pssst....wanna see some pictures?

Dear (Miss Snark) -edited for anonymity

I'm the family pack-rat. I have four albums full of photos taken on an around the world trip back in 1925. They're gorgeous. I think there's the makings of a sort of "lost world" picture book/coffee table book.

There are many more photos than I would ever use in a book. They are very high quality, and have never seen the light of day outside the family. The text would have to focus on the lost-world quality of the photos.

Is there a market for this sort of thing? Anywhere? I'm not sure how to research the market at all. Any suggestions?

Sadly, there is probably no trade market for this kind of work. The other problem is you'd have to be real clear on who owns the copyright. Work done in the 20's can be in the public domain now, but I can't remember offhand if it's after 1923 or 24 or later.

There may be scholarly interest in these rather than trade book interest. You'd do well to talk to your librarian about archives for this kind of material. Another interested party might be film costumers and set decorators. Again, your librarian is your Most Awesome Resource on this.

Don't throw them away even if they aren't "salable". That opinion is not carved in stone and situations do change.


Anonymous said...

Licensing the photos to a photo agency would be a way to have them seen and used, and make some money from them.

Anonymous said...

While most traditional publishers won't touch this, you could go POD (Print on Demand) if you can get clear about the copyright. Niche products are an ideal POD candidate.

If you do decide to do this, use Lulu. There's no point in paying in advance for books you may not be able to sell.

Catja (green_knight) said...

I've got no idea of the market, but I should hope that there *is* a market for books such as this - at least there are books on the shelves, and it depends on the quality of the pictures and the text that will go with them whether they are of interest to a wider audiences.

Some smaller publishers might be interested. No ideas whether agents would be - get thee to a bookstore.

And yes, by no means throw the pictures away or allow them to decay...

Jean L. Cooper said...

I know at least one fine arts library that would be beside itself to get something like this. To find more, go to your nearby college or university library and ask for:

"Directory of special libraries and information centers, [2005] : a guide to more than 34,750 special libraries, research libraries, information centers, archives..." by Matthew Miskelly. Thompson-Gale. ISBN: 0787682527

That will help you pinpoint what libraries and archives collect that sort of thing.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Wouldn't any copyright belong to the owner? They've never been published, aren't comercial photos but family photos. So they aren't in public domain, are they?

They'd fall under "propriatary rights," would they not?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Ok ... So this is mine, and the honorific that was edited for anonymity was my usual, "Dear Snarky."

I'm coming out of the closet! or is it the Dark Room? Dang! I'm confused.

Anyway, I'm not sure it will help generate answers for this question, but I've posted two "average" photos on my blog.

Most of the photos are of similar or better quality. I still think there some sort of potential here; I just don't know what it is.

Beth said...

There are bound to be publishers somewhere who specialize in the sort of coffee table book these photos deserve. Maybe National Geographic might point you in the right direction? Or better yet, start looking at who does publish those big, gorgeous books of photos and try querying them. And fwiw, I'd buy this book. I'll bet lots of others would, too.

Gabriele Campbell said...

I would totally buy such a book, provided it's within my financial limits. I love old photos and the ones on your blog are pretty (and good quality, I'd say).

Kristen King, Inkthinker said...

After 1923 is fair game.

Anonymous said...

Taschen, maybe?