The.DPP Photobook ATX Conversation

ADM: Can you share a brief description of what Photobook Austin is, and background on your recent guests?

Sean Perry: Photobook ATX is a collaboration between myself and photographer Bryan Schutmaat that is produced and hosted by the Photography Department at ACC. We organize public conversations and periodic meet-ups in Austin to discuss and celebrate photobooks and photographs. At our first event in February we presented three Texas photographers who recently published new books. Bryan Schutmaat interviewed Eli Durst, curator Natalie Zelt interviewed Rahim Fortune,and I interviewed Sarah Wilson.

Here is a little background about our guests:

Eli Durst’s work blends the languages of conceptual and documentary photography, creating open-ended and ambiguous narratives. The Community, Durst’s first monograph, was published in 2020 and his recent title, The Four Pillars was published by Loose Joints. He earned an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2016, and has received notable awards for his work including the Aperture Portfolio Prize for his series In Asmara, the Aaron Siskind Photographer’s Fellowship Grant, and The Hopper Prize.

Rahim Fortune works between Austin and New York crafting work for commercial clients and personal projects. He uses photography to ask fundamental questions about American identity. Focusing on the narratives of individual families and communities, he explores shifting geographies of migration and resettlement, and the way that these histories are written on the landscapes of Texas and the American South. His recent book, I can’t stand to see you cry was published by Loose Joints in 2021, and is now in its second printing.

Sarah Wilson is an Emmy winning photographer, cinematographer, film producer and co-founder of Go-Valley, an Austin-based production company. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she balances documentary films and editorial photography assignments with personal and public art projects. In her current photographic series and book, DIG: Notes on Field and Family, Wilson explores her grandfather’s life’s work as a paleontologist, and ignites her own search for fossils and existential perspective in the West Texas desert. DIG was recently published by Yoffy Press, and after selling out quickly is now in its second printing.

ADM: Will this be a recurring event with different photographers each time?

Sean Perry: Yes! We invite three photographers and present 20 minute conversations with each about their project, book, and creative practice.

ADM: How many people were in attendance? 

Sean Perry: We were thrilled to welcome 200+ at our first gathering, and for many of the guests it was their first time visiting ACC and Photography’s new home.

ADM: Any upcoming DPP events or exhibitions you would like to shoutout?

Sean Perry: We have a baller day planned for Thursday, May 11th celebrating the completion of the spring semester along with our 50th anniversary. In the East Atrium of Building 2000 (the passthrough between building 1000 to 2000) we’ll be kicking off the afternoon with an anniversary themed Photobooth, followed by our next gathering of Photobook ATX. That evening we’ll open The.DPP Spring 2023 Exhibition, “Through the Looking Glass” upstairs in Building 1000. Please join us! 

Photobooth @ 3pm to 5pm
Photobook ATX 5:30pm to 7pm (Doors at 5pm)
The.DPP Spring Exhibition

ADM: Anything else you would like to share about the Photobook Austin event?

Sean Perry: I’m really excited about the community we are building and serving in our department and collaborations. These events are not broadcast or recorded to watch later – because one emphasis of Photobook ATX is about experiencing shared interests and conversations with friends new and old, in person. All are welcome, and I love that our students have the opportunity to engage with our greater creative community. At the core of The.DPP’s mission is the idea we are here to help students define and prepare for a photographic life. We believe photobooks are a vital way to learn and explore new worlds and perspectives. They are also beautiful objects that inspire and bring joy.

Please follow us for news and updates @photobookATX and @the.dpp, you can learn more about our winter guest’s work at the links below.

Eli Durst

Bryan Schutmaat

Rahim Fortune

Natalie Zelt

Sarah Wilson

Sean Perry


Photo credit: The Department of Professional Photography

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