Photos can be read too
VU considers the book a space for creation, a way of materializing images and ideas, an object for thought. When dedicated to photography, the book can take unlimited forms—from autobiography to fantasy, from travelogue to history book, from the artist’s manifesto to the political pamphlet. In the book, photographs can be read and have a voice in a space that belongs to them.
Turning their back on the conventional formats of the catalogue or monograph, with the book as object artists invent new possible forms for the realization of their photographic projects. They explore the book through concepts, sequences, or narrative modes as much as through the materiality of paper, ink, and binding. The book offers a tactile connection with the artwork, which also becomes nomadic, finding itself passing through numerous hands in different places. Through the book, the artwork lives through time, assured of longevity in the world of those who make a place for it, in private collections as much as libraries and other public collections.
VU’s publishing program encourages artists to develop their practices through the exploration of this medium so well suited to photography. With its publications, VU affirms its vision of the book as a space dedicated to images and to the stories, issues, and poetic worlds communicated by artists. Moreover, the book is reflected upon in different ways, through exhibitions, workshops, roundtables, and master classes dedicated to this medium. VU also supports research and creation of books with residencies, with our annual book dummy workshop Assemblages, and by supporting artists with grants.
Editions J’ai VU (2000–2014) disseminated contemporary photography from Québec and the rest of Canada by publishing books that presented innovative ways of thinking about photographic art. The series Livres d’artistes gave artists a voice by enabling them to use the book as a creative space in its own right. The series L’image amie explored the relationship between photography and literature, while the series L’opposite brought artists and authors from a variety of disciplines together to think about the various uses to which photography is put.