Paul Schiek is a photographer and a publisher who is doing things right and for the right reasons. The founder of These Birds Walk, he publishes small, extremely affordable yet elegantly produced books by leading artists working today. By giving each full artistic control, the results are often deeply personal and uncompromised works of art. Hand numbered and in editions that are sold through subscription, they are wonderful objects worth your attention.
Here are the details from their website:
The Subscription Series is a limited edition, hand numbered book series that will not be available in stores. Subscribers will receive one book every three months beginning December 1st. Book quantities are limited to 650 unsigned subscriptions and 50 signed subscriptions.
This year's series will come wrapped in a slipcover and will also feature a size increase, with new dimensions of 6x8 inches. Each component of every book will be printed and assembled proudly in Oakland, CA. We recognize the value of keeping resources within the community, and are committed to doing business with like-minded, independent printing professionals.
Our subscription book series and format is a novel idea to the photo world. By offering these books only as a set, we seek to preserve the relationships and dialogues that take place between them. Viewed as a collection, these intimate artifacts weave a wide, complex portrait of our world. We choose to offer this series only through mail delivery because we feel the work deserves a careful first viewing away from the retail environment.
Paul is publishing four at a time and here are a few I have seen to date.
Jim Goldberg It ended sad but I love where it began published in 2007. This is a collaboration of sorts between Jim and his subjects which seems to be about displaced people living away from their homeland - some of them trafficked into the sex trade or abused in other unspecified ways. Using polaroid photographs, he has his subjects write in the margins or on the verso - sometimes in English, sometimes not, the subject's details are left in an ambiguous state. Not heavy handed and solely miserable, there is an underlying sense that although life is often hard these subjects can experience proud moments. Part of set #1.
Ari Marcopoulos Living in the new Rome published in 2006. In his stream of consciousness style, Ari assembles pictures of vulnerability, strength, inner family and the outer world weaving them to describe a kind of tribe - those banded together by blood or circumstance. Part of set #1
Todd Hido Ohio published in 2008. In what seems to be made up partly of older childhood photos, Hido, who was born in Ohio, returns us into a world of 1970s decor and family. Beginning with domestic interiors and a couple images of father and son, the book progresses into a full blown sexual state by ending with several nude images that could have been discovered in someone's sock drawer. Direct and uninhibited like the images that proceed them, they blend fact and fiction wonderfully. Part of set #2.
Paul Shiek The thing about you is you will end up like me published in 2008. This is most enigmatic of the four books I have. A mix of images from nature and of people there is a sense of violence mixed with tranquility. Metaphors for various states of being perhaps - the title implies a destined order which reaches into the metaphysical. Part of set #2.
Other titles include books by Alec Soth, Marianne Muller, Mike Brodie and Abner Nolan. Here is how to order, TBW Books.