Bookmarks: Sturm & Drang

This series features interviews with independent photobook publishers. This month’s interview is with Reto Caduff and Rahel Morgen, founders of the Swiss publishing house Sturm & Drang.

Out There by Bruno Augsburger. Published 2014.

DTP: How would you describe Sturm & Drang to someone who has never seen your books?

S&D: Sturm & Drang is an independent photo-book publisher from Switzerland. Founded in 2014, it publishes books capturing visual stories by emerging talents as well as established artists and rediscovered treasures from the past.

DTP: What series of events led you to start your own publishing house?

S&D: The oversaturation of digital images online has led us to a new valuation of the photo book as an important medium in telling stories through photographic art. The pleasure of lifting a printed page and browsing through an image-filled book is a unique experience.

From Out There by Bruno Augsburger

DTP: How do you find photographers that you want to work with and how do you determine what might make a good photo book?

S&D: It is all based on our very personal taste and interest. Sometimes we do find images online that create an interest, sometimes it is a referral or a vintage book we discover and sometimes it is a name that has been on our secret list we have developed long before we started this venture. So it is never a commercial decision and always guided by our personal interest.

DTP: Have there been any books that have been particularly rewarding to produce or that you felt a special kinship with?

S&D: Since we only publish a small amount of books per year each, every work is a true labor of love, always in close collaboration with the artist.

DTP: What are some forthcoming titles are you particularly excited about?

S&D: We will soon release a series of five volumes with works by the Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger. His work is truly unique and documents Swiss outsiders between the 50s and 80s. And the images from the 80s underground scenes and artists by German photographer Ilse Ruppert will be another exciting release.

Carry Me Ohio  by Matt Eich. Published 2016.

Carry Me Ohio by Matt Eich. Published 2016.

DTP: What was one of the most challenging books that you have published and why?

S&D: Matt Eich´s book Carry Me Ohio. His images of the forgotten American working class in Virginia are deeply touching and disturbing at the same time. The release of the book coinciding with the presidential election created a big buzz and controversy.

From Carry Me Ohio by Matt Eich

DTP: It seems that an increasing number of photographers, at all stages of their careers, are looking to publish a book. What should photographers think about before they embark on the book process? 

S&D: Nobody gets rich with publishing photo books. View your book as a promotional tool and be prepared to devote time and money to get the word out there. But most importantly ask yourself: what story do I want to tell that is truly unique and needs to be seen by an audience.

Visit the Sturm & Drang website to learn more about their books.