About the Contributors #9

September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

For a few titles the photographers were also the contributing poets or writers.

Sally Mann, authored entirely by Sally Mann, includes her provocative introduction, early poetry and photographs which were made prior to the many published books that follow her career. A livre d’artiste first from the 21st Editions Collection.

Measurement has become useless
there in the peak, lush summer.

The winds call out the distances
and the fast clouds sound out the heights,
dive for the great, rolling dark
of the hills, weigh with the balance
and pull of the water, condense
on the wineglass perfection of elm.

Mann9

A rare look into a piece of Louisiana history. Metoyer’s poetry and photographs are autobiographical and show an unusual blend of talents by one artist. Metoyer not only conceptualized the images that reflect his history and creative mind, he too wrote the poetry and printed four different processes for this book: platinum, palladium, cyanotype, and kalitype. Celebrated in 2008 as our 10th anniversary title for 21st Editions, it was acquired and resides in 13 collecting institutions in the U.S

MADAME ZUZUSKA
Augured by the planets’ gravitational whirl,
Madame Zuzuska spoke to him of omens.
She ciphered his numbers,
whispered he was born
on the cusp of a fateful day.
“Decline, my child. Anguish and decline.”
Then the blackened cloud of prophecy
loomed in the pupils of her apostle’s eyes
as Zuzuska warned of his life’s maddening gyre
and the destructive seduction
of a swelling lunar cycle.
Now, every stubbed toe,
every unanswered call,
every initial sliver
of the phosphorescent moon
transforms to premonitions
of grisly things to come.

Metoyer004

Jamie Baldridge’s unique talent marries a short story and fictional journal entries from a character whose artistry as an image maker is unlike his peers. Authored and printed by the artist, academics and historians focused on this for their collections as a piece of great inventive literature, new technology image making, and binding made from patina’d brass.

“Sometime around noon, for I still had not the capacity for counting the Gear Shifts to tell time, I found myself hopelessly lost in the candle lit warrens below the Arcadian Convent. After what felt like hours of switchbacks and dead ends, I began to panic and surrendering to my fears fell into the first open door I found, unintentionally interrupting the work of a lovely scribe occupied with quite the longest scroll I had ever seen. I vainly attempted to salvage what was left of my pride, and after dusting myself off politely asked where I might find the Mother Superior’s offices. The girl continued to work as if I were not there. Before I could make my inquiry again, this time perhaps in a more desperate timbre, a gentle, but firm hand grasped my shoulder and a voice somewhere near my navel said, “We really shouldn’t disturb her.”

Chronicler-#63

Each of the 16 artist printed silver prints in Crowd (comes as a two-book set with Shadows of the Dream) is accompanied by a poem by Latvian artist Misha Gordin. Each book in the set is bound with multiple leather in-lays that echo back to early European livre d’artiste design.

In a unity of dream and reality
From the darkest corners of the heart
Like a shadow from the murky past
Emerges a call for a lonely prayer.

wood-posts

About the Contributors #3

July 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Highlights from Volumes 5 and 6 of The Journal of Contemporary Photography. Volumes 1, 2, 5, and 6 represent the complete anthology set which is available online here.

Bounding
BY PAUL ZIMMER

Macku circles himself
explodes his own head
blowing himself into
a dozen supplications

Macku grapples with Macku
tears his own face away
hurling himself against
his cornered shadow
medieval and naked
bounding for the Lord

Michal-Macku

Michal Macku from Volume 5

THE AURA OF RELIC:
Stephen Berkman and John Metoyer
BY PAUL LAROSA

The vanguard of photography is sometimes rooted in the past. A growing number of contemporary photographers have turned to early processes in recent years: calotype, tintype, cyanotype, daguerreotype. What these “types” represent, besides formal challenge and an opportunity to extend one’s technical mastery, is essentially a lure of experimentation within tradition, as well as a sense of homage and respect for the artform. And one suspects even more than the technical is at play: perhaps a longing for antiquated forms that exist outside the digital domain, and for a spirit of individualism – perhaps even a kind of sentimentalism, a nostalgic yearning for a simplicity of approach harmonized with a simplicity of form: the exquisite floral study, the painterly still life, the academic nude. For some the results are wan and predictable, too mimetic and derivative, not elevating the possibilities of the form; they succeed only as authentic flatteries, flirtations with the archaic. Those who overcome imitation seem to follow Rimbaud’s edict that “one must be absolutely modern,” by working within the form as well as with it, returning not only to recreate but to re-embark. Within that group we find the distinctive work of Stephen Berkman and John Metoyer…

Stephen Berkman and John Metoyer from Volume 5

Stephen Berkman and John Metoyer from Volume 5

Carol Munder’s Voiceless Tales
BY ANNIE DILLARD

“I look for the figure,” Carol Munder says.
“I look for images to represent mankind.”

Here they most existentially are: two assemblages of small Etruscan bronzes, one other not Etruscan, and two big, damaged male and female Greeks.

THE GREEKS
The feet of Dionysos have come a long way. They are paralyzed nubs of the human journey. What a pity the journey counts so much more than the humans. The photograph is a tour de force of middle tones.

