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Matinee: 'Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

5 December 2020

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 373rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers.

This 3:13 portrait of independent booksellers by photojournalist Horst A. Friedrichs reveals the variety and vitality of these small but colorful businesses run by colorful individuals with large personalities and strong commitments to their communities.

Friedrichs, who was born in Frankfurt in 1966, moved to London in 1997. He graduated from the Munich Film Academy and, since 1990, has worked as a photographer for magazines including Geo, Stern, Merian, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Rolling Stone Magazine and The New York Times. He has published a number of books and traveled to Venezuela, Pakistan, Mali, Japan and many other regions of the world. In 2008 he received the Gold Lead award for best documentary photography.

Friedrichs shows us the stacks and the shelves but he also shoots portraits of the shop owners among their treasures.

Friedrichs himself never visits a city without exploring its bookshops. He can't resist the experience of visiting these dens of civilization.

So, of course, Friedrichs has turned the whole project into a $45 256-page hardback titled Bookstores: A Celebration of Independent Booksellers, which will be released on March 9, 2021.

But you don't have to wait until then. You can get a preview of his work in this entertaining video as Friedrichs talks with author Stuart Husband, who wrote the text, about some of the store owners and shows a few of the stills from the book.

The shops come in all sizes and are organized (or disorganized) in all sorts of ways, much like their owners. Friedrichs photographed the stacks and the shelves but he also shot portraits of the shop owners among their treasures.

The featured shops include William Stout Books, Baldwin's Book Barn, Hurlingham Books, Gay's the Word, Livraria Lello and City Lights, to name just a few.

"This is the worse business you can go into," shop owner Ray Cole confides in the video. "But it's the best thing to do with your life."

Other than, perhaps, curling up with a book and warm mug on a cold winter afternoon and being transported to another world entirely.

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