The Velvet Cell by Eanna de Freine

1  The Velvet Cell is an independent publishing house set up in London in 2011 to provide a platform for photographers interested in exploring and documenting the world around us through the lens of a camera. The Velvet Cell is about critical photography that asks questions and tells stories.Most of our photographers come from a sociology backgrounds and use both imagery and the written word to explore different subjects.

The Velvet Cell grew from my own frustrations with photography books. I wanted photography books that was ‘about’ something – that combined my love of aesthetics and photography with my wider sociological interests.

In 2011 I began my MA in Photograhy and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths College, London. With this course’s unique mixture of sociology and photography it further inspired me that I was not alone in my passion for photography that explored the urban and the rural from a photographic perspective.

So I tried to set up my own platform. The Velvet Cell is non-profit – all finances are returned into the project to give another photographer a chance to be seen. To date we have published 25 titles and stock in stores around the world. Independent publishing is without doubt on the up, but I am yet to come across another publishing house, independent or mainstream, that deals with the same subject matter.


Our latest book is by Goldsmith’s Photography and Urban Cultures graduate Yanina Shevchenko. ‘Crossing Over’ is an adaptation of Yanina’s final visual project for which she travelled across Russia and back on the Trans-Siberian Expressway.

Having left Russia many years previously Yanina was motivated to further her understanding of ‘Russianess’ and how it manifests itself across the world’s biggest country. In the space of two weeks she spent a total of twelve days onboard, mingling with her fellow travellers and watching the Russian landscape unfold itself from her carriage window.

I firmly believe The Velvet Cell is doing an important job in providing a platform for critical photography through books that are both beautiful and affordable. I hope we can continue to go from strength to strength and bring many more interesting projects to people’s attention.

Eanna de Freine is a Photography and Urban Cultures graduate from Goldsmiths College, London. Interested in urban photography and theory, in 2011 he founded The Velvet Cell, an independent publishing house that promotes projects in these areas. He is based between London and Taipei.

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