Humanity - In Production

While driven by a passion for The Art of the Book, each of our titles in the soon to be complete 21st Editions Master Collection takes diligence, patience and intense focus. Humanity, our 57th collaboration involving 10 artisans, is no exception.

Here is what is involved in the making of Humanity: Conceptualizing and developing the content; designing the book; contact printing the platinum prints one at a time; selecting the paper; making or preparing the text paper to size; making and printing the letterpress plates; folding each signature to prepare for sewing; silk-screening the fabric for the box covers; cutting the separate pieces that will make up the box; constructing and lining the box; designing, printing, trimming and attaching the paste and flyleaf papers for each book; preparing the cloth for adhering to the cover boards and stamping them; trimming and tipping in nine platinum prints; making the folder for the three free-standing, signed platinum prints; attaching the finished cover boards to the sewn book block; marrying all fifty sets; and finally numbering each book before shipping to institutions and collectors at the end of the year.

Please call Pam or Steven (508 398 3000) regarding copies of Humanity that may still be available.

Steve McCurry's work presented in platinum for the first time

Although McCurry is best known as a color photographer, we have printed these images in platinum. There are two reasons for doing this. The first is to highlight the degree to which McCurry's work needs to be appreciated not only in the tradition of documentary, but also as a fine-art photographer. Critics typically refer to him as a documentarian. And yet the subtle tonal ranges and luminescence of these prints, coupled with the artistry of their compositions, reveals that they are at least as much "pictorial" as documentary. They explode the lingering and largely false dichotomy between fine-art and documentary photography.

...these platinum prints showcase new forms of McCurry's humanity, as compelling as their color counterparts. One might say that in different ways, each format highlights connections: between photographer, subject, and viewer; and/or among the people in the images. In both formats, it is as though McCurry penetrates beneath the surface into the heart and spirit, giving us a unique intimacy with his subjects. In doing so, he enlists his subjects as evangelists as few artists have done, bringing people together from around the world.

- from the introduction by John Stauffer

About the Contributors #15

Over the years John Wood created many unexpected pairings. The resulting titles were interesting new interpretations of contemporary and classic text and photography.

Examples include Flor Garduno illustrating The Sonnets of Shakespeare, Brigitte Carnochan's flowers and nudes with Raul Peschiera's The Shining Path, and Imogen Cunningham paired with William Morris.

John Wood, from The Sonnets of Shakespeare

...The reason the sonnets were immediately seen as applicable to a women is because of their universality. They are about Love and its power. An artist's intention is historically interesting to note, but it is by no means the sole meaning of a work of art. Art always speaks to us in ways its creators did not envision; that is its power; that is why it lasts. And it is only in the context of the narrative of the entire sequence that particular poems, with few exceptions, can be identified as having been written for the young man. No one reads sonnet sequences for their plots, since lyric poems do not really tell stories, and few people read them from start to finish. One picks and chooses and reads randomly for pleasure. And so these universal poems are finally monuments to the universal power of love and the finest such monuments in the English language.

I spoke of Shakespeare as a great psychologist, but so is Flor Garduno. She understands woman more universally, it appears to me, than any other visual artist. She sees woman in all her dimensions-as Siren, Eve, Medusa,Venus-sees her in the sweep of all her varied powers and attractions. Her work is finally a deeply moving tribute to woman, to all women, because, as I suggested earlier, her Venus is Everywoman.

Shakespeare's genius, like Garduno's, comes from his deep understanding of human nature. In play after play we see ourselves strutting about in all the cruelty, jealousy, meanness, bad temper, good humor, compassion, honor, and love we are capable of. He shows us our burden and our glory...

 

John Wood, from The Shining Path  

...That is Carnochan's shining path-beauty in perfect measure. But that is not The Shining Path of Raul Peschiera's brilliant poem that accompanies these photographs. The shining path he refers to is Sendero Luminoso, a violent Peruvian revolutionary movement of the 1980's that disrupted the country's economy and caused perhaps as many as 25,000 deaths before its leader was captured in 1992.