The bashed woman whose fingers curve is what you might call a knockout, with or without her story. The life-sized hollow bronze sculpture depicts Julia Manaeo, an upper-class woman of Alexandria. The sculptor is unknown. After Julia Manaeo died, a ruler, for reasons now lost, declared her “damned in death.” Someone obligingly smashed the sculpture’s face. Those elegant fingers could not fend off the blow. The sculpture’s beauty remains, and perhaps deepens, alongside her disfigurement. Neither rage nor damnation disrupts her calm.

Carol Munder_Portrait of Manaeo

Carol Munder from Volume 6

The Art of Don Hong-Oai
BY FANG JING PEI

Connoisseurship in Chinese art is as complex a subject as the understanding of Chinese art in and of itself, the most complex of all, in my estimation, being that of Chinese painting. To the Westerner much of Chinese art is defined by the limiting but unsubstantiated words… beautiful, watercolor, repetitious, old master, Ming, Song, etc. Not to fault the use of such terms and certainly not to fault the lack of understanding of Chinese art by Westerners, it is only within the past half century that Chinese art has been truly studied with attempts at understanding its meaning, style and, yes, its connoisseurship. There are those who would argue that this is not true and that Chinese art was collected and appreciated in the West since the eighteenth Century; however, one need only look at the appreciation of Chinese paintings during the past fifty years by the major museums to see the change in its appreciation, both monetarily and substantive quality not to mention the highly influential auction market. But even today, a master painting by a Western artist of, for example, the sixteenth Century would command a much higher value than a master Ming artist of the same period. There are those who would counter that Chinese paintings are unappreciated in the West because of “forgeries,” copies and the fact that the now famous deceased artist Zhang Daqian deliberately reproduced paintings signing the signatures of the old masters only to foist them upon Western museums and collectors thereby, in part, destroying the market for such works in the West. While there is some truth to all these statements, an underlying truth also is present in the fact that Chinese paintings remain misunderstood by many in the West. The similarities between Western and Eastern art have roots which are distinctly different. These are but a few . . .

Don-Hong-Oai from Volume 6

Don-Hong-Oai from Volume 6

Contributors in Volume 5:
Ann Beattie, John Bennette, Neil Connelly, Morri Creech, Paul Larosa, Susan Ludvigson, Gerard Melanga, Raul Peschiera, Lance Speer, John Wood, and Paul Zimmer.

Contributors in Volume 6:
Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Pierre Borhan, Robert Olen Butler, Morri Creech, Annie Dillard, Fang Jing Pei, Lee Fontanella, Brad Goins, Paul Larosa, Susan Ludvigson, John Metoyer, Ann Patchett, Lance Speer, John Stauffer, Daniel Westover, Edmund White, Dafydd Wood,  and John Wood.

Volumes 5 and 6 Trade Editions

Volumes 5 and 6 Trade Editions

#9/16: Alternative Processes

May 13, 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.
As John Wood admits “The leaps in computer technology since 1989 have been astounding, and their impact on photography has been the most revolutionary event in photography’s history.” John’s insistence on publishing Baldridge with pigment ink prints had to do with the fact that his art could not have been created any other way. So, in 2008, with Jamie Baldridge as our guide, 21st Editions published the first of two books that incorporated this new technology in, The Everywhere Chronicles.
 

Like other poets we have published, John Metoyer studied at McNeese State University under John Wood. His diverse range of interests and his ability to synthesize them into a work of art, whether a poem, photograph, painting, or sculpture, exemplifies this rare and unique find. John Metoyer is unique, not only because he is a very fine and accomplished conceptual artist and printer of many old processes, but he is equally as fine a poet. It is because of our great respect for this unique artist and poet that Blood Migration (2008) was selected to celebrate 21st Editions’ 10th Anniversary title.
An ancestor of John Metoyer’s migrated from France, married a slave, and through grants and purchases, she and her children amassed some 13,000 to 15,000 acres of land and became one of the richest African American families in the country. Yucca Plantation was the first and possibly the only plantation owned by a freed African. It is now a National Historic Landmark, noted not only for its classic plantation home but also for the African house, which is the oldest building in the U.S. of African design. Blood Migration, with a collection of autobiographical poems, is unlike any other book we will be able to create again in large part because of the nineteen 15×22-inch photographs that are hand coated and printed in platinum, palladium, kallitype, and cyanotype.

John Metoyer – Blood Migration

April 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

As John Wood writes in his introduction: John Metoyer is one of the great photographic geniuses of our time and one of those exceptionally rare artists of the last few centuries who can genuinely be considered a master of more than one art–in his case, photography and poetry….This book celebrates his work in both arts, two arts which for Metoyer are completely separate and have nothing in common but their creator. His photographs do not illustrate his poems nor is his poetry a commentary on his photography. They are merely separate manifestations of a similar genius.

Metoyer was born in Chicago in 1966 and grew up there; however, his roots were in Creole Louisiana. Since the mid-eighteenth century his family lived in and around Yucca (later renamed Melrose), their ancestral plantation, and many of his relatives still live there. Of all the plantations of Louisiana, Melrose is perhaps the most fascinating and most atypical because it was not the product of a white patriarchy but of a Black matriarchy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with John Metoyer at 21st Editions.