Monday News: self-portraits, comic conglomerates, Indonesian publishing, and Frankfurt Book Fair
Zanele Muholi’s Transformations – A very interesting prose portrait of a photographer who has become known for her work depicting subjects from black and queer South African communities, and who has undertaken a series of self-portraits, aimed at “tell[ing] the truth” about herself. Her portraits are stunning, provocative, and they clearly communicate the reasons why Muholi has gained credibility as both a social activist and a successful gallery artist.
‘‘Faces and Phases’’ began as a reaction to an escalation of homophobic hate crimes and murders in South Africa. Muholi believed that photography could normalize and quell fears of queerness, and in doing so, make life safer for women like her. To date, Muholi has shot more than 250 portraits, often following the same subjects over a period of years. She considers herself as much of an activist as a photographer: Her work is politically potent, capable of communicating on multiple frequencies simultaneously, confronting the audience’s preconceived notions of gender binaries, class, sexuality and race. . .
Muholi told me she was trying to find her own language to articulate the long-lasting effects of the politics that have defined her life. She grew up in a culture steeped in rich, idiomatic expressions, and visually, her work echoes that tradition. Muholi is reaching deep into herself, sucking out the troubled history in her marrow. Her self-portraits explode stereotypes of African women while evoking them, implicating the viewers for summoning those clichés as they gaze upon her skin. What does it mean to see Muholi’s face surrounded by clothespins and see a headdress? Where have you seen these images before? And who took them? – New York Times
These are the top 27 comic book businesses – Some pretty clever descriptions here, and considering corporate hijinks, perhaps not so far fetched? Like Wayne Industries’ greatest weakness, “The company is run by an absentee CEO who fights street crime as a flying rodent.” Huge corporate CEO’s are totally superheroes, right?
As readers and viewers of these comic narratives, we have been enthralled with the fictional businesses from their pages and scenes. And that’s why—for first time ever!—Fortune has assembled the 27 Most Fantastical Comic Book Businesses. We made use of our patented Fortune Comic Grade Index™, a totally arbitrary and unscientific ranking that’s as trustworthy as Otto Octavius’s pursuit of science in service of humanity. – Forbes
Direct Sales Is a Key Strategy for Top Indonesia Publisher – Mizan Publishing was founded more than thirty years ago with a specific focus on “Muslim thinkers,” and started selling children’s and religious books internationally only ten years ago. But within just the past few years, the publisher has expanded to authors like Dan Brown, Harper Lee, and Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling, thanks to growing markets in countries like Turkey and Pakistan, among others.
Much like in Brazil, where the vast geography of the country and limited bookstore infrastructures makes sales and distribution difficult, Indonesia — which is spread over an archipelago of more than ten thousand islands — faces similar challenges. “While Mizan Publishing focuses on retail products sold through chain bookstores, Pelangi Mizan publishes reference and educational books in the form of multi-set packages and markets through direct selling,” says Meutia — and it is an area that is growing significantly. “In 2012, we had only 200 people working on direct selling. Now, surprisingly, we have almost 5,000, mostly mothers with young children who work from home and do online marketing. Sales has increased four times since 2012, and one individual can earn up to $5,000 a month if they are successful.” – Publishing Perspectives
Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: A New Era Begins – You might have been following the story around Iran’s boycotting of the Frankfurt Book Fair in the wake of Salman Rushdie’s invitation to the four-day event that’s popular and cool enough to have its own Condé Nast Traveler guide. You can check out some of the planned events here or follow the Fair’s hashtag #fbm15:
After a decade of change in the publishing industry, the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair (which runs October 14–18) marks something of a turning point. As evidenced by the changes to the fair’s layout and the topics and speakers in the fair’s professional program, it is clear that the publishing business is in longer in the midst of a digital transition. The transition is complete. There’s less talk of talk of digital disruption, and gone are the tired predictions of the death of print. In 2015, both the industry and the fair have settled into a new phase. And at Frankfurt, it is all on display. – Publishers Weekly