Carnochan photographs and Peschiera poetry might then seem not merely a strange marriage but an impossible yoking of two dissimilar bodies of work having nothing in common. But a perusal of Peschiera's poem makes it clear that his shining path and Carnochan's are the same. He writes of the same intoxication with sensuality and beauty that Carnochan photographs. The central figure of his poem is ostensibly Abimael Guzmán, the leader of Sendero Luminoso, and the poem narrates several of Sendero Luminoso's most violent acts, but The Shining Path is actually a love poem with both Guzmán's wife, Augusta, and Peru at its center. In the eye of its turbulent violence slumber luxury, calm, and pleasure. And Peschiera invites us into the dream.


 

John Wood, from Symbolist
 
What influence, one might wonder, could William Morris, poet, Utopian Socialist, revolutionary, English Arts and Crafts movement leader, textile and furniture designer, Pre-Raphaelite, a founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and creator of the Kelmscott Press, have had on the work of the great Modernist American photographer Imogen Cunningham? Hardly any, one might assume. Yet she claimed him as an influence, and his influence was intellectual, social, and visual.

Cunningham, a radical herself, grew up in a radical and progressive household, and so her sensibilities were ripe for the influence of William Morris. Her father was "a humanist" she said. "There's no question about that. And his...life was much motivated by theosophical beliefs. He never drove it into anybody, or tried to tell people what they ought to think,...."
     

    The Sonnets of Shakespeare

  The Sonnets of Shakespeare

   from  The Sonnets of Shakespeare

  from The Sonnets of Shakespeare

    The Shining Path

  The Shining Path

   from  The Shining Path

  from The Shining Path

    Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist

  Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist

About the Contributors #14

JOHN WOOD

Not only was John Wood our editor for more than 15 years, he is a brilliant and established poet

from Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg

Though I am a photographic historian and critic, I am primarily a poet; however, except for writing a few Japanese waka in homage to my friend Masao Yamamoto, I have never written poems inspired by the work of any of the photographers whose work I have written essays about. The photographs, though wonderful, never suggested subjects to me-until I encountered Charles Grogg's work. It would be improper of me to write about the poetic aspects of my own work, but I can say something about their content as it refers to Grogg's art.

The fence-mender of the poem "Fence" is, of course, Grogg, and fence-mending is a metaphor for his art making. The poem makes clear that it is his "chosen profession" but also makes clear that he has not chosen it but that it chose him and that his re-shaping, re-forming art is to my eye a profound expression and act of love...

FENCE
The fence mender's dilemma is
how to proceed. There's always
such hostility on either side.
Being in between contorted faces
is distracting, as is avoiding
the flying spittle, the occasional stone.
Rain coats and shields are useful,
especially when he becomes the target,
which is more often than not.
But who would give up a chosen profession?
And for what: becoming a snail driver,
a semaphore man, a town crier,
a berry buster? Certainly not for one
whose profession had chosen him.
There is no choice in spite of rocks and spit,
the cumbersome garb he must wear. And so
he continues buying the costliest needles,
gold-tipped, of course, and iron-strong thread
spun from the silk of golden orb weavers.
His hands dance along the sad shatters
with the confidence of a cosmetic surgeon
re-forming the destines of the unloved and ugly.
Such mending mastery as his is love's
most profound, best, and final act.

 

from The Symmetry of Endeavor

When we look at images as radiant as his wide Calla 3, his tall lean Calla on Black, his Sunflower Rising, which looks like the sun itself aflame, the Nile Lily Bud or his Melinthus in the Rain, as perfect a wet leaf as I have ever seen in any photograph, we see exactly how a master artist manipulates craft to the higher service of his art, how he makes craft the vehicle and servant of his art. His Luminescent Datura seduced me from the first moment I saw it. Besides being a beautiful flower datura, of course, is also a powerful drug, a sexual stimulant, and has been associated with women called witches since the Middle Ages. However, without thinking of any of those things, when I first saw this amazing image, I did not see the flower at all. I saw a lady with a slim neck in an Art Deco gown, her face cropped from the photograph, a curl from her head falling on her shoulder, her right arm bent at the elbow and resting on a piece of furniture, obviously by Ruhlmann, and her hand, though out of sight, holding either a martini or a cigarette. I saw Paris in the Twenties when I would have loved to live there. Such imaginative leaps are the leaps that art graciously allowsand which inspired the poem that follows, even thoughI am certain my lady or thoughts of Mistinguett, the great chanteuse of that time, or the famous club Le Boeuf sur le Toit was nowhere in Rondal Partridge's mind when he made this work. His thoughts were on capturing a flower. My thoughts were on sex. But great art always transcends the intentions of the artist. That is its blessing and occasionally the artist's curse.

LADY IN A FLORAL DRESS
A curl cascades, reclines upon her neck.
She stands against a lacquered cabinet.
One hidden hand holds her drink,
the other, a Turkish cigarette.

This Deco dame is surely French
and probably knows Mistinguett.
Would she accept a little pinch,
then smile and say with no regret,

"Was it Le Boeuf sur le Toit where we met?
We danced. You held me in a clench
and called me mon petit pet.
Men like you I never forget."

He wondered what could be her game.
His, of course, was exactly the same.

 

from The Imponderable Heart of Meaning
 
As we approached our sixteenth year of publication, Steve had the happy idea of our doing a book together-his photographs and poems of mine inspired by them. Though I have been writing poetry for over half a century, I cannot say I know where poetry comes from, but I know it is very hard to make a poem from a work of visual art. I said I'd try and with a great box of Steve's prints before me, I was surprised to see how words quickly started to appear and shape themselves into lines and eventually poems. In every case it was his visual magic that inspired the poem. So these poems are a real monument to our years of friendship and work together.

I had hoped that this volume would be entitled In the Face of the Electron because that is the title of a poem I wrote for one of Steve's most amazing and brilliant photographs-an abstract image of the most intense power, an image that allowed me to look into the face or heart of the electron... I'd hoped we would use the photograph because I love it but also because of the poem it led me to. My own work, though sometimes comic, tends to be dark, somber, occasionally even savage. But what Steve's photograph allowed me see was something rich and affirmative...

IN THE FACE OF THE ELECTRON
In the unstopping spin and swirl
of matter's uncertainty, it can
sometimes be caught unaware
and resting for a short fraction
just as the more common birds
are often caught, and so
the Nature artist must be quick
and snap it before it flies off
as the fastest light excels,
to snap it before the electron's
huge and fluffy wings again
begin to beat, driving matter
mad in its motions, and before
its beak begins again to peck
at the atomic shell, and before
its maddening dance must begin
again to hold everything together,
secured in the electron's hold,
its wide-wings' generous, spinning embrace,
succoring with no knowledge of its doing so
the imponderable heart of meaning.

 
    Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg

  Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg

 
    The Symmetry of Endeavor

  The Symmetry of Endeavor

 
    The Imponderable Heart of Meaning

  The Imponderable Heart of Meaning

About the Contributors #13

Michael Murray, an unknown, pioneering New York-based artist (originally from the home of Kodak, Rochester, NY) was selling his work at a kiosk on Poet's Walk in Central Park when he was discovered by Gideon Bosker who then presented his work to 21st Editions.

In Worlds Apart, Gideon introduces us to Michael Murray's presentation of the world, John Stauffer tells us more on the myriad places where he created his images, and John Wood completes the story with an eloquent poem.


