Café Royal Books — Impressions Gallery

Café Royal Books

An exhibition celebrating the work of Café Royal Books.

Café Royal Books is an independent publisher founded by Craig Atkinson in 2005, dedicated to post-war photography from Britain, with a particular interest in unseen or overlooked work.

Published weekly in an accessible and affordable zine format, they have a broad appeal for their photographic and historic interest, charting a fascinating route through British social history. Now spanning 650+ issues Café Royal provides a large and unique printed archive of documentary photography with historical significance and have opened up the work of whole generations of documentary photographers especially to new audiences.

Each book focuses on a single body of work by a single photographer, and each book is part of the larger, extensive series. As a series they provide a valuable resource into cultural and social change in Britain. Subjects are wide and varied and include folk customs, protest, street photography, mining and industry, community and place or city, architectural change, music and youth culture, politics, and religion.

Many of the photographers published by Café Royal either had their first ever exhibition at Impressions – such as Martin Parr and Daniel Meadows, or have shown at the gallery including Jo Spence, Chris Killip, and more recently Sophie Gerrard. Included are publications by Ian Beesley, who since the late 70s has been documenting the changing social landscape of Bradford. 

In 2022, Craig Atkinson was the recipient of the Royal Photographic Society Award for Photographic Publishing. The award is given to an individual for outstanding achievement or sustained contribution in the field of photographic publishing.

Coinciding with the exhibition, our annual Photobook Fair will take place on Saturday 12 October 2024, with a focus on independent, non-mainstream, grassroots and self-published photobooks and zines.

More information coming soon.

Image: Butlin’s by the Sea: Butlin’s Filey, Yorkshire, 1972 © Daniel Meadows.