Pomegranate Press- Top Picks & Interview with Jesse Feinman
We're very happy to be one of the only UK stockists for Virginia based Pomegranate Press, a publisher consistently putting out a really beautiful mix of contemporary photography with a brilliantly curated selection of featured artists. Check our current picks from our favourite titles and a short feature with Pomegranate's founder Jesse Feinman below:
Tell us a bit about Pomegranate Press, what made you want to start publishing artists books and what do you hope to achieve by doing so?
* Pomegranate is a small independent publishing house based out of Richmond, VA, originally formed in South Florida in 2015, that focuses on showcasing contemporary photography through limited edition, affordable publications. I wanted to start publishing artist books because, in short, I've always been manically obsessed with them. I was introduced to zines and art books when I was pretty young, around 14-15, and it just struck a chord with me that has never really diminished. On a similar thread, I've always been such a fan of the work my friends make (photography and otherwise), and in truth, Pom was really born out of wanting to be involved in what they were doing, to highlight it, pay respect to it, turn it into a tangible object, etc. Six years later I would say that intent is still pretty unchanged, the pool of friends is maybe just a bit bigger. Through all of this, I really hope to break down some of the barriers to entry into the book making world, to show that anyone can build a platform from the ground up, and to encourage others to create their own publishing networks-- whether that be through zines or monographs or whatever. I think independent publishing is one of the most powerful methods of communication (visual or otherwise), so if anything, I just hope to at least contribute to that conversation in some capacity.
Pomegranate books have a very distinct aesthetic , regardless of subject matter or general themes, you can tell its something from your own curated selection of artists. What makes you work with the photographers you publish?
* Well, it's a pretty visceral reaction a lot of the time. I wouldn't say there is anything in particular that I'm searching for (ala subject matter, digital v analogue, documentary or street, etc), but I usually know pretty quickly when I've found it, if that makes any sense. That FEELING, you know? I guess to speak a little less abstractly, though, I often look for work that is graphic, immediate, intense, explorative, and, perhaps most obviously, beautiful. While I think it'd perhaps be quite reductionist to simplify the work Pom releases as "pretty," I don't think it's necessarily an inaccurate adjective. I like showcasing work that feels hopeful, emotive, utopic and a little fantastical. I've always gravitated towards photography that feels, at surface level, simple, direct, and approachable, but is laden with implication and curiosity, etc, and when I get along with an artist who makes work like that, the collaboration usually comes naturally. Like I said, I make books for my friends, and so when that personal connection is entirely absent, I know that my relationship to the artist/ their work is better suited as an admirer, rather than a collaborator, which is totally okay, too.
AS GOOD A PLACE AS ANY by Hailey Heaton
Who are some of your main inspirations past and present?
* Peter De Potter, Rahim Fortune, Peter Saville, Oliver Vaughn, Eileen Gray, Richard Brautigan, James Baldwin, Frankie Knuckles, Horst P. Horst, Wolfgang Tillmans, Erwin Blumenfeld, Raymond Pettibon, Vladimir Kagan, Kevin Crowley, Sakevi, Florence Henri, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vivian Maier, Gordon Parks, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Family Books, Mast Books, Arcana, Aeon Bookstore, Tomorrow Today, Roma Publications, Loose Joints, TBW Books, Jack Bool, Jeano Edwards, Irina Rozovsky, Eikoh Hosoe, Dick Higgins, HR Giger, FW: Books, Justine Kurland, Fluxus as a whole, De Stidjl, Hassan Rahim, Palm Studios, Juan Brenner, Caroline Tompkins, Mark Sommerfeld, Jean Cocteau, Miro, Louise Andreas Salome, my Mom, Daniel Arnold, Jeff Mermelstein, Miranda Barnes, For Keeps Books, Spector Books, Sternberg Press, Village Books, Zoe Waldman, Bjork, AD93, Janushoved, Internazionale, Jason Wright, Matthew Leifheit, Braulio Amado, Sinna Nasseri, Ja Morant, I don't know where to stop and start but I know it's endless.
THE RAVINE, THE VIRGIN & THE SPRING by Juan Brenner
What would you like to see more of with regards to zine/photobook community?
* I would like to see more publishing houses ran entirely by young people (under 35) and less ego and social-stratification from the older generations. Less barriers and more anything-goes and more risks and less methodicalness and more experiments and less repetition. It'd be great to see more fanzines, publications that are born out of that obsession I was mentioning earlier. I think the world could use more shameless admiration for things that we are fortunate enough to exist alongside (like loveletters, you know). And perhaps above all else, I'd love to see more spaces to engage with these objects on a physical level, so we can have these sorts of conversations face to face.
Interview with Jesse Feinman by Sam Hutchinson, February 2022Shop all Pomegranate Press here