Collection II (06.2023 - )

We are now commencing COLLECTION II and welcome submissions and recommendations of books, especially those that tackle issues, or that come from geographic areas or groups that were under-represented in the first collection (which primarily featured UK bookmakers).

Visit Collection I (02.2022 - 02.2023)

Traces Within
Eva Voutsaki
(Self Published, 2020)

Traces Within is a project about memories, myths, dreams and fantasies. A tri-fold hand-bound book of three booklets stitched on a concertina cover which allows for the book to be opened out into one long strip and be viewed in 2,197 possible configurations. The format for Traces Within was based on the idea of drifting through memories, the intention was to create a book with no obvious beginning or end, allowing the viewer to drift through the photos. Printed on vegetable inks using stock paper.

Designer: Emily Macaulay (Stanley James Press)
Text: Vanessa Winship

Book images above © Stanley James Press

Materials and Processes

  • Paper: FSC uncoated printspeed offset paper 140 gsm (Pureprint's stock paper)
  • Cover: FSC uncoated printspeed offset paper 300gsm (Pureprint's stock paper)
  • Binding: pamphlet binding on a trifold cover
  • Printing/ Printers: Offset printed by Pureprint, Uckfield (UK)
  • Book Size: 15 x 21 cm (closed), 88 x 21 cm (open)
  • Edition Size: 800

What does sustainability mean to you?

As someone who has grown up in a small Cretan village as a keen gardener growing my own herbs, vegetables and fruits, I understand the journey of a seed from a wish to something tangible/edible.  My core principles are to be as self efficient and holistic as possible, grow as much of my own food, share resources and extra food, create zero waste and be independent. That's why I decided to self publish. From seed to fruit. From photographs, to dummies to book. 

How did you think through your choices of paper, printing method, binding, packaging, number of books etc?

All materials used, from the paper, to packaging, book cloth tape, linen binding thread and vegan stickers are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable. The printing was offset Lithoprint using vegetable based inks because my idea was that in the worst case scenario, my books could be composted in my garden.

I knew I wanted to print locally and I was aware of Pureprints sustainability credentials. The fact that I could reach the printers within a 30 minute bus journey meant I could support a local business and keep my CO2 emissions low by not printing abroad. Emily suggested using their stock paper as a way to keep the cost down and also to be more eco-friendly by not creating extra waste. The print run was 800 as a result of being given all printed materials and I have used some of the test prints that would have been recycled at the printers' facilities, as a wrapping paper for the first 300 books I sold. As an extra touch. In terms of the book size, I wanted it to be roughly A5 as a typical diary size and for practical reasons, so that it would fit in a C5 postal box and be posted as a large letter instead of a small package. 

The books are all hand bound by me to keep the production cost lower and as a way to engage more with the whole process of self publishing. Each book I bind has the date I bound it stamped on the back cover. Binding all the books is a form of meditation. Being in the moment. 

What challenges did you face, what questions were you asking, would you do anything differently next time?

I was lucky to have Emily Macaulay as my graphic designer, who is a very knowledgeable and eco-friendly designer. Her creative and practical approach is similar to mine. I don't think I faced any challenges as I already knew the Printers. Perhaps one thing I will do differently next time is to use recycled paper if that's considered more sustainable. 

One of the main challenges though (especially post Brexit) is the book distribution to European countries, especially to Spain, Portugal and Greece. I had books returned to me after months of being stuck at Customs (mostly those posted to Greece and Portugal). They would be transported to Greece and then instead of being delivered there, or notifying the person who ordered the book, they would be sent back to me after 4-6 months. In the end I had to charge for tracked postage to ensure the books were delivered, which is more expensive.

Do you have any sustainability tips or inspirations (i.e. books, films, websites, podcasts) to share with others?

I would check the environmental statement/commitment on the printers' website and also use the SPP website as a reference. I recommend finding a graphic designer who is environmentally friendly and that shares your core beliefs/approach/philosophy. Overall, as a Photobook community, we need to be more open and share information so that the next projects follow the shared sustainability principles.

Eva Voutsaki (UK) - 07.2023

La playa de los juguetes perdidos 
Alfredo Blasquez 
(Inframundo: 2021)

For centuries, toys were crafted with natural materials such as wood, seeds, clay, bones or stones. The incorporation of plastic, a synthetic material that has the capacity to be molded into infinite shapes, transformed their production in such a way that it is currently used in more than 90% of toys produced at an industrial level. If we consider the durability of plastic, all these toys, after a short period of useful life, continue to exist and end up like most of our waste in landfills, incinerated or abandoned in the environment. 

