Meet the Publisher - Null & Void Books

A Q&A interview with Peo Olsson of Null & Void Books, an independent publisher situated in Lund focusing on different cultural phenomena.

Portrait of Peo Olsson

Courtesy of Null & Void Books

What made you first want to start publishing books?

I have been surrounded by books all my life. My father has a great interest and a large collection. All the way back when I was a teenager at the public library looking at publications by great photographers, books provided an excellent place for me to experience photography.

Later, as a photographer working with long-term projects, it was always a dream of mine to make books – both as a container of images and text but also as objects. When the opportunity came, I decided to make a go of it.

Göteborgs Konsthall – en hundraårig konsthistoria

Courtesy of Null & Void Books

How important are ideas of collecting to the publishing industry?

I don't have an answer for this really, but I guess it matters a great deal, speaking from my own experience. The need we feel to have another fantastic book on the shelf provides the foundation (one amongst many) for the people making books.

Fredrik Værslev, It Girl

Courtesy of Fredrik Værslev and Null & Void Books

Are all books art objects? When does book making become an art form?

When the topic, design and materials come together as a unified entity, then book making has the potential of being an art form. When the contents/story/images inside a book support the choices made in designing it, and the book as a whole occupies its own space, then it might become an art object in its own right.

Björn Lövin, Sorteras under: Le Travail

Courtesy of Björn Lövin and Null & Void Books

Do you think that books belong in museums? If so why, if not why not?

I think they do, but the greatest thing about them is their ability to disseminate and show up wherever. Books in public places, like museums or libraries etc., are of course very important since they can meet new or different audiences. Books embody democratic potential and should be supported by public infrastructure. Collectors are important but the public shelves even more so.

Jonas Williamsson, The MDT Poster

Courtesy of Jonas Williamsson and Null & Void Books

Have there been particular books that had a big impact on you in terms of the way you approach book-making/publishing?

There are a bunch of photographers working with books that have inspired me greatly and that show what books actually can achieve in terms of conveying ideas and stories. I would say Paul Graham, Dayanita Singh and Wolfgang Tillmans to mention a few.

Erik Betshammar, Men i allt det diffusa, får vi ändå ett säkert grepp om omgivningens karaktär

Courtesy of Erik Betshammar and Null & Void Books

Do you collect books? What sort of books interest you most?

As you understand from the above, photography is my focus. The books I have are mainly contemporary photographers – either collegues or publishers that I follow. They are mainly Swedish but of course there is a mix. I don’t have a plan for collecting, but books end up on my shelf out of curiosity.

Samuel Nyholm & Peo Olsson, Umbra Hominis

Courtesy of Samuel Nyholm, Peo Olsson and Null & Void Books