Julie Blackmon's Unexpected Darkness
Indie Groundbreaking Publisher
Sparking New Conversations About Art
Since 2007, Radius Books has grown out of Santa Fe, New Mexico to encompass a global photographic collection of publications. Non-profit Radius Books was launched when photo editor Darius Himes and publicist Joanna Hurley joined with book designers David Chickey and David Skolkin in an effort to create artistic conversation through accessible, award-winning photography and fine art collections. Radius was founded with a simple goal: get people to talk about art. Since then, they have shared stunning visuals with the world that demand discussion, including two recent IPPY award winners.
The first requirement in Radius Books’ selection process comes in a simple question: “Do we love the work?” It is evident that every Radius book is a labor of love. As the company’s mission states, every book Radius publishes should be “important in some lasting way” and fit “into a broader cultural dialogue.”
To ensure that everyone can be involved in that dialogue, Radius donates at least 300 copies of each title to schools and libraries across the nation with the hope of inspiring the next generation.
Radius has co-published a number of books in collaboration with museums including The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Skolkin explains that the appearance of Radius books on museum shelves reflects “more and more galleries… seeing books as a central means of expression, and [they collect] accordingly.” Radius offers reflections and monographs in addition to a vast collection of original works that carry on the conversations sparked by the original artists. In addition to trade copies, many books are also printed in limited editions which contain signed original artwork.
In 2014, Mitakuye Oyasin by Aaron Huey won the IPPY gold medal for Photography. A haunting collection of pictures taken at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Mitakuye Oyasin portrays “both the broken social landscape and the ceremonial warrior culture” of the Oglala Lakota tribe. The book opens and closes with traditional Lakota prayer and the photographs within reveal the beauty and hardships of the Lakota people in their everyday lives.
In 2015, Julie Blackmon became an IPPY silver medalist in Photography for her book Homegrown. The book features pictures of home life that form, as Billy Collins says in his introduction, “oddly fleshed out worlds.” The dream-like collection concludes with an interview conducted by Reese Witherspoon. (See sidebar for more about Homegrown.)
Upcoming Radius Books publications include a look at the beauty and complexity of artificial light and the impact of consumption in Lux by Christina Seely; Billboards, a collection encompassing an “ambitious statewide exhibition of 336 billboards created by Cuban-born artist Félix González-Torres” that was put on display in Texas; and a book focusing on the green rooftop movement in Rooftop by Brad Temkin that features essays from authors John Rohrbach and Steven Peck, as well as architect Roger Schickedantz.
To learn more about Radius Books, visit their website here.
Anais Mohr is a senior at Central High School in Traverse City, Michigan. She is a member of Front Street Writers, a program where high school students are coached in a workshop setting by professional writers. She loves to read fractured fairytales and middle-grade fiction.