By Grant Scott
Iain Sarjeant is a photographer based in the Highlands of Scotland who founded the Another Place Press as a small independent publisher to showcase contemporary landscape photography. To date he has published nine books that explore landscape covering themes documenting the land, place, journey, city and environment from the remotest corners of the globe to the centre of the largest cities. It’s an ambitious premise and even more so as the imprint consists of just one employee. Iain is that employee and his responsibilities include all aspects of publishing the books, running the blog, all social media and continuing to work as a commissioned photographer as well as progressing his personal projects. Despite this he spared sometime to talk with Grant Scott about the current independent publishing landscape and his personal experiences in establishing his own publishing company.
Grant: I hear and read a lot of discussion amongst photographers about photobooks but very little about publishing, which is something we are all doing every day even if we are not aware of it. Every time we write a tweet or post on Facebook or Instagram we are publishing, but the art and complexity of publishing is rarely understood. I’m also not sure if photographers are comfortable with being referred to as publishers.
Iain: It’s become relatively easy to produce a photobook which is exciting, but I think there is a need to think through the process carefully, in particular how to sell decent quantities of a book, if that is the goal. In many ways, the marketing and selling is the most challenging part of the process. I have a background in graphic design and a knowledge of the print and design process – I am comfortable handling everything in-house and have decent connections with printers, but I’m no publishing expert. Another Place Press developed out of the Another Place blog, which I started a few years ago, and right from the start I hoped that it would develop into a publishing project. I was inspired by small publishers such as The Velvet Cell www.thevelvetcell.com, I loved what they do – Eanna has a real eye for design. I also feel design is very important – of course a book needs a strong series of photographs that work well, but you cannot underestimate the importance of design.
Grant: There seems to be a strong collaborative sense amongst independent publishers.
Iain: Absolutely, Eanna, the founder of The Velvet Cell was very supportive in helping me establish Another Place even though I could be seen as a potential competitor. Craig Atkinson at Café Royal is producing great books and I know Al Palmer at Brown Owl Press, but there are not that many publishers releasing the kind of small books we are producing. I started with small books partly for financial reasons, but I do like their size – good quality small books produced at a reasonable price that everyone can afford. I very much like the idea of them being affordable, accessible to all.