Between 2013 and 2019, I carried out several projects recovering and recycling marine litter in numerous Mexican beaches, facing the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Amid tons of rubbish and colorful pieces of plastic, the toys caught my attention because they reminded me of archaeological artifacts. Thus, I began to collect and photograph each new discovery. When I shared them with my son Miguel, who was three years old at the time, he conveyed his enormous emotion to me, and therefore inspired the idea of saving as many as possible in order to instill them with a new life through this project. 

Images © Alfredo Blasquez

Materials and Processes

  • Interior Papers: Kraft paper made from 100% recycled raw material.125 g. Papelera Rino; Red cardboard paper made with recycled and virgin material.150 g. Grupo Lozano Hnos. 
  • Cover: Astrobright Blast off Blue, FSC Certified. Neenah, 90g. Papelería Lumen; Cardboard recycled 100% FSC Certified.2.5 mm Grupo Lozano Hnos. 
  • Poster: Cappuccino Bond Paper, 100% Recycled. 75 g. Grupo Lozano Hnos. 
  • Box: Kraft cardboard made from 100% recycled raw material. PapelSA 
  • Binding: Copper Wireo ( 
  • Book size: 22.5 x 17 cm / 132 pages
  • Printing: Offset, digital and screen printing by Offset Santiago, Mexico
  • Edition: 1,000 (extended to 1,250 by including the material discarded or left over from the original print run) 

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me sustainability is the balance between the natural, social and economic components. Considering the origin and impact of the resources that are respectful to the environment and deliver positive outcomes for a community. 

How did you think through your choices of paper, printing method, binding, packaging, no. of books etc.?

The book was printed and bound with local suppliers; mixing offset, digital and screen printing, using national recycled papers. The interior of the book is printed on kraft paper which, in addition to being recycled and very accessible, has a texture and porosity that make the printed toys appear to be buried, like the way they were found at the beach. The main challenge of using this paper was that the printer did not want to use it on their offset machine. Another challenge was to assemble each book because it includes a cardboard box, a poster and a print, all made with different suppliers that I put together in batches of 250 copies at my studio. For the packaging I only use the sheets of paper discarded during offset printing, so I didn´t use any plastic at all. 

All papers provided by local suppliers in Mexico: 
Grupo Lozano Hermanos ( 
Lumen ( 
Papel SA de CV ( 

What challenges did you face, what questions were you asking, would you do anything differently next time?

The main challenges and opportunities were to use only local materials and suppliers, with the intention of maintaining low-cost production so that the book had an affordable price. Due to budget issues and the fact that I had to assemble the books in stages, the process was very long. I think a smaller print run would have been better, although I am excited that the book can reach the largest possible audience. In the end about 40% of the total print run will be donated to institutions and non-profit organizations.

Do you have any sustainability tips or inspirations to share with others?

A book that changed my way of seeing sustainability was “Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century” by Alex Steffen, Published in 2006 by Abrams, because it offers practical solutions or alternatives to environmental concerns.

I also recommend the Ellen Macarthur Foundation ( for the resources and information it offers about how circular economy can tackle climate change and other global challenges.

Alfredo Blasquez (Mexico) - 07.2023

James Newton
(Highchair Editions: 2023)

Photographs 2014 - 2022
A series of windows in museums and galleries:
Amsterdam / Basel / Brussels / Como /
Copenhagen / Ghent / Lille / London / Naples /
Palermo / Paris / Vienna

Works in European museums and galleries are 
usually hung chronologically with labels which 
describe their contents, origins and relevant place 
in the lineage of art history.  In this way the works 
are removed from the present (and our immediate 
experience of them) and placed in the past as 
historical artefacts.

Images © Highchair Editions

Materials and Processes

  • Paper: Evercopy Plus 80gsm
  • Binding: 15 Loose sheets folded
  • Printing: Risograph printed at LCBA by the publisher
  • Book Size: A4
  • Edition Size: open edition

What does sustainability mean to you?

I am going to take the definition ‘the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level’ i.e. the ability to keep going. Is Highchair Editions sustainable? When we started 12 years ago we decided that it would be a DIY self publishing project where we produced books and printed matter that achieved a high standard of presentation for the work and made books that we liked and would be happy to own ourselves. The main decision was to invest in an inkjet  printer and then to experiment and make the books ourselves, rather than invest in ‘publishing a book’.  This has always meant that we can move on to the next project quickly without having to worry about selling a stockpile of books from the previous one. The challenge has always been to keep going and ensure that it is something that we want to keep doing and putting our energy into, but some of the main issues would be:

Financial - There needs to be a certain level of income from sales to ensure that we are not just losing money.  We don’t make a profit and we don’t rely upon it for income; this is an important part of our approach, it means that we can keep the books affordable for people to buy at book fairs.

Engagement - We don’t need to sell books in order to continue, we are free to publish whatever we decide and we are free to fail. This is essential in terms of keeping us excited by what we are doing and retaining the love of making, we always try to move forwards.  If we are engaged then we can engage with others through the work.

