Photography books are said to be in a “golden age” right now. And it’s true: the innovation, diversity, and inventiveness of the printed form is certainly in an exciting phase. But even with this surge of interest and production, most best-selling photobooks run with (at most) an edition of a few thousand copies. Given the vast global reach of photography more generally, this celebrated platform seems ripe for even more growth and experimentation.

Or perhaps photobooks will never become global bestsellers—and maybe that’s a good thing. After all, some of the hallmarks of the medium are its quirky personality and unmatched intimacy. Nevertheless, when photographer Carlos Spottorno—who has always been keen to question the form of the photobook—decided to take on a matter of grave importance, Europe’s migration crisis, he decided that a tiny print run and limited distribution would simply not do his subject justice.

Learn more about Spottorno’s approach in the video interview below—

To produce his project “La Grieta (The Crack),” Spottorno traversed the European continent for several years with a co-collaborator (journalist Guillermo Abril) in order to fully map out the complex and multi-faceted contours of this modern-day mass movement of people. The issue is not only of pressing importance for the million (or more) individuals who have undertaken these perilous journeys; the growing number of displaced people is also threatening the political unity of Europe itself.

Are Europe’s cracks just temporary, on their way to being patched up—or are they the beginning of the end? Challenging work like Spottorno’s helps us see the present and the various potential futures more clearly so that we can all play a part in deciding what comes next.

—Alexander Strecker

Spottorno’s book La Grieta was named one of our favorites of 2017. You can find out more about the book on Spottorno’s website.