About pH Books
New York Photo Festival
powerHouse Packaging & Supply
POWERHOUSE on 8th
POW! Kids Books
powerHouse Books, world-renowned and critically acclaimed publisher, is best known for a diverse publishing program—specialized in fine art, documentary, pop culture, fashion, and celebrity books. We have blazed a trail through the staid book publishing industry, releasing books that have sparked cultural trends and redefined commonly held perceptions of the purpose and role of art books in contemporary culture. While much is known of our books, little is known of the people who have made powerHouse Books a global name.
Founder and Publisher Daniel Power started powerHouse Books in 1995, and was joined by Craig Cohen in 1996. The early years had Power and Cohen tag-teaming on a few books at a time, raising the bar each season when, in 1998, powerHouse Books had its first best-seller, Women Before 10 A.M. by Véronique Vial. Power and Cohen followed up that success in 1999 with the critically-acclaimed cult monographs X-Ray, by François Nars, and Life is Paradise, by Francesco Clemente and Vincent Katz.
In 2000, Cohen became a partner in the company, assuming the title of Vice President and Associate Publisher—now Executive Publisher. He quickly signed up the next company bestseller, Back in the Days by Jamel Shabazz, and in the same year developed a packaging deal with Capitol Records to produce the Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science. With the publishing program growing rapidly, Power and Cohen hired Sara Rosen, who served as Publicity Director from 2000-2009.
The company has since redefined the cultural landscape of the illustrated book, the only U.S. independent publishing company to do so.
New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers was a visceral, instant document by Magnum and pH, the only thing a publishing company and a photo agency could do in helping the city and the country both remember and recover—Guiliani’s famous response to the terrorist attack was for New Yorkers to get back to doing what they do as quickly as possible. The book went on to sell some 300,000 copies worldwide, enabling powerHouse Books to donate over $600,000 to the New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund.
In 2002, pH partnered with Nike to publish Sole Provider: 30 Years of Nike Basketball, a history of their famous sneaker line, which sold out in a record one week. “The relationships we’ve been able to form with corporate partners for branding and packaging has been one of the keys to our success over the past few years,” says Cohen, who worked with the The Gap to secure their promotional support for Alice Harris’ book, The Blue Jean, and with Olympus and Aveda, who supported Patrick McMullan’s 2004 book InTents. More recently, Cohen has worked with: international diamond titan De Beers, in support of Alice Harris’ second pH book, The Wedding Album; Puma, for The African Game; Ultimate Fighting Championship, for Octagon; Burton Snowboards, for 28 Day Winter; Glamour, for In Search of Hope by Mariane Pearl; Urban Outfitters, for a unique series of pH Classics; Danger Mouse and David Lynch, for Dark Night of the Soul; DC Shoes, for Blabac Photo; TBWA, for The Art of the Idea; and, Guy Oseary for both Madonna Confessions and Madonna: Sticky & Sweet.
In Fall 2006, powerHouse Books launched The powerHouse Arena, a laboratory for creative thought: exhibitions, installations, presentations, displays, viewings, performances, readings, and retail therapy—all drawing upon photography and popular culture as sources of inspiration. Located at 37 Main Street in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, the 10,200–square foot marquis showroom and retail space is unlike any other in New York City, featuring a soaring 24-foot ceiling on the 5,000–square foot ground floor, and an equally impressive 5,000–square foot mezzanine, with over 175 feet of glass frontage, designed by esteemed architect David Howell Design. Attached by a central staircase is the Arena Skylounge, a 560 square-foot, mezzanine-level, multifunctional gallery, VIP lounge, and green room. These stunning spaces have hosted a series of landmark exhibitions and events, and are now available for private hire.
