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The Photographers’ Gallery : Café Royal Books


The Photographers’ Gallery celebrates the work of Café Royal Books with a new display.

Founded by Craig Atkinson in Southport in 2005, Café Royal Books has been producing affordable weekly publications since 2012. Now spanning more than 600 issues, it is an extraordinary printed archive of post-war documentary photography, often featuring previously unseen or overlooked work. Driven by a mission to make the publications affordable, accessible and free from fuss and decoration, Café Royal Books is a valuable record of cultural and social change in Britain and Ireland.

Visitors can browse a selection of around 250 titles from the first 600 issues of Café Royal Books’ back catalogue, featuring everyday scenes from cities across the UK, including Hull, Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Manchester. Documenting festivals, gigs and raves, political protests and riots, to street markets, football matches, docks and mines, Atkinson describes the ethos of Café Royal Books as ‘somewhere between craft and punk’.

Published photographers include Daniel Meadows, Shirley Baker, Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Janine Wiedel and Jo Spence, as well as many less well-known photographers. Many of the Café Royal Books artists have exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery previously.


Café Royal Books is a family-run, independent publisher, founded by Craig Atkinson in Southport in 2005. Café Royal Books publications are widely collected and used for information and research into social history, cultural change, fashion, film, music and much more. The publications are held in many university and gallery collections including MoMA, New York, TATE and V&A, London. The exhibition, Café Royal Books: Documentary, Zines and Subversion, was held at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol in 2022.


A selection of Café Royal Books will be available from the Gallery bookshop in store and online.

Café Royal Books
from 23 February – 2 June 2024
The Photographers’ Gallery
16–18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW

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