Image © Christopher Anderson / Magnum Photos.
Capitolio is documentary photographer Christopher Anderson's cinematic journey through the upheavals of contemporary Caracas, Venezuela, in the tradition, he says, of such earlier projects as William Klein's New York and Robert Frank's The Americans. But instead of just publishing the work in book form, the Magnum photographer has also released it on the iPad and iPhone platforms for $4.99 (£2.99). He speaks to BJP...
BJP: Why choose the iPhone and the iPad for Capitolio?
Christopher Anderson: The ultimate and ideal form of the work for me is a printed book. But there are certain constraints of the printed form: it is expensive (both to produce and buy) putting it out of reach for all but a select group with the means to shell out that kind of money, and there are only a finite number of books available. It occurred to me that here was the potential to reach an infinite audience.
BJP: What makes Capitolio different on the iPad compared to the book?
Christopher Anderson: There is a section of a "director's cut" with extra images that don't appear in the book, and a video interview with me by Tim Hetherington that provides a unique insight to the work. This design of the print book was itself an experiment in trying to rip a cinematic experience from the silver screen and stuffing it onto the printed page. This aspect is actually accentuated in the swipeable form.
BJP: How did you develop the app?
Christopher Anderson: I hired a designer/ developer who had some experience with what I wanted to do (Justin Stahl). I had a pretty straight forward concept of have the book as it appears in print with some added things that could only be possible in that medium such as a video interview.
BJP: Do you see the app as a way to reach a different audience? Or do you expect app buyers to be book buyers? Or maybe even a way for people to "test" the book before buying it?
Christopher Anderson: This is such uncharted territory that I am not sure what to expect. I imagine that the audience will be slightly different than book collectors. I do imagine photo students, for example, or this might even be a way to easily incorporate the book into an academic curriculum. I also think that the price might allow people with a passing curiosity in the subject matter...people who are not even photography fans...to purchase it.
BJP: Why $4.99 (£2.99)?
Christopher Anderson: That seemed to be the threshold for my when I buy an app. I think it is underpriced in this case, but I did want to lean toward underpricing rather than overpricing. For me, above $5, for an app and I want it to serve me coffee in the morning.
BJP: Is this a one-off experiment, or do you plan on releasing all of your future books on the iPad as well?
Christopher Anderson: For the moment, it is an experiment. I'll let you know how it goes. But I do imagine that this could be an interesting model that plays a role in all future projects.
BJP: Would you consider adding other features to any future iPad version of your books?
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely. there are so many possibilities. I can imagine that people will do amazing interactive things that could take this in so many directions.
BJP: Within Magnum Photos, are other photographers interested by your experiment?
Christopher Anderson: I can't really talk about it yet, but there are some exciting things on the horizon.
For more information, visit christopherandersonphoto.com.
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