It was always hectic, but in a nice way …Autumn news from Makina
I’m typing this in Devon and where I just took the train along my favourite stretch of railway. The best part of the journey is between Exeter and Newton Abbot where you pass mud, fairground and sea over 18 minutes. Its been a really busy month working on Portrait of A London Road a new show I’ve curated that which was featured in the Evening Standard yesterday (thanks for making that happen, Jake May) and of course, launching David’s excellent book, The Lisa and John Slideshow at Calder Bookshop and Theatre. What an amazing night that was and such a powerful performance from Sarah Toogood and Alan Mosley. I enjoyed listening to Paul Graham discussing his new book, Mother at Foyles and Kharanni Barokka‘s excellent reading at Burley Fisher for The White Review. Lots of things are happening and I hope to be in touch soon with news of two new poetry titles. Do come and say hi if you are in Bristol this weekend and thanks for reading this ramble..
BOP BRISTOL 19′
David Moore and myself are taking part in BOP Bristol—a brand new photobook festival hosted by Martin Parr Foundation and The Royal Photographic Society, which will be based at Paintworks, Bristol. It’s all happening at the Martin Parr Foundation and Royal Photographic Society. David will be signing copies of Lisa and John at our table on Saturday from 3.30pm. Please come and say hi. The full programme of talks, signings and events is here.
LISA AND JOHN IN THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY
The British Journal of Photography have just published an excellent piece on The Lisa and John Slideshow here.
A SMALL VOICE PODCAST
David will be featured on the next episode of A Small Voice Podcast, released tomorrow (Wednesday). You can subscribe to that here…
The Lisa and John Slideshow by David Moore with Essay by Val Williams • ISBN: 978-1-9160608-1-4 • Paperback • 210 x 148 mm • 64 pp • October 2019 • Munken Lynx, full-colour offset litho, section sewn binding
October 16, 2019
The Lisa and John Slideshow | New Podcast
In 2012, photographer David Moore returned to the site of his celebrated 1980s colour documentary series Pictures from the Real World. Moore offered the full archive of the project to Lisa and John, two subjects of the original series and asked them to make their own selections. The outcome released many previously unseen photographs and became the acclaimed script and play The Lisa and John Slideshow – a contemporary piece of documentary theatre addressing family memory, loss and the everyday.
The Lisa and John Slideshow (148 x 210mm, 64pp, full colour) is the first title in our new Makina Archive series, it’s out on 27 September and available to preorder online. It features an introduction from writer and curator Val Williams, the full script to The Lisa and John Slideshow play and more than 40 previously unpublished colour photographs. The book is unlike anything else and essential (in my opinion) for anyone interested in British colour photography, theatre and the documentary archive and family memory.
£12.00, Scroll down for launch details
The book will be launched on September 26 at Calder Bookshop and Theatre—one of the most amazing shops and spaces in London. We’d love to see you there! There will be drinks and a reading from actors Sarah Toogood and Alan Mosley, who starred in the original production of The Lisa and John Slideshow at Format Festival. David and myself will introduce the book and signed copies will be available on the night. Please note that space is very limited so please RSVP via Eventbrite here if you’d like to join us so I can keep track.
Praise for The Lisa and John Slideshow
‘Poised between one form of documentary and another, a pivotal place where social realism meets an altogether more provocative approach.’
—Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian
‘A photographic documentary archive from it’s very insides, where content is redrawn with the subjects’ own words.’
—Karen McQuaid, Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery
‘The 80s were a great decade for British colour documentary photography. The Lisa and John Slideshow is unique as it brings to life photographs of the family first seen in Pictures from the Real World and as such is a valuable contribution to understanding this decade.’
—Martin Parr, Photographer
The Makina Books Podcast!
After what feels like years of saying I would do one, I took the microphone I bought last year out its box and recorded the first episode of a podcast exploring narratives in publishing. Episode 1 is with David Moore, it’s 36 minutes long and you can click here to listen on Soundcloud.
We are busy working on the upcoming New Words series which we are launching later this year. New Words is a new affordable series of oversized pamphlets celebrating independent voices in poetry, fiction and prose. Patrick Fisher at Frontwards Design has created an oversized pamphlet, inspired by a 6×7 medium format photo frame. They look great and I can’t wait to start sharing them soon.
