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In 2012 we decided to re-imagine what a support group for our library might look like. Our extraordinary Library Committee had been supporting all that we do for a decade, but we wanted more members, international members, and people who are not already in ICP’s community to join in. The co-chairs of the Library Committee, Stephanie Shuman, Evan Mirapaul and I developed the idea of Friends of the ICP Library, a group of advocates not so much bound to attending special behind-the-scenes visits, but who can attend any of the vibrant public programs in the library, and then help to develop an annual artist book that will only be for them exclusively.

So, in the fall we mailed our list of known prospects, asked our marvelous advisors from the worlds of photography and books to recommend more, and new Friends have been signing up ever since!

Meanwhile, it has been a hectic couple of months behind the scenes of the first Friends edition, and I wanted to give you a glimpse of what we have been up to. As you may know, great libraries are built out of the aspirations and knowledge of their Friends and patrons, and the edition is intended to exemplify that.

In July and August we gathered a list of prospects for the first Friends edition. The list contained about 50 names of artists we know through ICP’s school, public programs, awards, collection, exhibitions, and, particularly, those we know through the library.

Preference was given to artists we knew had projects ready that they would like to see in print, and who were able to be in New York during the best part of the process, especially for a launch in May, and particularly artists who have graphic designers in place already, or ones who are graphic designers, as well. This first year we knew that we would have to streamline the process somewhat, as it is a new endeavor for us. In future, we are hoping that a longer lead time and a growing list of supporters will enable us to make much more international and experimental edition.

After many calls, e-mails and live discussions with the 50 people, we ended up with a spreadsheet that had many columns and notes, and then the concerted winnowing began. We finally ended up with 5 finalists, and then 4 who would be able to submit materials in time to us for your review. This process was very challenging, because we are surrounded with thoughtful and amazing artists, but we wanted to have a range of styles and approaches to communicate the diversity represented by our community and their library.

We asked each for an electronic version of a BLAD* and produced packets for the Friends of the Library to state their preference, the idea being that it would be a shame not to see more than one of the remarkable projects that are being incubated in our community.

If you are interested in what we are up to, let me know at Please do also spread the word to your friends about how they can become our Friends, and have the bragging rights of joining in our inaugural year.

* Publishers often create a blad as a form of pre-publication sales material for upcoming books. Blad stands for book (or, basic) layout and design. suggests that the word comes from bl(urb) + ad. It is sometimes written in all caps as BLAD. A blad is a booklet consisting of a few sample pages or chapters of a book with a proof of the front and back covers or book jacket. It serves as a preview of the book for promotional use, reviewers, and advance sales.

Now that the Friends have had a sneak preview, we are gathering their votes, and will soon announce the edition!

Meet the 4 finalists and enjoy a sneak peak at images from their BLADs, above.

About the finalists:

Matthew Monteith graduated from the General Studies Program at the International Center of Photography in 1995, and earned an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2004. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the Czech Republic from 2001to2002 and the resulting work was published as Czech Eden by Aperture in 2007. He had a residency at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation in New York City in 2004 and 2005 and received the Abigail Cohen Rome Prize in Photography from the American Academy in Rome in 2008. His work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Arles and Cherbourg, France; Kyoto, Japan; New York City, Paris, and San Francisco. He has participated in many group exhibitions internationally. Currently he is assistant professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Mom/Dad is an accordion book 12 X 12 inches, with 40 color photographs of Monteith’s own parents, all Mom on one side and all Dad on the other. Both sides of the book move from front to back with no beginning and no end, creating a loop. The book can also be viewed standing up on end to give the viewer a more complete view.

Brian Paumier was born in Oxnard, California, the middle of three boys. He graduated from 12 years of Catholic school and attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he met his partner Joaquin Trujillo. They worked together as TrujilloPaumier. His military career, which included deployment to Iraq for two years, provided both life experience and the opportunity to attend the ICP-Bard MFA Program, where he credits studies with Nayland Blake and David Deitcher as having given him a creative recharge and the know-how on how to think about and create work, as well as the confidence and courage to put his work into the world with integrity.

Act of Faith builds upon Paumier’s recent ICP/Bard  MFA thesis exhibition, and will include a DVD of his film, found elements and images that are a meditation on war, masculinity, and a promise. His concept for this Friends Edition is to customize each copy with found elements that relate to the project’s themes and content: ribbons, fabrics, packaging.

Saul Robbins is best known for the series Initial Intake, which examines the empty chairs of Manhattan-based psychotherapy professionals from their clients’ perspective. Most recently, Robbins completed How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue, in which he invited passersby to speak with him about anything they wish, for free and in complete confidence, in a pop-up office environment in midtown Manhattan. He has exhibited at the Bolinas Museum, Blue Sky Gallery, chashama in New York City, Deutsche Haus at NYU, Massachusetts General Hospital, MICA, Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, New Orleans Photo Alliance, Ost Gallery in Moscow, Portland Art Museum, the Philoctetes Center, and Rayko, among others. His photographs have been published by Aufbau, Berlin Tagesspiegel, CPW Quarterly, Feature Shoot, FlavorWire,, More, The New York Times, Real Simple, and Wired. Grants and awards include a chashama Windows Award, The Covenant Foundation, Sony World Photography Awards (Finalist), AJPA Rockower, Gunk Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Curatorial projects include Projecting Freedom: Cinematic Interpretations of the Haggadah (2010), Regarding Intimacy (2007), and No Live Girls, Peep Show 28 (2002). Robbins received his MFA from Hunter College in 1999, and teaches photography at ICP and Pratt Institute in New York City, as well as master workshops in Europe.

 White Light Meditations is an artist book of contiguous images made by scraping away the emulsion from a single piece chromogenic (Type C) photographic paper (8 X 120 in.), exposed to daylight while working, and then developed in a traditional color processor and chemistry. The Friends Edition will be from scanned of the original work, printed to retain the tactile quality of the work, and accompanied by a print and a sample of the emulsion scrapings.

Claudia Sohrens is an artist from Hamburg, Germany. Her work revolves around the photograph and different practices of photo archiving. Sohrens is currently a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She is the recipient of several artist grants, including the 2010 NYFA fellowship for Photography, and she was an artist-in-residence at the Bronx Museum in New York. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and at the Artists Space in New York, as well as international art venues and festivals, such as the Electronic Language Festival in Sao Paulo, the Project Space at Kunsthalle Wien, KW – the Institut for Contemporary Art in Berlin, and Kampnagel KX in Hamburg. Her photographic research project Mise En Abyme: Archive, is sponsored by Artspire/NYFA. She is a faculty member at ICP, Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute.

Anarchive: Projections of the In-Visible derives from Sohrens’ research in Hambourg at SAK (Sozialistiches Anwaltskollektiv) about “Movement 2 June” and is a meditation on how photo archiving acts upon historic and political meaning. This edition will be 20 two sided cards within a clamshell box, a small booklet, a roll of white labels and 2 folded masks of the Shah and Empress of Iran.

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