July 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Our first monograph New York, with poems by Walt Whitman. We followed this classic with another, William Blake’s Songs of Experience & Songs of Innocence. And later on the interest in Blake continued with The Prophecies of William Blake, wonderfully paired with Mitch Dobrowner’s storms.
BY WALT WHITMAN
WHAT hurrying human tides, or day or night!
What passions, winnings, losses, ardors, swim thy waters!
What whirls of evil, bliss and sorrow, stem thee!
What curious questioning glances-glints of love!
Leer, envy, scorn, contempt, hope, aspiration!
Thou portal-thou arena-thou of the myriad long-drawn lines and groups!
(Could but thy flagstones, curbs, faÇades, tell their inimitable tales;
Thy windows rich, and huge hotels-thy side-walks wide;)
Thou of the endless sliding, mincing, shuffling feet!
Thou, like the parti-colored world itself-like infinite, teeming, mocking life!
Thou visor’d, vast, unspeakable show and lesson!
From the Introduction for
Songs of Innocence and Experience
BY JOHN WOOD
The Songs of Innocence and of Experience are the most well-known works of William Blake, the greatest mystical writer in the English language. They were his only poems that had even a limited popularity in his lifetime because they were far more accessible than his “prophetic books,” several of which are epic, both in length and in the complexities of his unusual narratives. The majority of the individual Songs are, indeed, quite accessible. Many of them, especially in Innocence, are straightforward, simple even; however, Blake’s notions of innocence and experience are anything but simple…
There was certainly no other artist in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries like William Blake, and there has been no other artist in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries like Joel-Peter Witkin, whose prophetic claims are similar to Blake’s. “Christ is my life,” he has written. “I photograph the living and the dead. My work is a prayer. Photographing makes me the possessor of sanctified and secret wisdom. And for that, I will be judged, not by man-but by God.” Both Blake and Witkin are unique to their own times, yet there is a similarity within their visions because sacred knowledge such as theirs can only come from an intimate dialogue with the boundless, non-corporeal part of the soul.
The Little Boy Lost
BY WILLIAM BLAKE
Father, father, where are you going
O do not walk so fast.
Speak, father, speak to your little boy
Or else I shall be lost,
The night was dark no father was there
The child was wet with dew.
The mire was deep, & the child did weep
And away the vapour flew.
The Little Boy Found
The little boy lost in the lonely fen,
Led by the wand’ring light,
Began to cry, but God ever nigh,
Appeared like his father in white.
He kissed the child & by the hand led
And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale, thro’ the lonely dale
Her little boy weeping sought.
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
BY WILLIAM BLAKE
Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.
Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow,
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.
Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river and a spring
On every cliff and tomb:
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.
Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.
Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility,
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.
Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.
June 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Following our work with many well know artists, we thought it important to turn our focus to three new, very promising, and up-and-coming (at that time) California based artists, Mitch Dobrowner, Charles Grogg, and Ben Nixon.
While all of our titles are challenges unto themselves because the 21st Editions mandate is to start from scratch on all of our designs and never to repeat ourselves, Mitch Dobrowner’s The Prophecies of William Blake was a real test for us. Accommodating 11×17 inch platinum prints, the largest we have ever produced for a book, was just one of the many challenges. These are the only platinum prints Mitch has ever had printed of his work and he has stated they are likely the only ones he may ever make. The binding design, too, was something of a bear. It was created with handmade paper that was watercolored and molded and had an inset of palladium. The box was designed to open flat giving full access to the book and the three loose prints. The resulting 16×20 inch book was breathtaking. “Ambitious” might just be an understatement when it comes to this particular accomplishment.
The book was designed to mirror the storm and landscape photographs that Mitch is now so well known for. He travels with storm chasers to capture the very real and ever-changing landscapes. He was featured in National Geographic, won the Sony World Photographer Award, and Google even created a short film on his work.
Charles Grogg was selected by John Wood as the winner of the 2010 Clarence John Laughlin award. Charles had come to our attention before but it wasn’t until we actually saw his platinum prints on Japanese Gampi Torinoko paper that we saw how wonderful a match his work was with the 21st Editions aesthetic. Charles agreed to both print and construct the platinum prints for The Art of Charles Grogg, something that only he could do, given the solar exposure, many hand-sewn elements and “Reconstructions.” Additionally, John Wood (the only two-time Iowa Poetry Prize winner) agreed to write a poem for each and every image, so we knew this was going to be something special. His brilliant poetry was also read and recorded on an accompanying compact disc. Listening to John read, you will find him powerfully lyrical and convincing, drawing you into a world unknown and palpable. We knew this would be unlike anything we had ever done or will ever do again. And, it was. Each 20×22 inch book has a handmade lacquered eggshell cover panel. The Art of Charles Grogg, which particularly takes on the feel of interactive performance art, was in totality, the art of John Wood, Amy Borezo, Crissy Welzen, Pam Clark, Michael and Winifred Bixler, and Charles Grogg.
To the Wheatlight of June brings together the brilliant minds of Harvard poet Steven Brown and 21st Editions Editor John Wood (introduction) with the work of Ben Nixon who printed silver-gelatin prints of another world. Ben, like Charles Grogg, uses difficult traditional processes. His silver gelatin prints are hand printed from wet-collodian negatives and then toned with tea. Paste papers, another even older tradition, are patterned or textured papers, often made by applying paint with brushes or handmade tools, and are an integral part of 21st Editions productions. In some cases the papers themselves are hand-made. The emphasis on the paste papers in this case extends from the book itself to the ingeniously designed portfolio case that doubles as a display stand. This book and portfolio set broke new ground for us both in presentation and execution.
