Caitie Moore surveys her books on the floor. To best view the photography books Moore stocks at Nomadic Bookshelf, she spreads them out, putting pressure on the binding with her palm to lay each image flat.
The physical, ritualistic process feels foreign in a time where an artist’s entire career can be viewed with a click and a scroll. But Moore’s rejection of digital photo books goes beyond keeping her business afloat.
“They’re called PDFs and they’re boring,” says Moore, the store’s operator and curator.
Since starting in 2014, Nomadic Bookshelf has roamed from art book fairs to pop-up events. But in March, the business secured its first permanent home at 78th Street Studios.
The shelves there are stocked with more than 50 books from diverse, self-published artists whose works are best viewed in print. Moore relishes design elements such as font size, paper stock and binding. A title like Judith Stenneken’s Illuminate Naturally in Darkness ($85), a gatefold book that displays three pages simultaneously, fits her standard. “A good photo book will have you coming back for more,” she says.
Although traveling remains integral to the store’s identity, Moore plans to use the space for events and book releases. She values connecting with people who don’t relegate their photo talent to Instagram.
“You can’t flip through pages online,” she says. “If you come up to my table and are really looking, you can be taken away by somebody you’ve never seen before.”