An utterly singular and unique space with floor views of the East River waterfront, and the breathtaking backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire-Fulton Ferry Warehouse, and the stately Manhattan Bridge of early industrial-era Brooklyn (DUMBO), the Arena’s configuration is unmatched by any other in New York City. Events in The powerHouse Arena have attracted prominent press attention from outlets such as, The New York Times (weddings, book readings), The New Yorker (festival entertainment, book and foundation-sponsored panels), Time Out New York (exhibition rental and launch previews), New York magazine (book signings, musical and cabaret performances), and Vanity Fair (celebrity event launches).
Past events include: the St. Ann’s Warehouse after-party for the world premiere performance of Lou Reed’s Berlin; VH1’s Hip Hop Honors Week; The New Yorker Speakeasy; PEN World Voices; the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” event; the American Cancer Society fundraiser “Eat, Drink, Live”; the Wee CRAIC film festival; a Sarah Jessica Parker commercial shoot for Japan’s 100% Coke Light; and, The Vans: Off The Wall book launch (with indoor skateboarding). Past installations and exhibits include Nike’s RE-RUN launch; Boost Mobile’s All Writes Reserved exhibit; and, a legal defense fundraiser for graffiti artist Alan Ket. The powerHouse Arena has been the site of luminous and entertaining book discussions with authors and artists such as Paul Auster, Jessica Lange, and Irvine Welsh, and has also been the ticketing office and evening party locale for the New York Photo Festival.
In May 2008, powerHouse Books’ own Daniel Power with co-founder Frank Evers launched the first annual New York Photo Festival curated by Martin Parr, Kathy Ryan, Leslie Martin and Tim Barber. The second NYPH installment in 2009 was curated by Jody Quan, Bill Ewing, Chris Boot, and Jon Levy. The 2010 festival was curated by Vince Aletti, Erik Kessel, Fred Richtin, and Lou Reed.
At the close of the 21st century’s first decade, powerHouse Books’ high-profile and exciting projects continued to take the book trade by storm, including: the 2009 launch of legendary hip-hop recording artist KRS-ONE’s imprint, I Am Hip Hop, and the release of his controversial holy-book, The Gospel of Hip Hop; a prestigious tie-in with The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and its one-of-a-kind collection of NASA space-wear in Spacesuits; and an homage to the great Michael Jackson with Ron Galella’s Man in the Mirror. That year also saw the release of the important Malawian documentary work I Am Because We Are, with a foreword by Madonna; Academy/Tony/Golden Globe Award-winning actor Joel Grey’s 1.3; one of the earliest cell-phone photography books; famous-for-decades photographer Harry Benson’s collection of 60 years of his work; and finally, in conjunction with DC Shoes, Blabac Photo: The Art of Skateboarding Photography by Mike Blabac, one of the finest assemblages ever of that massively popular sport by one of its master chroniclers.
In 2010 powerHouse Books released the highly-anticipated U.S. edition of Take Ivy, which was out-of-print for decades and never previously published in English; in partnership with Ralph Lauren, the alluring black-and-white photography of Richard Phibbs’s Chasing Beauty; the intriguing business book HumanKind, produced with the globally-influential advertising agency Leo Burnett Worldwide; and Leo Fuchs: Special Photographer from the Golden Age of Hollywood, with an afterword by the legendary Bruce Weber.
2011 brought the publication of the now world-renowned Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, one of powerHouse Books’ bestselling titles ever, whose associated documentary film was later nominated for an Academy Award. The very special project, Gary Cooper: Enduring Style, was also released to much attention, after working with the Gary Cooper estate, going through the family’s personal photo albums with his daughter Maria Cooper Janis, adding the design treatment of the extraordinary Ruth Ansel, the careful attention of longtime menswear expert G. Bruce Boyer, and a foreword by Ralph Lauren.
