Ningbo’s Photobook Library
Written by (作者): Ted Chen 陈云柳
Photos by (图片来源): Ted Chen 陈云柳 & Sudheer Uralath
On February 20th, 2017, Photobook Library, a bookstore that specifically showcase books on photography, opened in Jiangbei District. We recently sat down with the shop’s owner, Yanyou, to learn more about the project and its purpose.
Yanyou’s story of inspiration goes back 11 years.
In 2006, Yanyou opened a blog called “Fake Magazines” to share foreign designs that he had found online. The reason for the name, as explained by Yanyou, was that real magazines should be printed on paper, rather than solely exist in the form of a digital network. At the time, his goal was to make a print magazine about design, and the blog was seen as a stepping stone.
In 2011, after several tries, Yanyou cooperated with the domestic outstanding young photographer Sun Yanchu and launched their first photography collect, “Obsessed”, for “Fake Magazine”. Since then, “Fake Magazine” has published a series of highly styled photography books.
In 2014, Yanyou moved from Ningbo to Beijing. Even though he had problems with the heavy traffic, bad pollution and rapidly expanding population, this didn’t dispel his desire to live and make a living in China’s capital. It was only after his child was born that he decided to move somewhere where his dreams could take root, finally having become tired of the city. He returned to Ningbo, where in 2016 he got the idea of opening a public bookstore. “Like ‘Fake Magazine’, the bookstore began online, with our eventual goal of opening a real bookstore.”
A year later, the Photobook Library was completed, with Yanyou’s dream finally becoming a reality. Even though most stories stop here, this is only the beginning for Yanyou, who wishes to put the spotlight on photography in the city and inspire Ningbo’s photography enthusiasts.
Being a photography enthusiast myself, I had a lot of dreamy expectations for the Photobook Library as a place that would be bright, quiet, spotless, where we could all enjoy a nice day.
When I walked into the library, I picked up the first book I saw. As I opened it to the first page, I realized everything was as I had imagined and expected it to be. In this little space, the past, the future and present intertwined. I could feel the flow of time, slow and gentle as water. Every book looked charming under the bright warm sunshine. And Yanyou quietly placed a new book on a shelf not far from me.
Yanyou was very kind, his voice was soft, but every word he uttered had an indescribable power. He said that the Photobook Library would cooperate with a domestic photographer to open an exhibition, and that he was very happy that photographers like me could come to the Photobook Library, that there were still so many things for photography he wished to accomplish, and that the Photobook Library belongs to all photography lovers, this was to be a dreamland for photographers.
It is no wonder that the Photobook Library is a dreamland for photography lovers; everything here is quiet, orderly, free and harmonious. The space is home to many wonderful photography works selected from
around the world, domestic outstanding young photographer works exhibitions, open photography art salons, and lots more. Here, you can enjoy your favorite photography, and have a nice conversation with unfamiliar friends who share the same interests as you, you can even just have a cup of coffee and
do nothing but enjoy yourself on a leisurely afternoon, just perusing the store’s vast selection. Here, there is everything about photography.
Perhaps one day, when I come to Jiangbei 8th Park once again, the Photobook Library may not even be there anymore; or perhaps, at that time, it will have become the best photography library in the world.
“I hope that this library will not only allow you to see the best international photography books, but for it also to become a model of the photography scene here in China,” said Yanyou.
怀着忐忑的心情，我走上前和言由老师攀谈了几句。言由老师很和善，但话语中又有一种无法言说的力量。他说不久之后会在Photobook Library和一位优秀的国内摄影师合作开一个展览，他说很开心我们这些摄影爱好者能来到这里，他说他做得还远远不够，他说Photobook Library是一个属于所有影像爱好者的理想国。
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