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The Indie Photobook Library Moves to Yale

By Peggy Roalf   Friday November 18, 2016

[Today] self-publishers, independent/collaborative publishers and print-on-demand services are challenging the traditional publishing paradigm. A photobook is a photobook, no matter how it was published. A self-published book should not be judged differently. Doing-it-yourself is just as valid as publishing with a big press. All are part of the current photobook discussion and I have been championing that for many years.—Larissa Leclair, founder of Indie Photobook Library

For the pure love of photobooks, Larissa Leclair began collecting independently published photobooks in 2010. Starting out with one book, an idea, and a Facebook page, she started a collection that grew rapidly. At first, the books were stored away in boxes at her home in Washington, D.C. As social media began offering more and more options to make these books publically available, she also began organizing exhibitions featuring the actual books. Among these was A Survey of Documentary Styles in early 21st century Photobooks, co-curated with Darius Himes (then director of Fraenkel Gallery) which involved a call for entries that added substantially to the collection.

In a 2012 interview with Paul Moakley for Light Box, Leclair said, “I have very ambitions dreams and goals for the Indie Photobook Library. I hope it will be seen as the “Library of Congress” for self-published photobooks and that photographers will continue to add to the collection as they create new books over their career.”

This week, Yale University announced that the iPL has been placed at the Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The collection now includes more than 2,000 photobooks from around the world along with related ephemera as well as Leclair’s personal collection related to self-publishing.

With the iPL now part of the Beinecke collections, Leclair will promote its use with the library’s curators and collaborate on curriculum. The entity of the iPL is closed to submissions now, existing as a unique look at self-publishing from around 2008 to 2016. Leclair will continue to look at new titles and work directly with museums and libraries to collect self-published titles from around the world, directly connecting collectors and makers and shaping photobook history. Info Get the catalogue for A Survey of Documentary Styles in early 21st century Photobookshere. Above: iPL at FotoWeek DC 2010

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