Machiel Botman: Photographic Bookdummy

May  14 Time 10:00-13:00 / 14:00-18:00
May  15 Time 10:00-13:00 / 14:00-18:00
May  16 Time 10:00 - 13:00 / 14:00-18:00

The photographic bookdummy - A Workshop  by Machiel Botman

"What is a bookdummy? It is the playground for your ideas. Inside it nothing is fixed, there are no rules and you have total freedom. You can change anything at any time. This object should first serve to teach yourself something. Then you can show it to others, this will open up the big world where things work or not. A bookdummy needs no pressure. If you do it right, you simply let it come to life. Above all a bookdummy is a gift to yourself, beautiful or not - this does not matter.
It is unimportant how much experience you have to participate in this workshop. All it takes is to come with an open mind and to bring your mess. Your unfinished stuff, small prints or writings or drawings, whatever. Please make sure to bring real stuff that we can touch, we do not want to sit in front of computers all day. The key is to get confidence that you have something that is worth working on. I will not tell you what to photograph, in fact I don't care if you photograph at all. I want you to move inside your own work and to show what happens all the time. Inside this there is the space to take pictures, to write, to draw or whatever it is you want to do. You will constantly have me nearby, to talk about your ideas, to give suggestions for editing and layouts, to help create something. In the end I see a large table and in front of each one of us a small book that I hope you will be happy with for the rest of your life".

For the workshop Botman will bring his prints, books and their bookdummies. Student's dummies can be made in any way: with real prints, computer prints, photocopied, handwritten, typed out.

Botman's photography is intuitive, he collects his images without much plan, other than to understand their meaning afterwards. Half of Botman's work is the continuous composing of book dummies. These dummies end up in actual published books: Heartbeat (1994) was based on the photographs taken from 1978 to 1994, Rainchild (2004) was based on the photographs from 1994 to 2004. His new and still unpublished book One Tree is based on the photographs he has taken after 2005. Together these three books show a person, a photographer, and his life: his relationships, his child, friends, the places he travels to and the people he meets. It is a changing life, where good things happen, like the birth of his son, and at the same time the not so good things happen, such as the passing of his mother. Botman includes his writings and his drawings in these books. His style is intimate, also dark in meaning and in imagery.

The other part of Botman's work lies in curating exhibitions (lastly in 2008 and 2009 the two large retrospectives of Japanese photographers Miyako Ishiuchi and Kiyoshi Suzuki, both of which traveled through Europe) and creating beautiful object-catalogues to accompany these exhibitions.
Finally, Botman teaches photographic workshops with the emphasis on finding context for the work of students and the making of bookdummies. In Italy Botman has taught with TPW, in New York with The New School University, in Perth with John Curtin University.

Machiel Botman is represented by Gitterman Gallery in New York, Galerie VU in Paris and Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam. He lives in Maremma, Italy and he does his own prints in Heemstede, The Netherlands.

Registration fee: 300 euro + VAT
Register on the phone at + 39 0522 516656 or
If you understand Italian register on this web page:

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