This summer saw the launch of the second publication resulting from the Camberwell Book Prize. Launched at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, Perspectives, by Camberwell BA Photography alumna Paulina Korobkiewicz was published by Camberwell Press and was designed by BA Graphic Design alumnus Sam Jones.
The Camberwell Book Prize project was launched by BA Photography course leader Duncan Wooldridge and Reader in Art and Media Practice at Camberwell Sigune Hamann to support emerging artists to produce an experimental publication and develop their careers after graduation. The first iteration, Liam Magee’s Top/Top, received considerable press, and was featured on the cover of the major publication Source Photographic Review.
In Perspectives, Paulina photographs objects that enter our ordinary field of vision – street corners, fences, staircases, and walls – and assembles them into considered studies on colour and composition. Forms we process passively acquire new meaning and are re-imagined into deft arrangements through a range of lighting and cropping techniques.
We spoke to Paulina and Sam about the project and their experiences of working together to bring the book to publication.
Paulina, tell us about this project in your own words. How did you come to produce the book?
Paulina: The project is about the process of looking and the book is a reflection of that. Its sculptural form is intended to extend the viewer’s experience of the photographs featured within it – looking at urban spaces and interacting with them. I chose to work in this format because of how dynamic and flexible it is. The book offers an opportunity to expose the viewer to the body of work rather than single image, maintaining my control over the order in which the images are seen. Organising, sequencing and creating relationships between paired images reflects the process of shooting in the street; finding elements of everyday urban views and cropping them into photographs.
Sam, how did you come to be involved in the project?
Sam: I became involved with the project through my role as a Design Associate at Camberwell Press. When I first joined the Press in 2014 we were working on the first Book Prize (Liam Magee’s Top/Top). This was designed by fellow Associate Oliver Boulton. Not only was Top/Top a really exciting and desirable book, I also noticed the collaborative dynamic between artist, designer and jurors (Duncan Wooldridge, Sigune Hamann and James Edgar). So when the opportunity came about to work on the second instalment of the Prize I was really keen to be a part of that collaboration. Oliver and I worked together as designers for the project as we have done with many other Camberwell Press projects.
Can you both please tell us about what it was like to collaborate to bring this project to publication? What were your favourite things about working on this?
Paulina: It was a very organic collaboration. Since 2015 we have been working together to bring this project to life. I wanted the book to reflect photographs in the most literal, physical sense. Sam and Oliver are talented designers with fantastic ideas. From the very beginning, they embraced my project and helped me emphasise the sculptural aspects of the photographs through book design, expanding on what was needed to present the images effectively. I received full support from the tutors and Camberwell Press. The experience has been a great introduction to working independently after graduating. It was inspiring to see the work come together and slowly achieve something we were all pleased with. Every person involved gave different input to help shape the outcome.
Sam: As already mentioned, the collaborative process of this project in particular is one of the main reasons I was interested in working on it. From the very start of working with Paulina and all the jurors it was clear that everyone was very open to a variety of possible outcomes and forms that the book could take. Sometimes artists come with a very strong idea of what they want the book to look like and the content. Paulina instead came with a strong selection of photographs that focused on urban architecture and was very much open to Oliver and myself as designers, along with the jurors, to pitch in our thoughts on how this selection of work and the themes could be successfully presented in the form of a book. From the very beginning through until the printing of the book it was a very collaborative process, where most of the work would actually happen during meetings that took place every two or three weeks where we held open discussions about the design of the book and made most of the design decisions at these meetings. I think the willingness to be open and collaborate with everyone involved with the project has allowed the final outcome to be something brave and bold, and I think that’s a reflection of us trusting one another throughout the process.
What have you both been up to, besides this project, since you graduated?
Paulina: Since graduating, besides my own self-directed projects, I have been freelancing as a photographer and working as a Gallery Manager in central London. I have also been teaching myself to keep a camera on me at all times.
Sam: I’ve been working as an Associate Designer for Camberwell Press after having done a small internship after graduating. At The Press I’ve been primarily working on designing publications for artists, galleries and practitioners within the arts and culture sector. The experience at Camberwell Press has been very unique and I have learnt so much over the three years. It’s very rare to immediately be given a project from very start to end, dealing one to one with clients and printers straight after graduating, but Camberwell Press has offered that and the experience has proved invaluable. Aside from Camberwell Press I have also been doing some freelance work and facilitating workshops at UAL, notably Particitype, with fellow Perspectives designer Oliver Boulton. These workshops take place with BA Graphic Design students and concentrate on the designing of letterforms through means of collaboration and participation. Particitype has almost developed into a body of research that we are currently working on forming into a small artists’ publication.
You are both Camberwell alumni, can you tell us a bit about your time at college and what you enjoyed? How do you feel that your time at Camberwell has impacted what you have done since?
Paulina: I learned that there is only so much that other people can teach you before you are left alone with the responsibility of finding what it is that continues to motivate the growth of a process. Even though freedom has the ability to be confusing, I enjoyed the independence the course gave me. It helped me develop confidence within my own approach.
Sam: I studied on the BA Graphic Design course at Camberwell and I really enjoyed the approach to thinking that the course upheld. On reflection I feel that the course got us to always question and to never stop being inquisitive in your work. It’s also a very open ended course, in the sense that it doesn’t set out these strict rules and boundaries for what graphic design is or should be. Instead it allows for students to use the fundamentals of the discipline to shape their own path as a practitioner, whatever that may be, whilst constantly teaching us to think and question. Aside from the course I really enjoyed the small and intimate size of Camberwell, it meant that you could really get to know students of other courses, as well as tutors and technicians.
What are you both working on next?
Paulina: I am constantly developing new ideas and seeing where they will take me, collaborating with writers, performers as well as focusing on freelance commissions. The book prize was a great experience and I would be very happy to work with Sam and Oliver again in the future.
Sam: Aside from the Particitype publication I am currently working on a few freelance jobs as well as keeping up my involvement with Camberwell Press. On the back of ‘Perspectives’ and the collaborative success of th77 project Paulina, Oliver and myself have discussed the desire to all work together again in the future which would be very exciting!
All images: © Paulina Korobkiewicz, Perspectives.