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Paris : capital of photography… and books by Zoé Isle de Beauchaine


In this month of November, Paris is not only the capital of photography, it welcomes the numerous editorial creations of the sector, photographic books with forms as varied as their horizons. This year, in addition to the Paris Photo publishing sector, two major book fairs are returning on either side of the Seine: Polycopies on the Concorde Atlantique and Offprint at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal. Guided tour by our correspondent Zoé Isle de Beauchaine.

This is a special edition for Polycopies which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. In a decade the festival has grown considerably and established its status as an unmissable event for photographic books. This in no way prevents its three directors Laurent Chardon, Sara Giuliattini and Sebastian Hau from bubbling over with ideas to continue to develop it.

This year, pride of place is given to young creation through the invitation of several art and photography schools as well as arts centers to show their production. Among them the Dutch school Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Hungarian MOME (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design) as well as the CRP Hauts de France Photography Center and the Latin American collective Los Sumergidos. Also great news is the presence of Magnum, which has focused specifically on Polycopies to show the books of its photographers. A choice which indicates the desire of the legendary press agency to reach new audiences.

Conferences and book presentations are also back in the boat’s hold, including a discussion around photographic books for children or the launch of the Vernacular Social Club by Jean-Marie Donat, Lukas Birk, Anne Delrez, Thomas Sauvin and Lucy Sante . Among the works presented, some were made possible thanks to the support of Polycopies &co. Created in 2022, the association brings together collectors to financially support photographers’ editorial projects.

The implementation of the Spotlight format allows actors in photography to highlight their approach. The Hapax magazine, for example, invites photographers, researchers and curators to “test new ideas” by publishing a new project under consideration which will only be visible between the printed pages of the magazine. We will also meet lovers and promoters of typography Future Format, photographer Rhea Karam, the Echo 119 gallery and vintage photographs from Rainworld Archive.

As for Offprint, the festival seems to have found its formula, to which it remains faithful this year: a wide range of houses coming from photography as well as the visual arts, architecture, design, human sciences and culture visual with often very niche proposals, between experimentation and commitment.

On the programming side, Duuu Radio once again offers an eclectic set of discussions, ranging from post-binary typography to the publishing phenomenon of book clubs in France in the second half of the 20th century, including artificial intelligence and the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble.

The wealth and quantity of works that invest Paris during its photo month are always surprising, especially since the pandemic the rumors about the state of publishing have been rather alarming. But everyone has their solutions. Sofia Krysiak explains to us that, to compensate for production costs, Setanta Books’ books are now largely handmade. Resilience and creativity go hand in hand!

Zoé Isle de Beauchaine

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