Established with a mission to foster and promote creative endeavours, Éditions du LIC is an independent book publisher founded and run by the Scandinavian creative collective, lifeiscarbon® and one of my personal favourites. Specialising in the publication of provocative contemporary titles by emerging avant-garde photographers, they never fail to amaze.
What’s behind your name?
Éditions du LIC is run by a Scandinavian creative collective called LIFEISCARBON. In truth, we didn’t put a lot of thought into the name of our publishing imprint and in effect we chose the most functional name we could think of. However, since “Books by Lifeiscarbon” sounded rather dull in English and inspired by Éditions de Minuit (a publisher we very much admire) we decided upon a French name. Despite the fact that we are clearly based in Scandinavia, few people ask about our name… and most people seem to feel that it is the right name for an independent photobook publisher.
What made you decide to start Éditions du LIC?
Lifeiscarbon was established as a way to foster and support creative endeavours across various disciplines (especially art, fashion and design). In the past we have been involved in a number of creative collaborations but none of them sustained our interest longterm. Despite our involvement in fashion and design projects, we realised that our first passion (the glue that held our various projects together) was photography. It also dawned on us that our office (as well as our individual homes) were full of books and magazines. Combining our two “first loves” – photography and books – seems so obvious now but it took us a few years to make the connection. What could be better than collaborating with photographers whose work we admire to design and publish photobooks?
As soon as we had decided to begin publishing photobooks we realised that there was a massive need to plug the gap between zine publishers and high end publishers like Steidl and Mack. Our objective has always been to fill that gap and to publish high quality limited edition photobooks by emerging avant-garde photographers.
Do you remember the first photobook that really impressed you?
Impossible to say. Simply because we can remember so many and we are constantly discovering new books that “push the boundaries”. Every time we return from a photo fair somewhere in the world we have a heavy bag full of newly published photobooks. The rate of innovation – in terms of photography, subject matter, materials, layout, design etc – is staggering … especially in the last couple of years. And the rise and rise of self-published photobooks is having a positive effect on the many photobook publishers by pushing them to try harder in terms of innovation, quality, value for money etc. Rather than mentioning specific books, we would prefer to mention the photobook publishers that we respect and admire like Akina Books, Ca L’Isidret Edicions, Oodee Books, RVB Books and of course, Mack Books.
What does art mean to you?
“We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth”. Nietzsche said it better than we could ever hope to. Although this, from Henry James, perhaps better sums up how we feel on a daily basis: “We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”
Among the books you have published, do you have personal favourites? Why or why not?
We do, but out of fairness to all of our collaborators, we couldn´t possible say. In reality, our latest book is our favourite… until the next new one is published.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are busy working on the next titles to be published by Éditions du LIC. In the short term, we will be releasing a number of special editions (numbered and signed books presented in custom made clamshell boxes together with artist prints) to release in the coming weeks. In addition, we plan to publish at least 9 new photobooks in 2015.
Interview by Amanda Akiyama