May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
It was at the International Design Fair in New York that Jerry Uelsmann walked up and introduced himself. With white hair, horn-rim glasses, and accompanied by his well-known wife, artist Maggie Taylor, Jerry proposed that we do a project together. I explained to Jerry that because of the unique nature of how his images were made we would require that he personally print and sign each of the prints in order for us to produce a Silver Edition project with him. He immediately said he would. I then said that they would have to be 16×20 inches, not a common size for him. To that he said “yes” again.
During a trip to Jerry and Maggie’s home in Florida and after two days of looking at his life’s output, which totaled roughly 5000 prints, we selected ten images. Five prints were included in each of the two 20×24 inch volumes. The set was accompanied by an additional portfolio volume of 20 poems by Harvard’s Steven Brown, each inspired by one of Jerry’s photographs, as well as an introduction by John Wood which discusses Uelsmann’s and Brown’s work and their intersections.
With Jerry and all those who make up 21st Editions, we produced the most ambitious project in our 16 year history. The brilliant brushed aluminum bindings by Daniel Kelm and his bindery incorporated Kelm designed special hinges that allow for the aluminum pages to be removable so that the signed silver-gelatin photographs mounted to them could be exhibited individually. The final result was both architecturally and bibliographically stunning.
Jerry labored for four solid months over the prints to produce a small edition of only 25 numbered and two Publisher’s sets. Each week he would call me and tell me that it was the most difficult printing job he had ever done. He would then sometimes follow with an email that would contain a limerick. Jerry loves limericks and shared them with us so often that we got used to looking for them.
We announced Moth and Bonelight (Silver Edition, 2010) and it sold out in the course of 24 hours. We were astounded and pleased, since this was our most expensive production to date.
In addition to the Silver Edition, there was a smaller 14×18 inch Platinum Series portfolio of the same images that were printed by 21st Editions under the direction of Jerry Uelsmann. Each of the ten unbound prints were signed and dated by Jerry and in an edition of 55, plus 15 Artist’s sets. The set also includes the 20 poems by Steven Brown printed letterpress.
May 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
21st Editions is now celebrating sixteen years of The Art of the Book! In this series of sixteen emails we are sharing with you a chronology of highlights, events, and stories from the beginning of our unique publishing endeavor up until now. We hope you enjoy them.
In 2006, Andy Conway approached me with the idea of publishing a book celebrating the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the men’s 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team’s gold medal win. He understood and articulated that it was an event burnished in the minds of our generation, and that of our parents, as important as man’s landing on the moon. Sports fan or not, most remember that very important event during the Cold War era, and the significance of the United States eliminating West Germany, Russia, and finally Finland, for the gold.
Since a book like this was unlike anything we had ever done and since the entire 1980 team was still alive, with the exception of its coach Herb Brooks, we contacted the team. This became Andy’s project and it was up to him to bring it all together, as he so skillfully did. Working closely along side Andy was Pam Clark, both of whom are avid sports fans and who turned themselves into magicians to pull all of the pieces together. Andy tracked each of the players down and asked them, “What did it mean to you then?,” “How did it change your life?,” and “What does it mean to you now?” The text is compiled from their answers. Concurrently, Andy convinced both Al Michaels and President Carter to write the Introduction and Afterword, respectively. He also managed to collect thoughts and reflections from the players themselves. Pam tracked and followed all of the colophon pages for three months in order to be certain the books had all 20 players’ signatures. That page alone is a thing of beauty!
In the end, we published Gold: a Celebration of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, a celebration in book form surely unlike anything that has ever been produced in the sports arena, and perhaps that ever will be. As every year passes, this book becomes more important.
Chris Pichler and Maya Ishiwata of Nazraeli Press have been Michael Kenna’s publishers for years. Chris and I have known each other for some time, so out of courtesy and respect for a man I hold in high regard, I asked Chris if he minded if I approached Michael with a proposal. Without taking a breath, Chris said, “No, not at all.” Nazraeli and 21st Editions specialize in very different productions and neither of us saw any conflict, only benefit to one another, and Michael as well. Michael accepted and we soon were at work on it. In fact, after Mont-Saint-Michel, Michael enthusiastically accepted a second invitation to work together with us on Huangshan: Poems from the T’ang Dynasty. Both Platinum Series titles focused on projects that Michael had been working on for years. Together they make up a rare set of books from one of the most important landscape photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is also one of the most gracious and pleasant artists we have had the pleasure of working with.
May 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
May 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
We met Jefferson when he was an aspiring artist and frame maker in New York at one of his earlier showings in the middle of an antique car gallery. We were immediately sold and knew we wanted to work with him at some point in the future. Jefferson Hayman’s images of New York in The New City not only capture the spirit of the city but they bring us back in time and revisit the New York of Coburn, Steichen, and Stieglitz. Hayman’s photographic style is synonymous with the artist himself – refined and respectful, creating economical compositions that leave the viewer completely satisfied.