My recent gallery visit also, inevitably involved a just as long visit to the gallery shop. The Photographers Gallery shop (unlike say the V&A which stocks anything tenuously related to any of its displays), does stick to things related to the gallery – photography books, postcards, design magazines and photography equipment. But it is still one of my favourite gallery shops because I love photography books. I covet them. I could spend all day browsing them.
And I was thinking as I sadly put down the £23 exhibition book that if I won the lottery/robbed a bank*, I would buy loads of books. Glossy photography books, to fill bookcases and rest on my coffee table, to be dipped into, flicked through, admired and inspired by.
Forget designer clothes, flashy cars and big houses, all of these things I can manage without, but I hate not being able to buy all the books I want. Because books are good things, providers of knowledge and they should be free to everyone. (I realise there are libraries, which are fine for some things but not the sort of book I’m currently coveting, which I want to be surrounded by, not have to remember to return after four weeks).
To me, buying books is good consumerism, likewise films and music (of a certain quality obviously) – as opposed to clothes and shoes buying which always makes me feel guilty = bad consumerism.
The other thing about this is that these books are usually available to buy online cheaper (Amazon has the exhibition book for £16) but somehow it isn’t the same. There is something about buying the books in the gallery shop, it feels more special that way, then just clicking to put a pixilated purchased into a cyber shopping trolley.
* Would a Judge show leniency if I was caught robbing a bank to buy books?