Café Royal Books was set up by Craig Atkinson in 2005. Based in Southport, he publishes around 15 short run artists’ editions a year. The mostly black and white photographs and drawings form an eclectic library ranging from China Slides to Geriatric Kama Sutra. Uniformly presented as stripped-back zines and wordless save for title and artist, each fascinating little book is produced on quality paper with a smooth finish.
Recently Atkinson’s been working with various artists who examine and document aspects of Britishness. David Levenson’s British Rituals is a wonderful selection of unexplained snapshots of staring bridesmaids, processions with disembodied antlers and brass bands in supermarkets. Mark McNulty’s Ten ‘til Late is a dilated-eyed trip around the UK clubbing scene in the 1990s, showing curtained-haired boys and crop-topped girls in all their sweaty glory. John Claridge’s East End Graphics is a tour of scribbled, engraved, sprayed, painted and wrought signs around the streets.
For a few years Atkinson has been buying second hand cameras, processing the film, scanning the negatives and so ending up the first person to see the photographs. America is an edited collection of found film and slides that, when placed together, create a strange journey through things other people deemed worthy of shooting.