This was another story that took me a couple of years to complete.

I hang out at a bookstore in Paris, The Village Voice, 6 rue Princesse in the 6th, and while talking with the owner Odile Helier, one day she mentioned this guy Martin Stone – a book scout. From her description and the fact that I love books I knew I wanted to shoot him. We met at a cafe which is when I shot the basic interview with him. Then followed him through a day or two of “scouting.”

I shot some of the bouqinistes along the Seine. Some were cooperative — others, yikes – they DON’T want to be photographed. Okay, always ask first.

Now what? It still wasn’t a story yet. I went to a couple of book fairs and met Jacqui who sells the serie noir, pulp fiction paperbacks. He was a good character as well. But again… what’s the point? John Baxter provided that. He is what was known at CBS as a “Morris, the explainer,” an expert.

Then it was Michael Neal at the Village Voice again who said — “o there was a chap in the other day, you’ve got to see his collection!’ He gave me his number, we spoke and … well as soon as I walked in the apartment I knew I had the story.


Because until you see Sylvan’s apartment – everything is simply an abstraction. Even though I’d shot a lot of the characters talking about. or wandering around with, books there was no “PAY-OFF.” It was all in the abstract. Worse. Everything in the story suggested there might be people like Sylvan — but where were they?