Anatole is not only a young photobook lover and collector but also one of the up-and-coming photobook experts. His engagement spans from stands at the Rencontres d’Arles to Paris Photo, and from exhibitions at the „Galerie les Yeux Ouverts“ in Fontainebleau to bibliographic publications on photographers. Who better to interview for „on artbooks“?
1. You work with Eric Desachy and others on publications about publications, i.e. a fresh bibliographic approach to photographers and publishers. Could you tell us something about these projects?
We have established a publishing house which is focused on the history of photobooks. We understand it as a way to democratize photobooks. Our first publication was about „La Guilde du Livre“, a swiss publishing house which has published 84 photobooks between 1941 and 1977 that I began to collect when I was 12 years old. Our second book is about Robert Doisneau’s publications. It’s the first volume of our collection titled „a Photographer and his Books“.
Our engagement for the democratization of photobooks is also illustrated in the photobookfair that we organize every year in October in Fontainebleau. It features 20 publishers, bookdealers, institutions like the „Maison Européenne de la Photographie“, printers like „Escourbiac L’Imprimeur“, Graphic designers and many more. The idea is to present all the jobs included in the word „photobook“ and to introduce people to photography.
2. What is the aim behind the „Galerie Les Yeux Ouverts“?
The „Galerie Les Yeux Ouverts“ is specialized in exhibiting and selling photobooks. It is a family project. We consider the photobook as a work of art. So we organize exhibitions to present photobooks, as we did with Tiane Doan na Champassak. We also sell rare photobooks as well as many photobooks in sale, which are inequitably at reduced prices as they are really excellent books, and our job is to pick up these titles for our customers. Some photobooks which were in sale are actually quite expensive, like „Nudes“ by Thomas Ruff or „Light Lines“ by the american photographer Ray K. Metzker.
3. What is your favourite photobook at the moment?
At the moment, my favourite photobook is „Paris Mortel“ by Johan Van der Keuken that I bought 5 months ago. Published in 1963, this photobook is very well printed in heliogravure and very fragile with a blue dustjacket. I have a look at it every week and it’s always a pleasure to see it – it’s such a great book!
Website for the gallery: www.galerielesyeuxouverts.com
Website for the photobookfair: www.photolivrefontainebleau.fr
Images courtesy Anatole Desachy