Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
We are the three co-organisers of Liège Photobook Festival: Matthieu Litt is photographer and graphic designer, David Widart is photographer and Christophe Collas is photographer and art curator. The three of us are passionate about publishing and photobooks in particular, which are highly praised nowadays. What is funny is that the three of us live in the region of Liège but we actually met abroad at some photography events a few years ago. We also love photobook fairs (the Unseen book market in Amsterdam is one of our favorites) and after visiting many of them in the last years, we slowly started to imagine our own event dedicated to photo-books. And now here it is: the first festival dedicated to the independent photobook in Belgium!
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
It is hard not to talk about Liège Photobook Festival again. We are very happy with the partnerships we managed to build, mainly with BIP Biennale de l’Image Possible which hosts our festival, and the FOMU (Fotomuseum Antwerp) which will launch his 5th edition of .tiff magazine in Liège. We are also very excited to welcome (and grateful to) renowned publishers, speakers, portfolio reviewers and artists who accepted our invitation for this first edition! (Some of them had probably never heard of Liège before).
What are you looking forward to?
While the popularity of photobooks has been continuously increasing over the last fifteen years, there is still a lack of visibility for many independent publishers. Our goal is therefore to gather visitors from all over Belgium and the neighboring countries (hello Maastricht!) and to create exposure for the publishers and the artists. We would like, on the one hand, to foster fruitful encounters between professionals (artists, publishers, curators…) and, on the other hand, introduce the public to this exciting contemporary trend in photography. All this should generate new ideas, new collaborations and, hopefully, new events. As photobooks aficionados, we are also very much looking forward to get freshly published books in our hands since many publishers will launch their last pieces during the festival. And we cannot wait to discover the winner of our “Dummy and Self-published Photobook Award”!
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
Do not hesitate to team up with other professionals. Do not think that you can do everything on your own. It is important to share knowledge and good plans with other professionals. Do dare to contact big institutions that you dream to work with, it could work! And open a book at least once a day!
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
Cultural entrepreneurship will be more accessible when it will be financially sustainable. Therefore we need our governments to have ambitious cultural plans. They have to acknowledge that art and culture play an important role in the economy when it is so hard to finance projects in these fields. Fortunately, everybody can support an artist and get his work at home, just by buying his book!