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Inaugural Vancouver Photo Book Fair launches April 21–23

The event is built around a book fair at Western Front, where audiences can talk one-on-one with artists and publishers while browsing their work.

Photo courtesy Allison White.

The Capture Photography Festival, in partnership with Vancouver Art Book Fair (VABF), launches the inaugural Vancouver Photo Book Fair this April 21–23. The Fair surveys one of photography’s earliest forms of dissemination - the photo book - demonstrating how this vital form continues to evolve, push the conventions of artists’ books, and carry photography into new contexts. 

For many photographers, the photo book is perhaps the most significant vehicle for the display of their work and the communication of their vision to a mass audience. 

Photo books date back to the 1840s, and were discovered almost by accident. Botanist Anna Atkins had learned a trick from her friend, the photographer and inventor John Herschel.

By pressing specimens onto light sensitive paper she discovered it created images. Before long Atkins had collected enough to self-publish her first book: Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. The very first photo book. 

The photo book has changed since then, from fact based, to documentary photography to even wartime propaganda books. In more recent years, photo books reflect the advances in digital technology, which have allowed anyone to become a published photographer. Throughout the evolution they remain the medium where the photographer can be more individual.

Showcasing a wide range of original talent the Vancouver Photo Book Fair is dedicated to artists whose book-making practices incorporate or intersect with photography and lens-based art. Featuring an engaging program and a variety of local and international artists, collectives, and publishers.

Tracy Stefanucci founded the Vancouver Art Book Fair in 2012, after it became clear that there was nothing catering to the burgeoning niche of art books on the West Coast or in Canada. 

As she states, “Since its inception VABF has grown in size and popularity, and we've seen the city's art publishing communities become more connected (within Vancouver and to a larger global community), produce more art books and organize more events and circumstances for engagement with and dissemination of art books.” 

Capture approached Stefanucci and VABF about the concept for a specific photo book fair, which was met with a resounding yes, as Stefanucci explains “our goal is to establish Vancouver as an important centre for artists’ publishing. Building a stronger bridge between art books and photography - a medium Vancouver is renowned for - made sense to us.”

The event is built around a book fair at Western Front, where audiences can talk one-on-one with artists and publishers while browsing their work, as well as a series of talks and workshops at the nearby James Black Gallery, where audiences can participate in workshops, watch talks and performances and gather around an installation of the VABF Library to reflect on the program, discuss ideas, read books and study.

The fair is expected to attract more than 1,000 visitors from Greater Vancouver and beyond.

Full list of exhibitors and program schedule:


Address: Western Front, 303 East 8th Ave, Vancouver

Friday, April 21: 7–10 pm (Members Preview memberships also available at the door)

Saturday, April 22: 11 am–6 pm 

Sunday, April 2311am-6pm

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