Franck Bohbot Documents the Character of Indie Bookstores and Their Booksellers

All images by Franck Bohbot. Used with Creative Commons permission.

In our previous features, we’ve seen New York-based photographer and filmmaker Franck Bohbot capture the beauty of New Orleans at night, and dreamy winter scenes in the Big Apple. Today, we showcase yet another of his interesting photography projects; a portrait project that aims not only to introduce us to New York City’s indie booksellers, but also show us the character of the bookstores themselves.

Portraiture is best known as a creative device to tell us more about people, their personalities, and their stories. Bohbot certainly got that covered in his We Are NY Indie Booksellers project. However, it’s even more interesting that the portraits he took were also meant to give us an idea about the character of the independent bookstores themselves. What kind of books do they carry? What are their interiors like and what kind of vibe do they give off? What kind of readers do they attract?

These are just some of the questions I can imagine Bohbot seeking the answers for together with his collaborator Philippe Ungar, who does interviews for the project. Their statement also tells us about their compelling motivations and visions for We Are NY Indie Booksellers:

Corey Farach at Bluestockings, Lower East Side, Manhattan, 2017

Janifer P. Wilson at Sisters Uptown Bookstore, Harlem, Manhattan, 2017

Matt Winn at Molasses Books, Bushwick, Brooklyn, 2017

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, East Village, Manhattan, 2017

Steven Svymbersky, Quimby’s Bookstore, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2017

David Morse at Better Read than Dead, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, 2017

Veronica Liu at Word Up Community Bookshop, Washington Heights, Manhattan, 2017.

Heather O’Donnell at Honey and Wax Books, Gowanus, Brooklyn, 2017

Joseph Koch at Joseph Koch’s Comic Book Warehouse, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2017

Michael Seidenberg at Brazenhead Books, Yorkville, Manhattan, 2017.

Otto Pentzler at The Mysterious Bookstore, TriBeCa, Manhattan, 2017

Jennifer Fischer, Street Bookseller, St. Marks Place, East Village, Manhattan, 2017

“Every indie bookstore has a personality and every individual can find one whose character suits him. Not just the books themselves and the authors, but the very bookstore itself. It is, in a sense, finding oneself in a place where one can discover a community. Books provide bridges between people. These booksellers’ portraits are a reflection of their customers and ultimately of their neighborhoods, and collectively make a portrait of New York City.”

The bookstores are indeed as distinct and diverse as their owners. It’s also an interesting peek into the variety of topics, interests, and genres each bookstore houses, as well as the readers they cater to. The project is also set to be published as a book, complete with the stories of all the booksellers. As a bookworm myself, I adore this project and I’m definitely looking forward to this book-ception about books, bookstores, and booksellers!

Do check out Franck Bohbot’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of this beautiful project.