Interview with Hassla Books publisher, David Schoerner

I am delighted to present the first in my yet unnamed series of small publisher interviews with a discussion with David Schoerner, founder of Hassla Books. Schoerner started Hassla Books in January 2007 in Amherst, New Hampshire. The first publication, David Schoerner, was released in March 2007. He followed his first publication with a 20-page booklet titled Drawings 2007 by Dan McCarthy in April 2007 and three photographic publications-- The Beginning by Ola Rindal, Streets and Trails by Bernhard Fuchs and just released, Love and Before, Green and After by Marcelo Gomes. Hassla Books is now based in New York.

Images shown here from top center: ©Rindal, Gomes and Schoerner, respectively.

MM: What made you want to self-publish?
DS: I've been very interested in artist books for a while. I published my book of photographs simply for the reason of wanting to have a small book to show people my work. Also, I did it hoping that I could sell enough in order to print a book of another artist's work, which is how I started hassla.

MM: Your books are small and saddle-stitched, why did you choose to produce the books in this format?
DS: By keeping the books small it allows for a more intimate view of the artists work, it also allows me to keep the prices of the books lower which makes a small edition artist book affordable for more people... that doesn't mean though that eventually I wouldn't like to be able to publish larger, hardcover books. But for now I'm happy with publishing a smaller size and lower edition artist book.

MM: Why did you select the four artists whose work you have published so far?
DS: They're all artists whose work I admire and respect.

MM: Do you accept proposals? Is so, how do you like them presented?
DS: Right now I don't really accept proposals. People send them and I usually will take a look but for right now I prefer finding a artist whose work I've come to know and understand through exhibitions, books, magazines etc. that I can work with.

MM: Who designed and printed the catalogues? How many did you print?
DS: I've designed all the books, except for the new Marcelo Gomes book which was designed by DTEstudio. All the books are editions of 500.

MM: How would you recommend a photographer get funding for his or her project aside from personal funds?
DS: Grants are always good but most are very competitive. After talking to some friends of mine who studied business they recomended friends and family. If you can find a friend or family member who supports the work you do its a much better than borrowing money from a bank or using a credit card.

MM: Who is your favorite photographer or one who has impacted your life and/or work?
DS: I don't think there is just one... Alec Soth, Tom Sandberg, Takashi Homma, Rineke Dijkstra have all had an impact on my work.

MM: In your personal work, are you influenced by other mediums other than photography?
DS: Painting

MM: What blogs do you read? Magazines?
DS: Hobo, Monocle, Capricious

MM: What is your favorite book, photo or otherwise?
DS: Right now I've really been into the two books: Tom Sandberg, Photographs 1989-2006 and Roe Ethridge, Rockaway, NY

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