This reading room seeks to engage photobook makers and consumers in an urgent discussion about sustainability. How are we making books? How are we distributing books? How can we make responsible choices as a consumer?

FORMAT23: Derby, UK (17 March - 9 April 2023) 

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Fotofestiwal: Lodz, Poland (15 - 25 June 2023)

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Books on Photography (BOP): Bristol, UK (7 - 8 October 2023)

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Photoworks Summit: Brighton, UK (12-13 March 2024)

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The exhibition has been designed and constructed for easy disassembly; enabling it to be installed in multiple locations. Thank you to all of the festivals and individuals that have supported the commissioning, production and logistics of making this happen.

The photobook industry has grown exponentially over the years, there are now photobook fairs and awards on every continent, as well as a broad range of publishers, from small imprints and self-publishers to medium and large-scale dedicated photobook publishers. Photobooks as a collectable item have given rise to a growing pool of private collectors as well as dedicated public collections within established museums and institutions. During the pandemic the photobook economy boomed, with publishers reporting record sales. The portability of the book means that they can travel to every corner of the world (although often at prohibitively high cost). Given its growing size and influence, the photobook community has a responsibility to think about how we design, make, and distribute our books, yet the urgent topic of sustainability is nowhere near the forefront of recent discussions.

A key SPP network initiative is a series of case studies on photobooks. These have included books by Mandy Barker, Oliver Raymond Barker, Sayako Sugawara, Half Letter Press, Loose Joints, Folium, and the Sustainable Darkroom. The majority of these books were printed in their country of origin and involved nuanced thinking about materials, equipment, processes, packaging and transportation. This hands-on reading room showcases a selection of these case study books. The physical interaction makes tangible the scale, materiality and production of sustainable choices. Alongside the exhibition we will run a series of events to create discussion and to share practical information.

Exhibited Books:

  • NECK volume 3 - 38 contributors (NECK: 2022)
  • The Problem Horse & Other Stories - Julie Sleaford (Self published: 2022)
  • Losing Ground - David O’Mara (Self-published: 2018)
  • Iconoclastic Inventory of the Chilean Insurrection - A.A.V.V. (SED Editorial: 2021)
  • One Hundred Years - Jenny Lewis (Hoxton Mini Press: 2021)
  • Geometric Forests: Struggles on Mapuche Land - Ritual Inhabitual (Actes Sud: 2022)
  • H is for Hemp - Maren Krings (Self-published: 2022)
  • The Silent Land - Jesse Alexander  (VIKA: 2021)
  • Monsanto® -  Mathieu Asselin (Actes Sud / Verlag Kettler: 2017)
  • Curator Conversations - 1000 Words (1000 Words: 2021)
  • Beyond Drifting - Mandy Barker (Overlapse: 2017)
  • Creative Climate Investigations - Climate & Cities (Folium: 2022)
  • Contranatura - João Pedro Lima (Selo Turvo: 2022)
  • re.source - The Sustainable Darkroom (Folium: 2022)
  • Book Waste Book - Temporary Services (Half Letter Press: 2022)
  • Scale & Substance - Tamsin Green (manual.editions: 2022)
  • Recorder - Miranda Lichtenstein (Loose Joints: 2021)
  • Fastidiosa - Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccinni (Overlapse: 2022)
  • The Space Between Us - Ed Sykes (Self Published: 2021)
  • this is how the earth must see itself - Tamsin Green (manual.editions: 2021)
  • Kunywa Jasho Langu: Coffee Kenya - Jake Green (Leyton of London: 2018)
  • (Copy) 80. The Schwarze Mönch - Sayako Sugawara (Self Published: 2021)
  • Trinity - Oliver Raymond Barker (Loose Joints: 2021)



re.think | re.use |
18 March 2023 - 10:30 - 13:30 GMT
Derby City Lab, Derby

This workshop will involve the collaborative development of photobooks using re-purposed materials. Each participant will bring something they have discarded as part of their own photography process, for example: images, materials, test prints, text. The workshop will be facilitated by SPP network contributors: Ed Sykes, Sayako Sugawara, Tamsin Green.

SPP Sustainability Surgery
4 April 2023 - 6.30pm GMT 

This event brings together exhibitors from The Sustainable Photobook exhibition at FORMAT23 to answer topical questions on sustainable design and production. The speakers; Tiffany Jones, Overlapse (UK); Martin Bollati, SED Editiorial (Argentina); Maren Krings, Artist (Austria / Germany); Rebecca Lardeur, Climate and Cities (UK) will be joined by Eugenie Shinkle who will moderate the discussion.

Late brunch with photobooks
18 June 2023 - 11am 
Art_Inkubator, Tymienieckiego 3, Lodz, Poland

Tamsin Green, founder of the SPP network, will be giving a talk as part of the Late brunch with photobooks event, come and join us to hear more about the network and the exhibition. 

Curators Tour
7 & 8 October - 1.30pm 

Join curator Tamsin Green for an informal tour and conversation. 

The tour will introduce the SPP network, explore examples within the Reading Room and discuss the themes that emerge from the exhibition.

Photo Book Club
13 March 2024 - 2.30pm GMT
Fabrica, Brighton

Exhibiting artist Sayako Sugawara will be discussing her book (Copy) 80. The Schwarze Mönch.


The exhibition was designed and constructed for easy disassembly; enabling it to be installed in other locations:

  • FURNITURE: The furniture was built out of plywood in sections with mechanical fixings that can be easily taken apart and stacked for transportation. Where possible waste or reused timber has been used to construct the furniture.
  • PRINTING (FORMAT23): The info panels were printed direct to media on cardboard and hung from the furniture using bookbinding thread. This avoided the use of adhesives and single use materials, and enables the panels to be easily reused
  • PRINTING (FOTOFESTIWAL): The info panels were printed on unmounted paper and clipped to the furniture using bulldog clips. This allowed us to present dual language panels, and to simply FLIP for English.
  • TRANSPORTATION: The books are transported between venues in a ZARGES aluminium case (600x400x400mm), with adjustable foam inserts. Protecting the books whilst eliminating the need for any single-use packaging.

Exhibition design and curation by Tamsin Green

Using Format