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Paris Photo Off : the independent edition at the top of the bill


For its 25th edition, Paris Photo is once again accompanied by its share of satellite fairs dedicated to independent publishing, with a few newcomers this year. Overview.

This year marked a turning point for Polycopies. Created nine years ago, the festival dedicated to the independent publishing of photographic books has grown in size, with more than eighty exhibitors, compared to thirty when it was created. Another novelty, the programming of a rich panel of events: free portfolio readings, conferences on documentary photography and the question of archives, or an Open Stage inviting photographers and publishers to present to the public a book of their choice. . These moments of privileged exchanges responded to a request from exhibitors, eager to meet the public.

Always very sharp, Polycopies continues to be a place of choice to observe the creativity of independent publishers. For its first participation in the festival, the gallery, bookstore and publishing house echo 119 highlighted several beautifully crafted works, for example those by Benrido, printed in collotype, or their own publication, Je t’aime by Léo Berne . Tommaso Parrillo, alone at the helm of Witty Books, presented a series of unique productions, such as the poetic The Missing Eye by Mattia Parodi and Piergiorgio Sorgetti or How to Raise a Hand, a work as comic as it is touching by Angelo Vignali.

Some book collectors, crossed on the deck of the Concorde Atlantique, nevertheless all made the same remark: a certain saturation is felt, which prevents them from fully appreciating the works… Asked about this, Sara Giuliattini, co-founder of Polycopies, affirms that for the next editions she want to avoid exceeding the current number of exhibitors in order to propose a challenging selection.


Yannick Bouillis, whose fair was originally devoted to photography before opening up to other editorial practices, says he wants to continue to expand to “find very niche publishers, in other categories like architecture and design or even the humanities. »

Offprint was held this year at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal and brought together 90 publishers. Among those specializing in photography, note the beautiful proposals of Art Paper Editions or the striking work of the house 550BC which deals with subjects related to the contemporary culture of conflict and organized crime, offering a glimpse of worlds ordinarily inaccessible through first-person narration. An almost opposite approach but just as surprising, the photographs published in the book Autodestructivity by Gregory Chatonsky (Rrose Publishing) were generated from a text submitted to an artificial intelligence.

Referring to the paper crisis, Yannick Bouillis applauds the courage of publishers, especially those who do not hesitate to reduce the size of their books, favoring the quality of graphics or printing, for example. Thanks to the partnership with Luma set up in 2015,this fair is one of the few to provide stands at unbeatable prices, offering the possibility to many publishing houses that would not be able afford to be present at this meeting. essential to independent publishing.


Accident(s) – Atypical Book Fair
Like Offprint, Accident(s) promoted independent publishing in all its forms, with an emphasis on alternative productions. Led by Mathilde de Galbert (Librairie sans titre), Pauline Lespiau (Librairie Disparate), Oscar Ginter (Quintal Éditions) and Stéphane Gallois (Rien Ne Va Plus Éditions), the fair launched in December 2021 at La Bellevilloise.

Invited this year to invest the gallery of the Cité Internationale des Arts during Paris Photo, it was deployed on four floors with more than seventy publishers, among them September Books, Kodoji Press, Rorhof, Patrick Frey or the artist Sergej Vutuc.

We also found some houses already seen at Offprint and Paris Photo, such as RVB Books, which thus confronted its work with several audiences. Asked about the attendance of Accident(s), Mathilde de Galbert is delighted that the fair attracts a young audience: “we have a lot of students, that gives hope. »


Paris Vintage Photobook
Initiated by Clément Kauteur of the Le Plac’art bookstore to give more visibility to vintage publications, often absent from fairs dedicated to photography books, Paris Vintage Photobook presented some rare pearls of photographic publishing.

This year, we found the great classics, a certain number of Japanese, German, Dutch and American books. Alain Sinibaldi notably exhibited a series of albums by Cecil Beaton with elegant and colorful covers. The Plac’art bookstore highlighted the collaboration between photographers and graphic designers with publications from the 1960s to today. Among them, The Quickening, a sensitive work on postpartum by photographer Ying Ang produced with graphic designer Teun van der Heijden or even Snowflakes Dog Man for which Hajime Kimura followed his late father’s dog in order to reconstruct the journeys of his daily life.

In the windows of Paris Vintage Photobook, some copies were close to 30,000 euros:  photographic books became museum pieces…


The Floto Shop
The latest arrival on the scene of independent photographic publishing fairs, The Floto Shop extends beyond the dates of Paris Photo, offering for sale a selection of photographic books, zines and prints until November 20. This pop-up, organized by Floréal Belleville in its gallery section, ranges from micro-publishing to more established houses. We find in particular the zines of Thibault Tourmente, the works of Éditions Macula and RVB books, or even the creations of the promising Cé éditions.

The Off of Paris Photo will have confirmed one thing: fairs dedicated to independent publishing houses are on the rise. Although some are surprised by such a proliferation, these events are life-saving for many houses, as Yannick Bouillis points out when he remarks that “some publishers make half of their annual sales during the fair. Each of the organizers interviewed also stressed the importance of such events, which offer unparalleled structure and visibility to participants who often have distribution problems. Offering an ever more specialized selection, they in any case suggest a bright future for the photographic book.

Zoé Isle de Beauchaine

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