Ethical - Is it worth the paper it is printed on? Before considering materials we have to decide whether it is worth any materials at all.  Sometimes we get a long way into the development of a book before deciding not to go ahead with it if something just doesn’t feel right.  We have to believe in it.  A lot of our experiments have led us down the route of recycled materials and many of our books have been made this way.  I have to say that the main reason for this is that they suit the work and the subjects that we are presenting.  We like the print quality, the feel, the humble nature of the papers and cards. Of course the fact that they are recycled has other ‘environmental benefits’ but it is not the main driving factor in our choices.  By producing in house in small quantities we can run what is essentially a print on demand model so that if a book is not popular and doesn’t sell then it does not need to get made in the first place.  This is not always the case, we have produced books in an edition of 100 all pre-printed but over time we have moved away from this.  We waste as little as possible, all our paper gets used eventually so that left overs from one project can be put to use in another book at a later date, all our mail out packaging is recycled from deliveries that we have previously received.  Much like our book designs there is a constant process of stripping back and taking away, this now includes not offering business cards at events and not having a website.  Our aim is not expansion and growth, our aim is sustainability.

How did you think through your choices of paper, printing method, binding, packaging, no. of books etc.?

For a long time this book was going to be produced on a laser printer. During lock down I started experimenting with a small office A4 laser printer as this is what I had to hand, this led to the book ‘Low Country’ which worked well and I loved the aesthetic and thought that it was perfect for these photographs as well. But it ended up going round in circles, paper choice became difficult and then it got stuck.  Having left it alone for a while I realised that I had become a bit obsessed about using the laser printer!  Previously I had made print tests on a risograph machine but decided that they weren’t as good as the laser, but coming back to them it seemed that this was not the case - they could be improved though.  Once this decision was made it freed up the book layout, design and paper choices, it also meant that I was no longer restricted to A4 size but could work with A3 sheets.

The idea behind the design is simplicity, I wanted to present the photographs as simply as I could and ‘say’ as little as possible. There is a sort of blankness to them which I wanted to carry though the whole book.  The layout is straightforward and consistent, the sheets are printed single sided and left as untrimmed A3, they are folded and unbound, there is no image on the cover and the graphic design is minimal.  It is almost an exercise in making the book object invisible.  The Evercopy Plus paper is perfect for this as it is recycled but not obviously so, it is off white but still retains a whiteness rather than a colour tint, it is 80gsm so allows a show through of images to the page reverse and it is cheap to buy. It is a good ‘non material’ in that it is basic, functional, undecorative and not precious.

The risograph printed achieves a similar effect, it degrades the photographs and devalues them in a way that I like. The print quality of the risograph is beautiful but it is also basic and humble.  The London Centre for Book Arts has a machine in one of their studios that you can hire and take in materials - this is fantastic to have the freedom to use the machine as though it were your own rather than having to pass the project onto a printer.  I have spent a few sessions just playing and testing as this leads to unexpected results and the best thing of all, mistakes!  I plan to produce more books on it.

Packaging for the book is recycled tissue paper - white.

The first print run was 30 copies but there is no stated edition number so I may print more in the future.

What challenges did you face, what questions were you asking, would you do anything differently next time?

I think that I have covered some of this in the previous answers.  The biggest challenge was to get over the initial belief that it should be printed on the laser and then to not abandon the project.

The book is called ‘Views’ and it is about the idea that we all have our own views and opinions that we carry with us and impose on the way we perceive things. This stops us from seeing things as they really are.  The book, therefore, had to be as plain as possible and not attempt to obviously express anything.  To quote John Cage, “I have nothing to say and I am saying it”.

Next time I use the risograph (for another project) I will try to be more playful with the print quality, some of the errors are beautiful so I hope to be able to keep them in and then to include things like overprinting the same or multiple different images, maybe using more than one type of paper stock.

Do you have any sustainability tips or inspirations to share with others?

I’m afraid that I don’t think I can add anything useful to this in terms of resources or references. 

An inspiration of mine in terms of approach has been the rock band Fugazi, their method was DIY, they remained outside of the record industry by forming their own label and initially taking care of packaging and distribution. They made pragmatic decisions in order to keep costs down so that records and concerts could be affordable, one example of this is that they decided not to sell merchandise on tour as this would require a full time merch sales person who needed food, accommodation, transport etc.  So no merchandise was the solution. This approach is low impact and sustainable by its nature.

My concern with phrases like ‘impact on the environment’ and ‘sustainability’ is that they become a way of justifying or offsetting behaviours that are inherently damaging or unsustainable. Green washing in order to carry on without making fundamental change, it is like starting at the end and trying to work backwards rather than starting at the beginning.

James Newton, Highchair Editions (UK)- 06.2023

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