6. Akina Books & Nico Baumgarten - A Crash Course in Photobook Making

A Crash Course in Photobook Making: From editing to design to production
By Alex Bocchetto (Akina Books) and Nico Baumgarten

Every photobook is a self-contained universe with its own set of rules. A series of photographs can be a starting point for the process of creating a book - editing, sequencing, design and choice of materials are all opportunities to add new layers of meaning to a body of work. During the genesis of a photobook, ambiguities and clashes, unexpected juxtapositions and riddles will emerge, revealing the pleasures and pains of visual language. Every single picture will gain a different meaning when placed in a broader perspective of the book as a whole.

The aim of this Crash Course is to build a dummy, covering all the steps of the process through knowledge, creativity and chance. Editing, sequencing, design, binding and printing techniques as well as marketing and funding tips will be disclosed through a hands-on approach and case studies. Techniques of non-linear narrative, visual language and production will be explored as a way to conceive the potential of a photographic project and re-imagine it in a new light. 

We believe in the photobook as an object to crease, love and collect – a total that is more than the sum of its parts.

Prior requirements/preparations: 
Participants should have a photographic project in an advanced state, which they want to turn into a publication. You will need to bring a pre-selection of pictures (100-150 small prints) from the project to start editing. You will also need a laptop with a layout program, such as Indesign, and the basic skills to use it. 

AKINA Books is an independent publishing house of hand-made photobooks, established in 2012 by Alex Bocchetto and Valentina Abenavoli – two Italians based in London but working internationally. Akina is a space to conceive, design, print and bind ideas, working closely with the authors on every aspect of the creative and technical process of bookmaking for every project they take up. Their most notable editions include “Grand Circle Diego” by Cyril Costilhes (2014), “Italia o Italia” by Federico Clavarino (2014), “Teikai” and “Linger” by Daisuke Yokota (2014), “Verbrannte Erde” by Salvatore Santoro (2013) as well as 10 issues of “Eclisse” – a periodical limited–edition handmade series, featuring short stories by emerging photographers.


Nico Baumgarten (DE) is a freelance photographer and bookmaker trying to find a way out of the limitations of the editorial and art market by creating books. He has studied photography at the IDEP in Barcelona and bookbinding at the CFP Bauer in Milan. He has self-published four books, all handmade in limited editions: 'Berlusconians / No Berlusconians' (2011), 'Leer' (2013), "ma almeno ci sei tu amore mio" (2013), “Die wachsamen Augen der Angela M.” (2014) and “How the other half lives” (in process, 2015). Nico has taught photography and bookmaking workshops in Berlin, Riga, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam and Paris.