What’s in a bookstore?

Not too long ago I started living in New Orleans and as I began exploring, I found these used book stores. As I wandered into my first bookstore here and inhaled the smell of old books, I thought about who could have owned it before me, when it was published, how the novel was broken in, the creases in its bind. Sometimes I’ll find notes left behind and I’ve even purchased an unpublished proof of a novel.

The work I have created portrays these places and a few of the people I have encountered during my explorations. Each store has its own atmosphere whether it was dark and crowded with books or modern and cozy. The scarce number of people I encountered varied from store to store. All were interesting, as I overheard some of their stories and most were not from the area.

My photographs show the owners or workers of the store, different setups for customers, and small things found or left behind. When the images are developed, the book titles are unreadable for the most part. They are a stack of title-less books; it’s like browsing the shelves. There are so many books to look at that I scan over the majority of titles until one happens to catch my attention. In this work, I can rarely focus on just one book when I am in the store as the shelves are endless.

I have found that using black and white film for this project accentuates the timeliness of both film photography and the history of books. Essentially, I am looking to capture the essence of each store that I visit. The place, the customers and the books themselves intrigue me to no end.


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