednesday, Dec. 4, noon -1:30 pm, Haas Arts Library. Lisa Kereszi, director of Undergraduate Studies at the School of Art, will lead this discussion.

For more information about the Photobook Club and related library collections, contact arts.library@yale.edu.

Photo at top left is a page view from Butte, America: a Vernacular History, by Ian Van Coller.