June 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Sunday, November 7, 2011:
John Wood and I left about 8AM for Amtrack in Providence to greet Yamamoto Masao, his wife Reiko, and his manager Seiko Uyeda. We corresponded with Masao and Reiko with the generous help of Seiko as translator, but this was our first meeting. The three appear at once together and seem to recognize something about us. They are instantly delightful.
On the way back to Cape Cod, Seiko shared a story that Masao told on the train coming in from New York to Providence. For some reason, he had had an encounter with a Master of sorts, a man whose Japanese sword–a Stradivarius of swords, a work of art–meant a great deal to him. He insisted that Masao take it home with him to photograph. Masao was nervous when he told him just to send it back via UPS! Upon his next visit with the Master, and to Masao’s surprise, he told him that the sword’s energy revealed that Masao had a difficult time photographing it. He was correct.
As soon as we crossed the Bourne Bridge, John suggested that we offer the front seat to Masao so he could photograph while we traveled toward Brewster on the old historic Route 6A. He reluctantly agreed and after a short time said that the road was “too beautiful to photograph” and that what he liked revealing in his work were imperfections.
I wanted to show everyone one of my favorite spots where a small bridge crossed an inlet with a strong tide. As I approached Keveney Lane to the left, I saw “Bridge Closed,” but I turned anyway. It was a cold day and on our way down this short road we passed a hooded young man on the left, walking slow and determined. He turned and nodded as if he expected us. Without having mentioned it to Masao, I was surprised that he later mentioned it to me.
I stopped the car in front of the gravel pile blocking the street and before the bridge, then opened my door to find a decomposing tree trunk hollowed on one side. In the center was a lovely ceramic vase with a partly broken rim at the narrowed top. I thought, imperfection! I looked at Masao and he jumped from the car with his camera like he was greeting an old friend. From the driveway on the other side of the car appeared a man who greeted us. He said that he had just placed the vase in the tree trunk, but at the time wasn’t sure why. Then, without missing a beat, the young hooded man we had passed on the way appeared on foot carrying a Japanese sword and explained he was studying Japanese martial arts and that he had been taking that precise walk for two years.
In those brief and lyrical moments, Masao, Reiko, Seiko, John, and I together were witnesses in unison to our own completely uninterrupted attention. Was this a gift brought by a Master? He would likely not have had intended it, because he was just being Yamamoto Masao.
The three Prism book and print sets (Yamamoto Masao, Mitch Dobrowner and Jack Spencer) are a hybrid between the finest offset printing by the Studley Press and a Pam Clark and Travis Becker (Twinrocker Paper) designed handmade paper for the cover. With three different sets of prints, 21st Editions has presented a spectrum of printing processes from offset to platinum (Yamamoto) to silver-contact (Dobrowner) to hand-varnished pigment ink (Spencer). These traditional style monographs are presented with the intention of showing a broad range of the artist’s work with from 65-110 images. Scholarly essays by John Wood (Yamamoto), Dafydd Wood (Dobrowner), and Steven Brown (Spencer) reinforce the importance of the marriage of the word and the image as a primary 21st Editions objective.
July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
More of Mitch’s work can be seen in his Prism Series book published by 21st Editions. (http://www.21stphotography.com)
February 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
“Dobrowner’s Trees-Clouds gives an excellent summative vision of his photography, even though it possesses none of his beautiful geological formations. We find the extreme ratios—the horizon line is squeezed against the bottom of the photograph dwarfing the land beneath a vast expanse of sky and cloud. A series of telephone poles almost unnoticeably inch across the land. However the beauty of all of this is nothing without the two minute trees in the left-hand corner. These trees are the making of the entire photograph, providing some golden ratio, some graspable even personable concreteness, however insignificant the trees may be, dwarfed by the immensity of sky, the unending sliver of land that stretches everywhere beneath inhospitable storms.”
February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
“The fictive vision behind these sublime landscapes pivots around two seemingly contradictory artistic impulses: the classical and the modernist, particularly the technique of defamiliarization. While both of these styles seem mutually exclusive, there has been in fact a great deal of 20th century classicizing art. Though it often only united a Modernist style with a Classical subject, it was the most dominant style of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Furthermore, it might seem odd to label photographs of plateaus, storms, or mountain ranges “classical” or “modern,” but Dobrowner’s work quite clearly shrugs off the Romanticism of most landscape or nature artists and hones a neoclassical formalism that in turn transforms his subjects into something alien.”
December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
In recent news, Google has produced a short video on Mitch Dobrowner:
Our Prism Series books Mitch Dobrowner is currently shipping. Order now to receive your book(s) for the holidays (limited quantities may be available).
As always we look forward to hearing from you, and have a happy holiday season!
October 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
21st Editions introduces two magnificent new Platinum Series books and one new Prism Series book with photographs by Mitch Dobrowner and Charles Grogg at Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara on Saturday, October 8 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
June 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Prism Series Book Number Two: Mitch Dobrowner
is in production and should be ready to ship in September, 2011!
Pam Clark recently visited Twinrocker in Indiana where the handmade paper used to wrap Mitch Dobrowner is currently being created.
May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
I would argue that Mitch Dobrowner is the greatest master landscape photography has yet known. His art both subverts the previous masters and enlarges the potential for meaning within the landscape photograph. With few exceptions the work of those earlier masters is characterized either by its beauty or a sense of spirituality. But Mitch Dobrowner’s principal concern is not the capturing of those qualities but the capturing of a Vision, a unique vision no one before has seen. In spite of the craft of his predecessors, none of them in their time could have made a Dobrowner photograph. « Read the rest of this entry »