untitled (LA Art Book Fair, January 2014) copyright 2014 Douglas Stockdale
Last year I was pretty stoked when it was announced that the NY Art Book Fair would be making a Left Coast appearance. And it was pretty nice event with my only big complaint was the crappy lighting made very difficult to examine most books. And for viewing a photobook, the lighting can make a difference. Nevertheless I was pretty excited that there was a second LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, especially as I noted a stronger attendance by photobook publishers, dealers and bookstores.
And somebody got the message, the lighting was much, much improved and I don’t recall any complaints about it compared to the uproar last year.
My hour and half drive up from Orange County paled with those who flew in from London, Paris and other parts of Europe as well as Japan and Asia. What a fantastic melting pot. In many, many ways. A lot of tables with some very small publishers covering a full range of diverse artistic subjects. It is really nice to have this opportunity in our back yard. Personally I would like to see a lot more of the contemporary photobook publishers being represented, nevertheless there were more this year than last, so if the buzzzz continues to be good, perhaps there will be even more next year.
Other personal issue is the paucity of photobook/artist stores which carry true hand-made artist books. Even Printed Matter in NYC stated that they do not carry many titles if the sales price exceeds $50.00. There are rare book dealers who make a trade in the $250 to $10,000+ books, but they do not carry new or recent artist book titles. Give me a shout-out if you are aware of some hand-made artist book sellers.
So this year I took a few more photographs while I attended the Book Fair since Lauren Henkin, who coordinates the Handmade Books by Artists group on Facebook, gave me a shout-out to report on the event. So first qualifier, I am not a photojournalist, perhaps a story teller but not a documentary photographer. That said, since a photograph is a thousand words, my visual reportage follows below. And most of my portraits documented the new fans of The Photo Book Club who were proudly wearing their new badges (at least for the moment).
My thanks to Clint Woodside, Kelsey Vance, Mary Virginia Swanson, Sarah Hadley, Aron Morel, Mike Slak, Harper Levine, Maura Lucking, and Alex Campox for be patient subjects.
02/02/14 postscript: Erik van der Weijde brought to my attention late last night that I missed one of the project rooms (yeah, the one he was in and I did want to meet up with him) in the labyrinth of gallery space (okay, a beef, but heck it was on their event map, so my bad). In retrospect, I did something similar last year. This is a complex space to visit. And I did not by any means look at each title on every table, this is one very, very dense book event. Admittedly I skimmed a bunch of the areas which I was having trouble connecting. It is really meant to be more than a one day visit, but it is what it is and I am very happy to have been able to spend the time I did. Already looking forward to next year!