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Books, books, and more books, all dedicated to photography, along with posters and postcards and zines on the walls and counters can be found at this unique shop with the feel of a library crossed with a record shop crossed with a gallery. In a city that has it all, there is only one independent bookstore dedicated solely to the art of photography: Dashwood Books at 33 Bond Street in NoHo, our February Business of the Month.
Opened in 2005 by proprietor David Suttrell, Dashwood Books is on the cobblestoned Bond Street in the NoHo Historic District Extension, between Bowery & Lafayette Street. The store is housed in an Italianate-style loft building built in 1830-31 and later altered in 1911. After serving as the Cultural Director of Magnum Photos, David was inspired by the On Sundays book shop at the Watari Museum in Japan for his next step in life.
David curates a specialty shop where the book is an art form, and the contents are the work of well-known and up and coming photographers, and all in between. A shop like this simply does not exist anywhere else in NYC, and people here are used to having access to anything. David mentioned the only comparable space– A Photographer’s Place store that used to be on Mercer Street.
While he lives nearby in the East Village with his family, David travels the world to stay current on trends and to gather inspiration for what else to bring to NYC. He makes annual trips to Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and more, and goes to a new place each year.
Going on 12 years and counting, David attributes some of Dashwood Books’ success to respecting the artistic community, as well as melding fashion, art, photojournalism and avant-garde trends in the books he chooses. And like a Saville Row tailor that knows your measurements as soon as you walk in the door, he says they keep boxes for customers to look through with books he thinks they will find of interest. In this line of work you do not succeed as a big franchise, he said, although he has received invitations to open a similar shop in Los Angeles and other world capitols of creativity. NoHo is Dashwood Books’ one and only home.
Dashwood has taken to publishing their own works, and he has three in the works to be ready for the L.A. Art Book Fair. The first book Dashwood published was The Chance is Higher by Ari Marcopoulos, printed on a kind of Muncken paper. And to help get your winter on, he has Marcopoulos’ Transitions and Exits: Photography / Snowboarding / Youth Culture with an Interview by Louise Neri. David is adamant that they are not “coffee tables books”, but works of art that reward repeated viewing.
For the bookfair Dashwood has three small printings in the works. One deals with the work of Stefan Marx and an artist in residency collaboration in the Rockaways and The Castle. Another is Jocko Weyland’s Aesthetics in Beijing. And Dashwood has a larger scale printing forthcoming of Jamie Hawkesworth‘s Preston Bus Station project. As David said, “these are not mainstream things”.
But do visit, whatever your tastes. David also sees Dashwood as an eclectic community space where established photographers, students, artists and fans are flipping through the shelves shoulder to shoulder with collectors looking for books in the four figure range.
It may seem counterintuitive, but David feels that the varied innovations and trends in technology has been good for business at Dashwood. Because they have special things you can hold in your hand and feel, signed limited editions, unique items from select sources, and a community of fans and patrons — none of which can found or experienced in the same way on the internet — the value of and need for a place like Dashwood has only increased.
Dashwood also hosts book signings and events, such as one on Thursday, February 16th for Everglades by Jungjin Lee. From the description:
“The Florida Everglades is one of the most extensive and complex wetlands on our planet. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states. Bringing her unique meditative approach to this subject, Lee captured a sense of stillness in the constantly moving.”
An example of the kind of unique work David curates, it is beautifully printed on lush uncoated Japanese paper. Everglades is limited to 2,000 copies presented in a green cloth slipcase.
If you miss the book signing, go on any day, except Monday when they are closed, and you will be privy to an assortment of books of great sense and sensibility. If you catch David there, his effusive enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of countless artists and their work, down to the ink they select for their books, will inspire you to develop your interest in photography even more.
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And here is a handy map of all our Business of the Month shops: