Interview with the Jury: Irma Boom

by Unseen August 03 2016

This week Unseen talks to Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom who specialises in book-making about her experience as a juror and her very first photo book purchase. See what she has to say below!

Q: Is there a difference in how you approach photo books as a book designer, a teacher and as an individual?
A: No difference…..

Q: What would you look for in submissions to set them apart from others?
A: I will look for a good concept for a specific photographer. So no routine job, something experimental.

Q: How has your own work evolved or changed over time?
A: Because of making so many books and my curiosity to make specific books, my works develops quickly: sometimes not so good and sometimes I surprise myself.

Q: What would you find the most important part of the process when creating a book?
A: The start – the first meeting with the commissioner/photographer – is always the most important.

Q: Any predictions in the direction that the photo book industry will develop?
A: I think there is still a lot to discover in the way photography is presented. I hope we will still have the good crafting people to execute our work.

Q: If you were not doing graphic design, what would you be doing?
A: I wanted to be become a painter, that was my first love, but I am also interested in law and architecture.

Q: As a teacher, what is your biggest challenge when transferring knowledge to others?
A: Curiosity, precision and attention to the subject.

Q: You have produced various media ranging from visual identity and posters to exhibition design, but books are what you are especially known for. Why books? What is so special about this form?
A: Books bring edited content together. Because of its unchangeable seqence it creates a new entity, a new world to reflect on.


Q: As a graphic designer you often work with photographers to realise their ideas. What is the most interesting aspect of this collaboration?
A: To make a book that is specific for the photographer and to respect the work.

Q: What was the first photo book you purchased? And why?
A: Root & Turns (1988) from Els Barents. It was my introduction into the world of photography. She opened my eyes.

portrait Irma Boom A4 (1).jpg

The Unseen Dummy Award award ceremony will be a part of this year's Unseen Living Room programme. Be sure to drop by and see the winning photo book dummy of 2016!