Friends of KMZ Pia Copper-Ind and Christopher Ind have launched a new venture, Horizon Editions, which will publish quality art and photography books about the Middle East and Asia. To mark the upcoming release of their first title, Mao, Christopher reflects on the genesis of the company and the fraught but fecund world of modern publishing …
Strangely, as many things, Horizons grew out of necessity and hardship. I left my job in London where I had worked for many years as a Middle East publisher and I wanted to move to Paris with my fiancé Pia. I was offered a strange and inconclusive job proposal in Dubai for which I never received any money. As a result, we had shifted our entire lives to Dubai. But, out of necessity grows opportunity. My now wife and I, Pia, decided to found our own publishing house as we had been spending our own moneys running after sponsors in the Gulf region to finance books on the palaces of Syria, the architecture of Sanaa, Yemen, the new architecture of Qatar, the Haj pilgrimage, etc… The Orient was my domain of predilection and of expertise as I had travelled widely through Iran, Oman, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi, etc. where I had the good fortune to meet Pia in Tehran at a cocktail party.
The first investor we found was a common friend, George Lewis, a photographer and artist, a devotee of the Orient, whose wife taught at Oxford on Babylonian archaeology and gardens. He was looking for opportunities to travel and photograph more in the Middle East and was also convinced of the viability of producing high end books on art, architecture and culture of the Middle East. Our second sponsor was the author of a book forthcoming called Mao which he had put together on the vast iconography related to the Great Leader. The book, almost at print stage, is already attracting a great deal of attention and will be distributed throughout Asia, and beyond. The Orient and the Extreme Orient (Asia) has therefore been the meeting point of my wife and I, in various ways. She specializes in Chinese contemporary art and is urging me to do more and more art books.
I suppose the obvious things for publishers is that books are not dying. Especially not picture books, books on culture, etc, which have no viable equivalent online or electronically. Despite the exciting developments of the e-book, books are still to be loved and cherished and leafed through like old friends. People still love books.
Pia and I had originally conceived of Horizons Editions on a car journey back from Oxford passing Stonehenge when we heard Freya Stark on the radio:
“I think I like to look over the edge and see what’s coming… There’s something that is given to every living creature that has eyes, whether it’s a tiny mosquito or an elephant, and that’s a horizon.”
And the world is divided between the people to whom the horizon is something they want to get over and see what’s beyond, and the people who feel that the horizon is their safety and it keeps them protected. And I’m one of the people who like to look over the horizon and there’s another horizon, and another. Then eventually you step over your last horizon. And that, I think, is the fascination of life. And the idea of death is still an idea of travelling beyond the last horizon.
We would love to publish a series of outstanding photography books with short essays by leading writers on various beautiful and exotic places in the world, Timbuktu, Sana’a, Cairo, the Amazon… uniting our great passions, travel and images. We hope this series could be suitable for the armchair traveller as well as a sort of guide for the so-called “gip-set” who long for escape and for inspiration. Who knows what the future may bring?
— Christopher Ind