EDITED BY DAVID WALKER
IN 2009, photographer Sarah C. Butler
published her first book, Portrait of a Maine
Island, with New York-based Glitterati
Incorporated. That same year, she started
photographing her aging mother as a form
of emotional diversion, never imagining the
work would turn into a book. But she ran into
Glitterati founder Marta Hallett in 2014 at the
Lucie Awards, where Hallett was in attendance
to collect Publisher of the Year honors.
“Marta asked what I was working on,
and if she could take a look,” Butler recalls.
“I brought some images by her office, and
she said, ‘We want to publish this.’” Butler
told Hallett she wasn’t interested in finding
a sponsor to help defray publishing costs, as
she’d been required to do for her first book.
“Marta said, ‘Fine, we’ll fund it,’” Butler says.
Called Frozen in Time, the book is about
Butler’s mother and the dreams and aspirations
that drove her until the end of her life. But
more importantly, it is a book about how the
photographs, and the process of making them,
transformed Butler herself.
It’s just about every photographer’s dream
to walk into a book publisher’s office with a
new body of work, and leave with a book deal
on favorable terms. Butler offered Hallett a
portfolio she couldn’t resist. “I thought, this is
a really important work, and it will resonate
with a lot of people,” says Hallett.
Butler also came with contacts and
connections. “That’s one of the most important
things for us: To know the author has a network
of people who know their work and will
support it. It could be galleries, museums, an
Instagram following, whatever,” she explains.
“Sarah [knows] people in the art world, at the
International Center of Photography, at various
museums, and others who had seen her project
and liked it….[As a publisher] you want to
validate your sensibility and I thought, ‘I’m not
alone. Other people think this work is valuable.’”
Hallett has published accessible fine-art
photo books by relatively unknown
photographers such as Brad Oliphant and
Adrian Buckmaster, as well as by well-known
photographers including Douglas Kirkland and
Howard Schatz. “I want to find people who
are doing something new and different, so I
look at work by [lesser-known photographers]
all the time,” she says.
Butler presented her work with a concise
artist’s statement, which became the book’s
preface: “From a distance my mother sounded
wonderfully intact. I wanted to believe her
story. I wanted to believe I came from a solid
place. The image she painted with her words
fit the image I had in my mind. My images
show the parts left out.”
10 PHOTO BOOK PUBLISHING HOW-TO 14 PICTURE STORY 16 WHAT’S YOUR NICHE? 18 NEWS DIGEST
PHOTO BOOK PUBLISHING HOW-TO:
FROZEN IN TIME
Photographs she took for distraction led photographer Sarah C. Butler
to personal transformation, reconciliation—and an unexpected book deal.
BY DAVID WALKER
ABOVE: “Stairway,” from Sarah C. Butler’s book
about her mother’s life on a dilapidated Maine farm.
LEFT: “Josephine and Chicks.” Glitterati Incorporated
founder Marta Hallett thought the subject was
important, and was confident that Butler’s reputation
and connections would help in marketing the book.