For those of you lamenting our screen-obsessed society and mourning the gradual disappearance of all things printed, may we suggest taking a trip this weekend to Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, New York? There, your faith in humanity will be restored as independent publishers from around the world gather at MoMA PS1 to hawk their creations at an annual bazaar known as the NY Art Book Fair.
Now in its 11th year, the title doesn't quite capture what you'll find at the event. Designers, photographers, writers, illustrators, artists, and people who just love to make stuff will be selling magazines, books, zines, photography tomes, and all sorts of other swag. It's more of a craft fair than a book fair, with everything created out of pure passion, because let's face it—independent publishing is a labor of love.
So with that in mind, we asked 13 NYABF vendors to share the publications that first inspired them to get into the print game.
Photo by John Spinks
Maxwell Anderson is founder of Bemojake, which "publishes books by young and emerging artists, working in close collaboration with the artist, designer, and printer."
by Paul Graham, published by Grey Editions, 1987. It introduced me to the idea that the editing of a body of work in book form could be conceptual in itself, and the editing of the book adjusts the whole reading of the work. This also occurs in Paul Graham's End of an Age
, published by Scalo in 1998.
"For a Language to Come
by Takuma Nakahira, published by Fudosha, 1970, because of the design; it was strong, bold, colourful, and alluding. It was my first insight into the idea that a photo book cover doesn't just have to be a photo, but can be the space of expression for the designer and illustrator.
"Sentimental Journey/ Winter Journey
by Nobiyoshi Araki, published by Shinchosha, 1991. Combining design, which is both elegant and playful, with work that really took hold of me, it incorporated handwritten notes within the layout. The shade of red cloth is perfect, along with the slipcase which references Japanese photo books of old, but with a modern design. Also probably the first book I kind of fetishised over, picking up two copies of it while I was in Tokyo, even leaving the shop's tissue paper wrapping on the book and keeping it in the brown paper bag they gave me. I then received a third copy from a friend who went home to Tokyo for a few weeks.
"Aus Den Fugen
by Seiichi Furuya, published by Akaaka, 1997. It had beautiful printing and creative production. The design of this book is deceivingly simple, but has subtle quirks to it that are not overpowering."