Bound Art Book Fair: Five Northern Book Publishers to Put on Your Radar

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The Ragga Press 01 - Courtesy of The Ragga Press
Courtesy of The Ragga Press

As Bound Art Book Fair returns to Manchester, we give you five of the best art and photography publishers from up north

Art book season is in full swing. Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair returned to its original venue earlier this month while we have also seen fairs in Valencia, (Recreo Art Book Fair) and Detroit with the future looking towards the Tokyo Art Book Fair alongside three fairs in Paris with Offprint, Accident(s) and Polycopies. Bound, hosted at the Whitworth Gallery is the UK’s offering to this mix.

Art book fairs have never quite taken off the way they should in London. There are the same faces, the same big publishers, the same institutions, which make them underwhelming in comparison to the output of other cities like New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. 

Bound’s detachment from the capital city allows for it to thrive; there’s no comparisons, no pretension, no politics. Started in 2017 by Village’s Joe Torr and Robert Parkinson of Preston Is My Paris, Bound was founded to enrich communities rather than for profit, and to make publishing as a practice accessible – especially in the north of England.

This year’s edition returns from 29-30 October, and features over 60 of the best and most exciting art and photography publishers from the UK and further afield. Complementing the fair is a free public programme of talks and workshops taking place throughout the weekend. Presented by Yushi Li, Nigel Shafran, Edd Carr, Stephanie Francis-Shanahan & many more. Below, find some of the best presses showcasing at Bound this year.

Ceremony Press

Established in 2018, Ceremony is a publisher based in Manchester which focuses on contemporary photography, writing and visual arts. Founder Liam Bonham is a bookbinder by trade and his skills are reflected in Ceremony’s sleek and meticulous approach to creating publications. Ceremony’s latest release is Ism by Luke Pickering, a 48-page photography diary featuring de-bossed softcover and silkscreened inner pages, created and finished by hand.

Salt n Pepper Press

Ran out of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire by James Brook, Salt n Pepper Press is a publisher with a focus on documentary photography and contemporary art. Their latest offerings In Situ by David O’Mara and Here/There by Charlotte Dawson are massively different in subject, medium and tone but still somehow fall under the same oeuvre.

In Situ tells an all-too-familiar story. Photographer David O’Mara moved to London after graduating art school with the ambition of becoming a professional artist. But, without the cash injection, cultural clout and nepotism needed to make progress in the industry, he found himself labouring as a profession. In Situ is a book of photographs O’Mara took on building sites as he battled and accepted two different identities.

Sheffield-based artist Charlotte Dawson’s Here/There features a series of sculptures reflecting on the dining plate and its uses, whether that be commemorative and functional, as souvenir or ornamental. The publication also features a homage to the leisure industries of Blackpool, with a series of puppet heads re-purposed as tea towel toppers and an embroidery piece memorialising the iconography of Blackpool’s illuminations.


Now in its seventh edition, Hull-based photography magazine OBOUT * focuses on the beauty of urban landscapes and the grey, sparse spaces of the north. Each issue features a collaboration between founder and designer Alistair Clougher and a local artist (or previously local) to Hull. Its output is reminiscent of Hamburger Eyes, if California’s coastlines were transported to the Humber.

Shy Bairns

Shy Bairns are an artist collective working at the intersection of contemporary art and bookmaking. Based in Manchester but their heart in the north-east, the collective is made up of Izzy Kroese, George Gibson, Erin Blamire and Eleanor Haswell. The recent Things We Liked This Month series takes things normally reserved for group chats and blogs and puts them on the printed page. It is Shy Bairns at its best, quickly produced ephemera using interesting print techniques.

The Ragga Press

Embracing the idea of “shonky”, the Ragga Press is a multidisciplinary platform for expression that is about changing things slowly rather than abrasively seeking attention, and is run by Dan Szor, lecturer and former art director and deputy editor of Super Super, the publication that pioneered Nu Rave alongside artist and set designer Rory Mullen.

Bound Art Book Fair runs at the the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester from 29-30 October 2022.