Livia Franchini’s Shelf Life
Congratulations to Livia Franchini on her incredible debut novel, Shelf Life which is published by Doubleday this month and is quite rightly picking up great reviews! Livia is part of an evening of Magic and Witchcraft with Rebecca Tamás at Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol on Thursday 22nd August. We still have a few copies of Livia’s stunning poetry collection, Our Available Magic available for £5.00—but you need to be quick!
Strange Perfume and Now Reading
I had an amazing time at the Strange Perfume Queer Culture Book Fair this year at South London Gallery. I’ve really enjoyed working on upcoming tiles with Angus Carlyle, Alanna McArdle, Maike Hale-Jones and Eloise Hendy recently and am looking forward to speaking to them on the podcast. I went to an excellent reading at Burley Fisher for Brixton Review of Books and particularly enjoyed listening to Jen Calleja and Thomas Bunstead. The new magazine, Photography For Whom? is really worth checking out as is Jessica Andrews’ novel Saltwater. I’m excited to read Bethany Rutter’s novel, No Big Deal. I was floored by Raymond Antrobus’ The Perseverance (also available as an excellent audiobook) Witch by Rebecca Tamás (both on Penned in the Margins), My Father Was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water by Michelle Steinbeck, Translated by Jen Calleja and Jay Bernard’s groundbreaking work Surge.Thanks so much for reading and please support these amazing sellers: Books Peckham, Burley Fisher Books, Camden Arts Centre, Chener Books, Foyles, Good Press, Housmans, London Review Bookshop, Minnow Books, Pages of Hackney, Specialist Subject Records, Storysmith Books, Ti Pi Tin, Tome RecordsAugust 20, 2019
Makina publishes Livia Franchini’s ‘Our Available Magic’
We are so excited to announce Livia Franchini’s first poetry collection—and our twelth title—Our Available Magic. In Our Available Magic, poems and short poetic prose fold across 42 carefully observed pages that are insightful, fresh and craftily bold.
In August the dust was deafening, all things dry. Small anxieties of high summer. Drops of water from your plastic bottle cutting circles like coins on the pavement. Eating a tomato from the hand in an empty apartment. Stand in the corridor, think of all the other flats stacked below you, the ones above you, all empty. When you hear her car pull in, cross the street running.
Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy. She has translated Natalia Ginzburg, James Tiptree Jr. and Michael Donaghy among others. Her poetry has appeared in 3 a.m. magazine, Funhouse, LESTE, Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry (Lingua Ignota, 2018), Wretched Strangers (Boiler House Press, 2018) among others. Her debut novel Shelf Life will be published in English by Doubleday in August 2019 and in Italian by Libri Mondadori in Spring 2020.
The book will be launched with a reading from Livia and special guests on Tuesday 9 April at Pages of Hackney—one of the best independent bookshops in London. We’d love to see you there! Please note that while this event is free to attend, space is limited so please RSVP via Eventbrite here if you’d like to join us.
The first 50 preorders will ship with a 58mm badge and Makina bookmark. We also offer a Collect from Makina option via the website for local customers.OTHER THINGS
I’ve been busy working on a number of projects this year including upcoming titles with David Moore, Maike Hale-Jones, Martha Orchard and Angus Carlyle.
Good friends of Makina, Tome Records told me about an interesting collection currently being published online as the Dalston Rio Tape/Slide archive. The account is updated most days and is full of wonderful ’80s work by photographer Alan Denney—I am hooked! The photographs (which were recently discovered in the basement of the Rio Cinema) have so much joy and fun within them.
I have been looking forward to Paul Reas’ monograph Fables of Faubus (GOST publishing) for what feels like years now. I first saw his documentary photographic work for the project I Can Help on a poster at work about 15 years ago and it felt electrifying. The book is very beautifully put together with several great essays and includes earlier projects by Reas in large colour reproductions that do so much justice to his works—much of them lit with bright flash in daylight on a medium format camera.
The People on the Street is an interesting new bookwork by photographer Nigel Shafran that tackles homelessness in London but without showing a single homeless person in it. The book is bound in polystyrene and contains 52 images. You can buy a copy (all proceeds to homelessness charities) here.
Richard Phoenix‘s DIY as Privilege (published by The Fringe and Underground Music Group at Goldsmiths) pamphlet is an essential 13 point read of what Phoenix has “learnt over the past 12 years being involved with supporting people with learning disabilities”. Buy this, share it widely and put it up at work on the noticeboard.