Not to be overshadowed by these larger-than-life successes, the powerHouse Books team launched Whole Larder Love in 2012, the first in a new line of cookbooks, while simultaneously compiling an original and exclusive life-in-pictures book of screen-legend John Wayne—the first time ever the family estate allowed a publisher access to “the Duke’s” archives. In the same year pH published Ari Seth Cohen’s popular and influential street-fashion blog Advanced Style in book form, and, to the delight of his many fans, an homage to elusive advertising wizard Lee Clow, chairman and global director of TBWA\Worldwide, called @leeclowsbeard.
2013 saw the birth of POW!—an imprint devoted to illustrated children’s books—as well as the emergence of a special line of 3-D paper craft books by powerHouse and our partner PaperMade. As of 2017 there have been close to 50 kids’ books produced under the POW! imprint, with many of them finding instant critical and commercial success. Amongst the most noteworthy since the line’s debut, are: Nerf: Ultimate Blaster Book, done with toy producer Hasbro; Hot Dog, Cold Dog by Frann Preston-Gannon; three charming titles by Katie Viggers; Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow; and most recently Ishi by Akiko Yabuki and Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza, both of which are quickly shaping up to be classics in the genre. The PaperMade series has over a dozen titles in its lineup and has covered Pups, Cats, Ninjas, Robots, Fashion, and Holiday, with Bible, New York, and Rockstars to come, ensuring that every interest is covered.
With a foothold established in the craft and children’s books market, in 2013 pH’s prescient crew also launched an adult coloring book version of Advanced Style (one of the very first adult coloring books to hit the market!). Also in 2013, along with repeated printings and a number of co-editions of Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, author John Maloof followed up with the highly acclaimed Vivian Maier: Self Portraits. Other titles seeing considerable success that year were Oprah-favorite Zainab Salbi’s If You Knew Me You Would Care, and MoMA’s first ever Poet Laureate Kenneth Goldsmith’s chilling, experimental collection, Seven American Deaths and Disasters.
powerHouse began 2014 with the posthumous monograph Testament, by Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist Chris Hondros, with assistance from his agency, Getty Images. It was quickly followed by a badass little book about “dark” men who love their pets: Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett. One of the world’s most recognized book jacket designers, Peter Mendelsund, gave the world Cover, his first overview of his mighty career, and the year also saw the release of both the Jewish culinary instant-classic Eating Delancey by Aaron Rezny and Jordan Schaps with an introduction by Joan Rivers, and the first cookbook to arrive stateside by the super-healthy British Hemsley sisters, aptly entitled The Art of Eating Well. To close out the year we mourned the loss of Leonard Cohen with intimate photographs taken on tour by his friend Sharon Robinson.
In 2015 powerHouse Books celebrated 20 years of publishing by producing and racking up 12 months of kudos for: a newly updated version of the wickedly fun Subversive Cross-Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for Your Sassy Side by Julie Jackson; misanthropic genius comic Richard Lewis’ Reflections from Hell; influencer Chris Black’s rulebook for millennials I Know You Think You Know It All; DJ Ross One’s incomparable collection of rap tees; and finally the prolific and critically-praised David Shields’ broadside of The New York Times, the timely and resonant War Is Beautiful.
2016’s titles made big splashes in international pop culture circles with Bowie by Steve Schapiro leading the way, released shortly after the legend’s untimely death. Closely on its heels sales-wise was Ari Seth Cohen’s follow-up to his first smash, Advanced Style, this time with a more global approach, more advice, and more distinguished gentlemen included. Collections of vintage tattoos, recipes from artists and writers, and the most extensive collection of NYC street flyers from the 80s-90s—by Jonathan Shaw, Nathalie Eve Garrett, and DJ Stretch Armstrong and Evan Auerbach respectively—all came out in 2016.
powerHouse Books has continued to trailblaze in 2017, with the release of Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready’s book of Polaroids, Of Potato Heads and Polaroids; contemporary advertising gurus Jeff Rosenblum and Jordan Berg’s exciting Friction; new, never-before-published photographs by the monumental Helen Levitt; and Harry Benson: Persons of Interest, Harry’s most impressive, career-defining book yet.