In their research, the editors discovered that between 2013 and 2017, in the online inventory of major photobook sellers, only 16% of the available titles were by women. Women artists, including myself, sometimes cringe at the idea of being pigeonholed into women-only projects. Perhaps it's the sense that being isolated in this category keeps you at the fringe. Or perhaps it's the wish not to confine the reading of your work to a gender-based lens. But books such as this remind me that “the majors” are often driven by a system of judgment that idealizes the prejudices of the marketplace, and that the fringe is actually a compelling place to be. For the 25th anniversary of photo-eye’s Best Book selection, I've chosen a project that moves the periphery to the center for a moment. Also notable is that in 2019, the editors will open a series of hands-on reading rooms that will be stocked with 100 books by women. I'm very much looking forward to spending some time in one of these.
Carolyn Drake is the author of three critically acclaimed, self-published books: Two Rivers (2013), Wild Pigeon (2014), and Internat (2017). She currently lives in Vallejo, California, USA. www.carolyndrake.com