New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Spring in New York City is a wonderful time to experience all those rare and hard to find photobooks many covet, but are unable to afford. Beginning with The AIPAD Photography Show at the end of March and ending with the New York Photo Festival in mid-May, an amazing array of photobooks are on view through the various fairs, festivals and auctions that take place during the spring season. One event in particular stands out as a fantastic venue for photobook browsing. Despite a name that suggests dark mahogany library shelves with row after row of expensive leather-bound signed first editions housed in engraved clamshell cases, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is surprisingly one of the best places to see highly innovative and experimental photobooks that would otherwise be inaccessible to the average photobook addict (who hasn’t yet won the lottery). On view at the Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side from April 12 – 15th, this year’s 52nd annual fair featured some incredible photobook finds – including a number of familiar and well respected books I hadn’t seen in a long time, along with several new discoveries that helped expand my photobook knowledge base.

Found interspersed among booksellers offering American and English first edition literature, maps, bibles, early children’s picture books, manuscripts, ephemera and books on American radicalism, were photobook dealers from the U.S. and Europe. In the past, I had visited the fair with an eye exclusively towards Japanese photobooks, but this year I was pleasantly surprised to find many Russian Constructivist, European between-the-war, and artist-photography books along with the expected 20th century American and European photobook fair staples of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind and William Klein.

Below are a few of the notable photobook finds that were on view at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair:

Katsuji Fukuda. Ginza. Tokyo: Genkōsha, 1941. With an essay by Tama Morita.
Found at Abeceda Rare Books, Munich, Germany.

An extremely rare collection of Ginza street scenes by Fukuda, an early practitioner of the New Photography movement that was prevalent in Japan during the 1930s and 40s. Fukuda is also well known for his nudes and advertising work.

Kumada Goro, ed. Nippon. Tokyo: Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai, 1937.
Found at Abeceda Rare Books, Munich, Germany.

An oversized accordion propaganda book composed of photomontages inspired by the visual style of USSR in Construction. Contributors included many of the staff photographers from Nippon magazine: Ihei Kimura, Masao Horino, Ken Domon, et. al. More images for this book can be found on

Les Krims. The Incredible Case of the Stack O’Wheats Murders. Buffalo, NY: Self-Published. 1972.

Les Krims. Fictcryptokrimsographs: A Book Work. Buffalo, NY: Humpy Press, 1975. With an introduction by Hollis Frampton.
Found at Andrew Cahan, Akron, OH

Bizarre and irreverent fabricated “fictions” by conceptual artist/photographer Les Krims.

György Lőrinczy. New York New York. Budapest: Magyar Helikon, 1972.
Found at Foldvari Books, Budapest, Hungary.

The blurred and energetic style of these early 1970s photographs by Hungarian photographer Lorinczy has been compared to Daido Moriyama, who also photographed New York around the same time. A copy of Moriyama’s Another Country in New York was on view at Harper’s Books (see next entry).

Daido Moriyama. Another Country in New York / Mo Kuni New York. Tokyo: Self-Published, 1974.
Found at Harper’s Books

An extremely rare limited edition book created from images Moriyama took in New York and then assembled on demand with a staple-bound silkscreen cover during a 1974 bookmaking performance event in a Tokyo storefront.

Das Neue Frankfurt magazines. Multiple volumes. Frankfurt am Main : Englert und Schlosser, 1926-1930s.
Found at Rotes Antiquariat, Berlin, Germany

A collection of several volumes from one of the most influential design magazines of the modernist period. The combination of design, typography and photography is a wonderful example of the Bauhaus sensibility.

Novy Lef: Magazine of the Left Front of Arts. Multiple volumes. Moscow: GIZ, 1927-29.
Found at Rotes Antiquariat, Berlin, Germany

Several beautiful examples of this seminal Russian Constructivist publication with designs and photographs by Valdimir Mayakovsky and Alexander Rodchenko.

Shoko Hashimoto. Goze. Tokyo: Norasha, 1974. Published by Kazuo Kitai.
Found at Derringer Books, Woodbridge, CT

A photobook documenting blind itinerant female musicians, which showcases high contrast provoke style photographs from the mid-1970s.

Robert Capa. Death in the Making. New York: Convici-Friede, 1938.
Found at Eric Chaim Kline, Santa Monica, CA

Robert Capa’s first book, which presents photographs of the Spanish Civil War taken by Capa and Gerda Taro.

Lawrence Alloway et. al. Artists & Photographers. New York: Multiples, Inc. 1970.
Found at Sims Reed Rare Books, London, England

A book/box containing ephemera, objects and images by 19 leading artists and photographers from the1960s.

Workshop Collective, volumes 1-8. Tokyo: PhotoWorkshop, 1974.
Found at Sims Reed Rare Books, London, England

A series of 8 journals (the first 4 in tabloid format), founded by Moriyama, Araki, Hosoe, Fukase, Tomatsu and Yokosuka. Rarely seen as a complete set, Workshop was a showcase in the mid-70s for many of the most important postwar Japanese photographers.

For additional photobook sightings at the NY Antiquarian Book Fair see: Photography in Common and Photolia.

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