I first came across a Hoxton Mini Press publication in a Shoreditch bookshop. I was drawn in by the striking cover of a mother holding her very tiny, newborn baby. Flicking through the beautifully printed pages, it was interesting to see how a series of captivating photographs were able to narrate a sensitively documented portrait of Hackney life. Hoxton Mini Press, founded in 2013 by Martin Usborne and Ann Waldvogel, work with a cherry picked mix of talented photographers, illustrators and writers to convey life in East London, which they believe is the capital’s most exciting and vibrant area. I was intrigued to find out more about the ethos, their themes and why they believe, as rightly they should, that books are still important.
Abigail Moffat – Tell me about the team at Hoxton Mini Press?
Ann Waldvogel – Hoxton Mini Press is run by myself and my husband, Martin Usborne who also works as a full time photographer. We have just hired our first staff member who will start next month which will be a huge help as we’ve been struggling to keep up recently!
How do you select your photographers / artists that provide the content for your books?
We work with both established and emerging artists and photographers. The projects we have produced to date are a combination of those that we have seen / liked and approached the artist about working together and others have been submission based. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting projects.
Do these photographers / artists have a strong connection to East London? All of the artists / photographers that we have worked with so far have been based in east London.
Who has been most exciting to work with? Ohhhh, I’m not sure I can answer that one! We’ve really loved working with everyone. We are so small and new and learning on the way. We consider each of our artists to be a part of the Hoxton Mini Press ‘family’ so its impossible to pick a favourite.
What is your prime audience, if any, for your books? The majority of our books are sold in London but we’ve been really surprised how wide a reach many of the books have. We currently have stockists across Europe and are in discussion with a US distributor. We sell books on our website all over the world.
Why Hackney? Are you trying to change the perception of Hackney, and if so why? Because we live in, know, and love East London. There are so many photo-book publishers out there and many publishers making books about London – we choose east London because we wanted to have a super niche focus when we started. We liked the idea of being a tiny fish in a tiny pond rather than being a tiny fish bobbing about in a giant ocean.
Would you ever expand into other areas, of London, Britain or other countries? Yes. While we plan to continue our series on East London we also have plans for two new series that are not so area specific. We are still putting the final touches on these so I can’t give too many details just yet but we plan to release the first books for this new series in May 2016. Stay tuned.
Why do you think it’s important to still have books?
We feel that books are the best final resting place for a photography project so in that respect we feel photo books are relevant as long as good projects are being created. It is true that many, many images from the books we produce are available online but there is something special (not to mention lasting) about seeing a project in book form. We want to create books that people want to own, collect and hopefully keep for their grandchildren.