The Digital Journalist
May 2004

by Dirck Halstead

One type of book that has been conspicuously absent from digital publishing is the photo book. Enter Zone Zero editor and publisher Pedro Meyer, who began publishing digital photography books a little over a year ago with the publishing section of his company, Zone Zero Editions. Roger Richards, a Platypus, former freelance photographer, and a picture editor at the Virginian-Pilot, has compiled his work from the Siege of Sarajevo, which we published as an essay in The Digital Journalist in January as an online book.

Remember Sarajevo is on sale and it has been done in a totally non-traditional way. It is an e-book, or electronic book, a method of 21st century publishing that was put on the map a few years ago when horror novelist Stephen King wrote books that were only available digitally. Since then, e-books have become very popular, with a wide range of authors and genres available. They are sold at places like and other Web outlets. Remember Sarajevo is one of the first books on war photography to be published digitally.

What is an e-book? It is a book of photographs and text, designed and created in a program such as Adobe InDesign, and then delivered in a digital format, such as an Adobe PDF (portable document format) that can be downloaded from the Web, viewed on a computer and then printed if desired.

The advent of digital publishing gives photographers the means to economically bypass the gatekeepers of traditional publishing and take control of presenting their work. It also allows the photographer the option of pursuing a traditional book after first publishing digitally.

"These photographs were made with the intent of making the world look at an evil that was taking place before their eyes, and to force it to face unpleasant truths," Richards says. "We journalists kept doing our jobs, to the point where we became resented by the citizens of Sarajevo as voyeurs. But the fact that we kept on making these images of horror eventually led to a time when the world could avert its eyes no longer. I consider myself to be a caretaker of historical documents, and with it comes the responsibility to remind my fellow humans of what can happen when evil is allowed to flourish without challenge from the good."

According to publisher Pedro Meyer, "the armed conflict in Sarajevo was an historical event that the world tried to forget at the same time it was occurring, as around 2000 children and over 10,00 people in total died in the 3 and a half year war. Roger Richards' assertive writing and images are an invitation to live out all those things we did not see or hear of. Zone Zero Publishing House is proud to publish this book."

For photojournalists, who have found the traditional book industry ever more reluctant to publish photo books, Pedro Meyer be showing us a new way.

© Dirck Halstead

Dirck Halstead is the publisher of The Digital Journalist.