Goodbye and Hello…
On Saturday I was in NYC for the day. And as part of my travels among the west village, east village, soho, and lower east side, I visited familiar spots, places and spaces, and discovered new ones as well. If you have been reading my postings thus far you’d probably guess that I stopped in at Printed Matter or at a shop such as Karma. However, I instead spent quality time in McNally Jackson Books and at Dashwoodd Books, checking out photo book titles and selections — thinking about these past three months as well.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the selection of titles in the photobook/artbook area at McNally Jackson Books, specifically a display on the back two sides of a column on shelves and tables (entering the store from Spring Street, just past the counter on your right as you enter). Several books caught by eye, and with permission from a store employee I took a few snapshots to jog my memory for this last write up. What impressed me the most was that all of the books, zines, independently published books, zines, etc., existed or coexisted in the same space as the other art books without special attention being drawn to them by format. This was refreshing. I spent about 30 minutes browsing this area and the adjacent shelving area that included books on graphic design and hoping to find titles related to design authorship, but I was not successful.
The first book that I pulled off the shelf was a copy of Bruno Munari’s “Seeking Comfort in an Uncomfortable Chair” with text in Italian and English. The photos in the book come from a project that Munari published in issue 202 of Domus magazine in 1944. Oddly I could not find this book in the online inventory for the McNally bookstore website (today, Dec. 31st), but I did find it listed at Idea Books. See the webpage below for further information on this title.
I also discovered a book by Paul Chan’s imprint, Badlands, Think Like Clouds by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Badlands makes a commitment to publish and sell books in print and in an ebook format.
Adjacent to this book on the table was a copy of “Another Companion to the Books from the Simpsons in Alphabetical Order,” published by Rollo Press in October 2013. This book follows the publication of a similar book published in 2012: “A Pocket Companion to the Books from the Simpsons in Alphabetical Order.
I also ended up selecting (pulling off the shelf, browsing through) two publications from Swill Children and Eric-Mack. One is by David Potes and Tad Sae: [the title is redacted with a black marker, evidenced on the publication and on the website]. Here is a description from the website: ” A 36 exposure roll of film—taken in Tad Sae, Laos—is presented, unedited, in its entirety as a four color Risograph printed publication. The typical CMYK four color printing process was substituted with alternate colors to achieve an effect that is at times surreal and haunting, while maintaining a sense of the mood of Potes’ original images.”
The second book by this publisher is also untitled, by Erik Mack. Here is copy from the website “Eric Mack’s first publication is a 32 page exploration of the relationship textural objects have to the flattened page. The book is itself a piece through its process, the utilization of the Risograph’s onboard scanner prevents the possibility of further digital reproduction. Additional textures were overprinted in different colors in order to create images that are simultaneously evocative and impossible. Made in an edition of 40, 20 of the copies have been modified by Mack with fabric dye and various re-sequencing and tearing. These processes directly reference Mack’s studio practice.” The copies at McNally are not fabric dyed as far as I could tell. However, they did come with a decorated paper bag. This is a five color Risograph printed publication in a vertical 17 x 11″ format.
I also discovered a two additional publications but did not have time to photograph them, as I only discovered them on the way out of the store. Of note were two spiral bound “books” with photo copied pages, inserts, and the like. These reminded me of the photocopy books that were made and distributed in the 1980s by subscription. I could not tell if these were a reprise or made in hommage, or if they were facsimiles. They were numbered and signed for an edition. I look forward to evaluating the reviewing these publications soon.
From McNally, I walked over to Dashwood Books up on Bond Street. When I can I try to visit Dashwood to browse their new and used photobooks from around the world. Though they concentrate on titles from the US, W. Europe and Japan. I also like to browse through the two long wooden boxes at the counter that include the self published or independently published photo books, photo zines, and the like. I found several titles of interest, but forgot to write them down. (sorry!)
On this New Year’s eve I am wrapping up this final posting as the CCNY guest blogger for these past three months. It has been a real pleasure to have this opportunity to share with you my interests related to photo books, artists’ books, artists’ publications, photo zines, independent publishing, design authorship, etc. I would like to thank the staff, director, and board of the Camera Club of New York for inviting me to be the guest blogger for the CCNY photo blog. This is my first ever blogging experience and I am grateful to have had it here.
If you have questions about what I have written about please don’t hesitate to contact me there. I live in Baltimore and work at the Maryland Institute College of Art as Director of the Decker Library. Happy New Year! Cheers, Tony.