Jefferson Hayman, the modern-day Coburn

September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Jefferson Hayman is the modern-day Alvin Langdon Coburn. Ever since I saw Jeff’s work I knew I was looking at a future entry into the history of photography. After having known Jeff coming up on a decade, I am sure that Jeff’s vision was and is his own. This question begs to be asked because his style is so very akin to the work of Stieglitz, Steichen, and most of all, Coburn. As Coburn may have only enjoyed having an upstage position for about 15 years, I would bet that Hayman is going to be around for the long haul. What he has that is unique to the others is his presentation. That in itself, is as much about his art as is the photograph. Jeff is a conceptualist, a sculptor, and a photographer. All of these reasons are why we published him in “The New City.” If anyone goes to see the upcoming exhibition at the Eastman House (www.eastmanhouse.org) on Coburn, you might want to keep in mind the quiet artist who is making his way in the U.S. and overseas in a deliberate and focused attempt to merely do what he does. The fact that he is doing it very well and that there is no one like him, might give us pause to think what his show will look like when he is long gone. I am certain it will be astounding.

-Steven Albahari
Publisher, 21st Editions

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About the Contributors #8

August 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

John Wood in his introduction to The New City stated: “…Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg. Along with Hart Crane they were the great epic rhapsodists of America and the American experience, and MacLean Gander is one with them within that same tradition.” We were fortunate to publish two great epic poems: Hart Crane’s The Bridge, with Sheila Metzner, and MacLean Gander’s The New City, with Jefferson Hayman.

Coda: The New City
BY MACLEAN GANDER

This new city is so perfectly described it ends the past,
Not like a death but like the end of a story
That you remember always, in the fondest way, without regret.

This new city holds a lantern against the moon & illuminates it.

The walkways share a fragrance of undiscovered flowers,
Children carry balloons like talismans as they play their games,
Invented & forgotten each day, like rumors of forgiveness.

This new city is a firefly—one of the fireflies that return each summer
So that fireflies come back even though each one dies.

This new city is a place without you, a place where I knew you
But now you are gone. My hands hold a river. If you were water

I would drink you so deeply my thirst would be endless, to drink you.

In this new city we watch the sun rise & set, golden claims
On the sky, indifferent to anything but its endlessness & perfection.

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The Bridge
BY HART CRANE

As John Wood wrote in his introduction: We look at the gothic arch, that high window of the American cathedral, at those steel, harp-string cable wires, and we see the spiritual side of the vision that Crane addressed in “To Brooklyn Bridge,” the opening poem of his epic. Here the altar of heaven and the music of angels are conjoined:

O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
. . . we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year . . .

O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

TheBridge

#8/16: New York

May 7, 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.

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New York was an obvious theme that John Wood, 21st Editions Editor and co-founder, gravitated toward. Our previous collaborations with Sheila Metzner in The Journal of Contemporary Photography, Volumes II and V, helped us to understand the life-long and very close connection that Sheila had with Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge, and New York, not unlike Walt Whitman and Hart Crane, poets of the two greatest epic poems on America ever composed. It was with Sheila’s great enthusiasm and excitement that she accepted John’s  proposal to be paired with both in New York (2000) and The Bridge (2007). New York was the very first Platinum Series title for 21st Editions and became even more significant a year later, since many of the images were taken from the top of the World Trade Center. After 9/11 and out of respect, we chose not to show the book publicly for quite some time. Now a very rare and hard to find title, it set the stage for New York as a reoccurring theme for the press.
 
John Wood calls MacLean Gander’s The New City (2008) the greatest epic poem on America since those by Whitman and Crane. In his introduction, John writes that “Hayman’s images and Gander’s words are a perfect pairing, not that the photographs illustrate the poems or that the poems describe the pictures. In fact, neither of these artists knew each other prior to this book, but they both create a sensuous, beautiful, yet realistic and contemporary meditation on New York and on the larger American experience that New York suggests…”

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.

 
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Greg Gorman first approached us in 2000 at Photo LA when we first were showing a prototype of New York. In 2003 Greg worked with us on creating a set of large gum-over-platinum prints of two of his iconic images, Rex and Gregory and Tony. It wasn’t until 2007 that the timing seemed to be just right for a Platinum Series book/print set, at which point John Wood saw the perfect match with The Odes of Pindar. Greg’s persistence and enthusiasm led us to this book and for that we are eternally grateful. Mac Holbert of Nash Editions was part of the proofing process with Greg for the 11 platinum prints that would be included. After Mac saw Greg’s book and loved it, he suggested to Graham Nash that we work together, which then led to Love, Graham Nash (4 years in the making). 
 

from John Wood’s introduction in “The New City” with poems by Maclean Gander

November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is a cliché to think that the only way an artist can be original is by repudiating and turning his back upon the past. The past is often less of a burden than the present. Quite often the present carries far more fearsome baggage with it than any past, for if an artist does not accept the received conventions and strictures of his own time, he may well be completely ignored. It is a brave artist who chooses not to paint, photograph, or write like his contemporaries. Every period has its received aesthetic. What chance for recognition would a hyper-realist, for example, have had in New York in the 1950’s during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism? And how easy is it today for an artist to get attention if the work is not in some way “edgy,” a word used to suggest that some unpleasant feature of it is a commendable act of artistic bravery?

In The Culture of Hope philosopher and art critic Frederick Turner wrote, “Sometimes the present creates the future by breaking the shackles of the past; but sometimes the past creates the future by breaking the shackles of the present.”  That is exactly what Jefferson Hayman does in his art—he allows the past to break through the rules and restrictions of the present….

Jefferson Hayman

Success Comes in Many Ways

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just back from Photo LA. On considering and reflecting on our success, a few thoughts on what it means to me:

…the ability for me to manifest my passion, as well as the passion of others through the making of 21st Editions/Legacy Editions books and show them in a great city like Los Angeles. « Read the rest of this entry »

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