f/64 Publishing is a small publishing house founded in Portland, Maine. We are presently located in St. Louis, Missouri, with authors and creative professionals in many states.
We liberate high quality writing from the slush piles of other presses—like pirates plundering the rough for diamonds. A certain amount of really good material never gets published because long-established houses can only take on so much...and because they have to justify every book to their accountants. Our business model encourages us to invest in brave new talent shown in worthy prose.
The financial bottom line, especially when based on antiquated business models, is a terrible gatekeeper for our culture. That’s where our new generation of small publishing houses comes in.
We have a business model that makes lemonade out of the death of traditional publishing. The result: we can take chances on culturally and intellectually relevant work, like an academic press...and we can market it far and wide, to spread the author's message and support our business through sales, like a mainstream press. So what are we?
Not into labels, for one thing. Call it avant garde in the truest sense--we are proud to join the new wave of publishing houses that are trying new business strategies, and taking on awesome projects, to see what works in the new age of publishing.
We are f/64 Publishing, and we’re leading the way.
For complete submission guidelines, click here.
What's With Our Name?
We take our name from the camera setting f/64 in both an extended metaphor about the creative process and homage to a group of photographers who used new technology to define their medium.
The setting f/64 produces images that are crisp and clear throughout great "depth of field," meaning that just about every detail of the photograph is clearly depicted…and in clear relation to every other part of the photograph. “Good” writing is clear and establishes meaningful relationships between its subjects—not least of all to show our world in new light.
For the photographic technique, exposing at f/64 requires a large volume of light to pass through a small opening for a long period of time, the way that a writer must sort through an enormous amount of information if he or she wants to “get the picture.” The “writer as camera” idea is a bit hackneyed, but the point remains—you can use the camera to record and isolate subjects, make sense of madness, madness of sense, and even show things which are not apparent to the unaided eye…
…much like the intellectual process that goes on with creative writing. It takes time and a conscientious approach to the craft, but it all starts with ideas, observations, and skill with the tools at hand.
Our name is also homage to the "Group f/64,” formed of photographers (including Ansel Adams) who steered photography away from the Pictorialist style and towards a future that explored the full capabilities of evolving technology.
The Pictorialists essentially used the camera as a means of creating paintings from light, and focused their early technology on the same subjects they painted—carefully arranged compositions of people and objects, artistically rendered and stylized images of landscapes and still life…but they didn’t use the technology to photograph “real world” subjects any more than Leonardo painted common street scenes frozen in a moment of crystal-clear reality ...which he didn’t. Yet that sort of subject--everyday life investigated visually--is the foundation of photojournalism. That switch had to start somewhere...and it started with Group f/64.
Members of Group f/64 used their cameras’ ability to produce sharp, clear images of the natural and “found” worlds just like we use cell phone cameras to snap pictures of places we go and things we like. They were revolutionary at the time, and broadened the perceptions and expectations of photography—as something more than painting with fancy gadgets.
They changed how we tell stories with images, and who can tell them…much like the Internet and self-publishing have changed who can write and “publish” for a wide audience. Anyone can be a writer; anyone can be a photographer. The technology exists…but cell phone party pictures do not belong in the Louvre beside the Mona Lisa. We've seen a technological sea-change in publishing that is equitable to the advent and spread of cameras that just about anyone can use with a little practice. Now we're awash in words, like the last eighty years have been awash in images. It is what it is...and the cream that rises to the top must still be skimmed off and dealt with by someone.
So just as there are gatekeepers to the realm of “fine photography,” there are gatekeepers who select the finest writing from our culture and dedicate resources to refining, presenting, and distributing its message. That’s where publishing houses like f/64 Publishing come in.
And like the Group f/64, f/64 Publishing makes use of our creative economy and state of the art publishing technology to redefine how a publishing house runs in the next century.
Small presses like us act as gatekeepers to our culture, selecting those works which speak to our time, our generation, and our timeless concerns—those voices that seem to speak to, and for, so many of us. Publish on Demand technology and easy online distribution are to publishing what the camera was to photography—a means of putting artistic power in the hands of just about anyone. f/64 Publishing, then, works to provide the leadership and good taste in writing that the revolutionary Group f/64 provided to early photography.
How’s it working? Judge us by our books…