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Paris Photo 2023 : the spotlight on books by Zoé Isle de Beauchaine


For its 26th edition, the last before its big return to the restored grounds of the Grand Palais, Paris Photo continues to give pride of place to books by welcoming 35 French and international publishing houses. Our correspondent Zoé Isle de Beauchaine went to meet them.

This year again, the publishing sector is a favorite for many and in particular Florence Bourgeois, director of the fair, who cites it among her favorites: “I find that a particular energy emanates from this always abundant sector. In my eyes, the photographic book is booming. It is an essential medium for promoting the works of artists to as many people as possible. »

An accessible format, the book is indeed among the first purchases of many budding collectors, who sometimes indulge in a head print. And what better image, although a little comical, than that of the monograph dedicated to Arnold Schwarzenegger, enthroned in majesty on a rotating antique base at the Taschen stand, to illustrate the quality of a collector’s item or at least of value what can the photographic book do?

Florence Bourgeois evokes a boom in photographic books. What do the publishers think? Although the general feeling is that of running out of steam or in any case of great difficulty which, of course, is not limited to the book sector, the wealth of projects presented on the stands shows that everyone has been able to adapt . Emmanuelle Kouchner, at the head of delpire & co for a year, underlines the importance of going beyond a fair audience and reaching wider audiences. This is what France PhotoBook is working towards, which launched the first Photography Book Booksellers Prize in 2023. While increasing the visibility of the photographic book, this prize is above all a means for booksellers to appropriate this particular form to better disseminate it.

In 2023, four publishers joined the aisles of Paris Photo: the British GOST, the Arlesian house Poursuite, The(M) éditions whose creations push the art of making a book to its paroxysm and finally Puro Chile, straight from Chile where, they tell us, using a publisher is not yet obvious for photographers, who prefer self-publishing.

Throughout the stands, the spectrum of proposals broadens, from the vast monograph devoted to Saul Leiter at Textuel to the unusual history of hives from RVB books, including the brilliant primer on psychiatry published by The Eyes or Les Carnets, a collection initiated by delpire & co and the Institute for Photography (Lille) which brings photographers’ archives to life in an elegant and very accessible way to the general public.

An anniversary is also celebrated in a publication at Textuel, that of the five years of Elles x Paris Photo, a program which has made a big difference in the representation of women at the fair. Also notable, in the main sector, is the launch of Bolnichka [Hospital], a sadly important publication by Ukrainian photographer Vladyslav Krasnoshchok who worked for 10 years in the emergency room of Kharkiv hospital.

On the programming side, nearly 300 signatures as well as Artist Talks organized by The Eyes will allow visitors to interact with their favorite photographers throughout the weekend. An astonishing installation and a performance organized by bookshop M around the Tokyo Toilet project by Daido Moriyama will enliven the publishing sector every day. Finally, on Friday 10, the winners of the three sections of the Paris Photo Book Prize – Aperture are announced: that of the photo book of the year, that of the first book and that of the photographic catalog of the year.

Friday 10 were also announced the winners of the three sections of the Paris Photo Book Award – Aperture: the awardfor photo book of the year is awarded to Vince Aletti for The Drawer (SPBH Editions), that of the first book to Carla Williams for Tender (TBW Books) and that of the photographic catalog of the year to The Public Life of Women: A Feminist Memory Project by Diwas Raja Kc and NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati (Nepal Picture Library). Finally, special mention was given to the book Recaptioning Congo: African Stories and Colonial Pictures by Sandrine Colard (Lannoo Publishers and Fotomuseum FOMU).

On Wednesday Thursday and Friday the aisles of the book sector were in any case full, confirming the ever-increasing influence of this object whose eclecticism will satisfy all tastes.

Zoé Isle de Beauchaine

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