I just got a parcel from the essential Dostoyevsky Wannabe publishers (amazing project using print on demand models) and am currently reading the writer and critical theorist Isabel Waidner’s We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff and now I can’t wait to read Gaudy Bauble. Give Dostoyevsky Wannabe everything you have!
Lastly, we are delighted that Patrick Doyle‘s book, Max was recently featured on It’s Nice That and obtained by The Whitney Museum of American Art. Thank you to all who supported the project—in particular Marion Herbain and Owen Myers who helped coordinate the book and also to Paul Sammut, Roxanne Clifford, Helen Skinner, Good Press and Monorail and The White Cubicle Gallery. Keep your eyes peeled for a reprint (again with proceeds to the LA LGBT Center). We love you Patrick.
Thank you for reading
Robin xApril 11, 2019
Thank you for coming out to the launch of MAX at White Cubicle Toilet Gallery! Special thanks to Patience and Helen Skinner for playing records and to Paul Sammut, Marion Herbian and Owen Myers for helping us organise such a special event.February 12, 2019
Patrick Doyle: MAX
Thanks to ‘It’s Nice That’ for covering our latest book, MAX by Patrick Doyle.
We are honoured that Patrick’s book is now held in the library collection of Whitney Museum of Modern Art!
We have sold out of copies but there are still some available from Good Press (Glasgow) and Printed Matter (NYC)—both sell online too. Thanks to all who bought one and to the staff and organisers at Monorail, Strange Perfume, White Cubicle Toilet Gallery, Marion Herbain, Owen Myers, Roxanne Clifford and Paul Sammut for all their help getting them out into the world.February 12, 2019
Screaming Fatal Truths
Happening at TOME Records! Exhibition! Book launch! Readings!September 22, 2018
Outskirts Exhibition and Talk at Counter!
In the week leading up to, and during, the Counter Plymouth Art Book Fair Makina Books presented oversized pages from Flo Brooks’ ‘Outskirts’ publication in the Column Bakehouse cafe/gallery.
Robin Silas Christian (Makina Books) and Flo Brooks discussed ‘Outskirts’ and Makina as an ongoing project and archive at Ocean Studios.
Thanks to Vickie, Paul and Maddy for organising such a positive event.
—September 19, 2018
Who: Makina Books
Where: London, United Kingdom
What: Independent Press
Can you tell us a bit about how your press got started
I wanted to find a home for some photographs I’d taken of friends at DIY Space For London a cooperatively run social centre that opened in the Autumn of 2015. Inspired in part by Daniel Meadows’ The Shop on Graeme Street and Derek Ridgers’ club portraits, I had been running a free portrait studio there and documenting the building, but after moving away from London I didn’t know what to do with the pictures. Since becoming interested in photography I’ve been interested in its ability to ‘age well’ and using it with books as a way to make stories and document what people and places in my community look like. I’ve always liked editing and sequencing other people’s work, and I think books are the best medium for showing work, so I decided to make a small bookwork showing the first 11 months of the space. I called it A Lamp in a Window after a Truman Capote short story and the book enabled me to reconnect with friends and exchange letters. I sold them all and decided to do more with the ‘manifesto’ to be enthusiastic about friendship, accessibility and community and with the business goal of being as affordable as possible but attempting to make enough on each title to do another one. Since May 2016 I’ve been able to publish 8 books, a cassette and organised a touring exhibition with sound.
How did the name come about
The Plaubel Makina was a camera popular with a ‘second-wave’ of British colour documentary photographers (e.g., Paul Graham, Anna Fox, Paul Reas) in the 1980s and 1990s, especially those coming through the West Surrey College of Art. I love much of that work and in particular the way those photographers used photobooks and self-publishing as a medium to share their projects at a time when photography exhibitions were rare. In 2003 my Grandmother, Nell died and I wanted to buy something I could remember her by so I bought a Plaubel Makina with the money she left me.
What types of publications do you put out
I don’t have a type, but all the books must show something that isn’t being recorded elsewhere. To date, this has included a subtopian anti-map, with sound by MIDDEX, a study of paintings engaging with notions of disability by Richard Phoenix, photographic short stories by Martha Orchard and Oliver Fisher and an on-going portrait exchange focussed on liminality and gender non-conforming narratives called Outskirts which is edited by Flo Brooks. Outskirts is the biggest project to date and we launched it in collaboration with an exhibition at The White Cubicle Gallery. All of the output has been by friends of mine, but I have a list of people to approach. I make a set of badges with each book but this isn’t a set rule and I try to do all this without thinking about it too much—but I really care about each title and hope others will pick up on that enthusiasm!
