Café Royal Books

23 February 2024 to 2 June 2024 The Photographers' Gallery

From Being British 1975-2005 © Barry Lewis

Celebrating the work of Café Royal Books, an independent publisher dedicated to post-war photography from Britain and Ireland

‘I want them to be affordable, democratic, useful and functional. I’m not into publishing decorative things or something so expensive that most people can’t afford them. Someone once said they’re often less than the price of a London pint, so I use that as a measure.’ - Craig Atkinson. This Spring, The Photographers’ Gallery celebrates the work of Café Royal Books with a new display, from 23 February - 2 June 2024.

Founded by Craig Atkinson in Southport in 2005, Café Royal Books has been producing affordable weekly publications since 2012. Now spanning more than 600 issues, it is an extraordinary printed archive of post-war documentary photography, often featuring previously unseen or overlooked work. Driven by a mission to make the publications affordable, accessible and free from fuss and decoration, Café Royal Books is a valuable record of cultural and social change in Britain and Ireland.

Visitors can browse a selection of around 250 titles from the first 600 issues of Café Royal Books’ back catalogue, featuring everyday scenes from cities across the UK, including Hull, Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Manchester. Documenting festivals, gigs and raves, political protests and riots, to street markets, football matches, docks and mines, Atkinson describes the ethos of Café Royal Books as ‘somewhere between craft and punk’.

Published photographers include Daniel Meadows, Shirley Baker, Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Janine Wiedel and Jo Spence, as well as many less well-known photographers. Many of the Café Royal Books artists have exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery previously. 

A selection of Café Royal Books will be available from the Gallery bookshop in store and online.

Visitor information – The Photographers’ Gallery Tickets - your ticket covers entry to all exhibitions on the day of your visit £8 / £5 concessions (members go free) Advance online booking: £6.50 / £4 concession

Further Information:  Café Royal Books | The Photographers Gallery