Can you tell us about the space where you run your whole operation from? Is it an office space, a kitchen-table/bedroom operation or just from inside a smart-phone or a laptop?
I started Makina in my front room in Glasgow and then it travelled back to London with me when I moved back here. It’s now based in my bedroom / studio on an old table that was painted pink by my friend. The mailers and books live in the cupboard under the stairs and I work from my laptop. To the left of the desk is a Jane Bown photograph of Samuel Beckett; I worked with Jane on her photographic archive before she passed away in 2014 and it’s nice to have this picture and convene with her!
Can you tell us a little bit about the city in which you are based and what influence, if any, it has on your press?
I try to make Makina a project outside of London, but I do live in London! In recent years I’ve reconnected with the South-West where I am from, and I have friends all over through playing music, so Makina can go with me where I go. I don’t think London has an influence, other than it’s a challenge to get by here and the people I am surrounded by are doing amazing things in it.
Do you see any commonality with the world of independent record labels and independent presses? I suppose we’re thinking about how the two things share an independent spirit, small run fanzines/photocopied magazines, merchandising etc?
Absolutely! I was lucky enough to experience fanzine culture in my teens and still have friends that I made through this network. My first job had a photocopier and I’d spend hours using it to make things. Everything I do with Makina is a product of these early experiences making zines and writing letters to people, drawing on envelopes. Zines enabled me to find like minded and supportive people at home and further afield. I think now more than ever with so much visual information online it is important to make something real.
These days every writer can get connected to their own social-media channels and promote and publish their own work, what do you see as the best role for the independent publisher now? Or don’t you think that much has changed?
I don’t really know, but it is great that it is even easier to make something from beginning to end on your own and share it with others. I suppose a role is to support more interesting stories and work being shared, focusing on new as well as older material and these days there is less of a risk in doing so.
Do you focus a lot on distinctive cover-design and take a lot of time over the interior of your books or is it just about getting the words out there in any form?
I worked with Patrick Fisher who did the layout to Outskirts to develop a look for Makina. He based it on some old rainbow tape and a bunch of other things we like. The aesthetic is really important, from the look of the book to the oil pastel scrawls and rubber stamps on the envelopes.
Finally, please tell us about a few of the next things that are due to come out?
I developed an exhibition with Flo Brooks and Richard Phoenix called Outskirts•Astigmatism•Acutance and we borrowed a 1970s touring model from the Camerawork collective. They used to laminate exhibitions and send them out in the post to a network of places (shops, laundrettes, DIY spaces etc)—we are trying to do the same with a poster version of our show. The exhibition is work from three of the books I have published and each piece has been fully audio described by Caroline Dawson. It’s been shown in Plymouth and is on in Exeter now—then it is going to be at the LESS bar in Toronto next year. If you want to show it please get in touch! Our next book is a series of photographs and text called Screaming Fatal Truths by Joe Briggs; Joe goes to a lot of shows and all of the pictures were taken on film in the last six months at various punk shows. Flo Brooks has a solo show opening at Cubitt Gallery next month also.
Cross posted from the wonderful: Swimmers Club
www.all-new.swimmersclub.co.ukDecember 23, 2017
Exeter PhoenixOctober 6, 2017
Plymouth Art Weekend
We were lucky to be able show our project at the Athenaeum in Plymouth this weekend. The Athenaeum is a beautiful building located in The Barbican. The original building was destroyed during The Blitz in 1941, resulting in the loss of the insititution’s library, art and museum collections. It was rebuilt after the War in the exact location of its pre-Blitz home. Great to see it being used as part of the Plymouth Art Weekend and to meet Owen, the Secretary there who cares for it so much and kindly showed us around!?October 6, 2017
‘Outskirts’ opening party
Thank you to everyone who came down to make last weeks Outskirts opening party at White Cubicle Toilet Gallery—so much fun! Thanks also to curator Paul Sammut, Leonard Lukowski for reading, Patrick Fisher and Sophie Brown and Alex Graves for playing records here are some photographs from the night.September 13, 2017
Come to this! XAugust 21, 2017