GIDEON BOSKER from Worlds Apart
 
Long before I knew Michael Murray had photography wriggling in the helices of his DNA, or that as a young boy he spent family day each year feasting on Nathan's Famous hot dogs with his father in the Eastman Kodak commissary on Lake Road in Rochester, New York; or that the dreamlike, elliptical beauty of such films as Thin Red Line by Terrance Mallick "changed everything" for him; or that the murky interface of quantum physics and spirituality is consistently in his mind's eye as he conceives, pre-visualizes, and manufactures his photographs-long before I knew these and all the other things about Mr. Murray and his iconoclastic life, I knew the first time I glimpsed the photographs he was hawking from bins on Poet's Walk on a frosty, skin blistering November day in Central Park, that the images this photographer had spent years perfecting were digging deep into unchartered territory...

It took only a few minutes of scouring through his images that day in the winter of 2012 for me to conclude that, in his lens, Mr. Murray had the whole wide world...

Under the influence of new technologies, from the first pinhole camera to the razzle-dazzle of digital photography, the camera has always been poised to enrich our engagement with the world. It is on this trajectory, that Murray's ingenuity stakes its claim. His photographs are testimonials to the power of photography for introducing a new perceptual framework: one based on the melding of technology with the camera arts for the purpose of remaking the world so we might engage it; and so it might stir us and so we might dream about it in new ways.

Aside from the sheer density of information these photographs extract from a single coordinate of longitude and latitude, there is a seething undercurrent of spirituality in Murray's work: a dimension-call it a portal to another world-that provokes what can only be described as reverential impulses. Perhaps, this is not surprising, since geometric configurations linked to centralized space have deep religious roots and have been used for evocative effect for centuries...
 


JOHN STAUFFERfrom Worlds Apart

Cathedral Gorge, a state park in Nevada, is in Lincoln County, about 160 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Standing a little less than mile above sea level, it looks primordial.

The gorge was created millions of years ago, when volcanoes erupted and deposited massive walls of ash. During the Pliocene epoch (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago), a freshwater lake filled the gorge. By the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 12,000 years ago) the lake had drained. The continual erosion of the soft volcanic ash made plant life difficult but created beautiful patterns on the walls of the gorge that resemble tessellations. Since it was not good farmland, scientists in the mid-nineteenth century began referring to it as "badlands." Yet for hundreds of years it was also the home of the Fremont, Anasazi, and Southern Paiute tribes. Bison bones were recently discovered in the gorge that are between 400 and 850 years old.

In Murray's dramatic rendering, turbulent chiaroscuro clouds surround the desolate gorge. There is no sign of plant or animal life. And yet the rocks themselves seem alive. The tessellating cliffs seem like gates of an elaborate kingdom, breathing hymns of the gorge's history.

Wallace Stevens provides a poetic echo of Murray's gorge in "Forms of the Rock in a Night-Hymn":

The rock is the gray particular of man's life,
The stone from which he rises, up-and-ho,
The step to the bleaker depths of his descents . . .
The rock is the stern particular of the air,
The mirror of the planets, one by one,
But through man's eye, their silent rhapsodist.

Through Murray's eye, we see Cathedral Gorge as a silent rhapsodist.

 


JOHN WOODBruegelesque:
A Seasonal Meditation on the Grace of Michael Murray's Eye

 
Small black shafts rise
in the surrounding snows
and lean back into the past,
into forgotten dancing days
hard on the ice of ponds
swirling with skaters
in the cold afternoons
of painted near memories.
Smoke rises from the red house
beside the swirling shallows
of the river. There is no sound
but the quiet of silent cold.
Winter will still last longer.
Nothing is yet finished
until the bounding crocus agree
to arise into his eyes.

    Worlds Apart

  Worlds Apart

    Central Park Elms , from  Worlds Apart

  Central Park Elms, from Worlds Apart

    Worlds Apart,  cover detail

  Worlds Apart, cover detail

    Cathedral Gorge , from  Worlds Apart

  Cathedral Gorge, from Worlds Apart

    Worlds Apart

  Worlds Apart

    The Flatiron , from  Worlds Apart

  The Flatiron, from Worlds Apart

About the Contributors #12

The beginning of this year brought a new Editor to 21st Editions, John Stauffer. John's credentials are numerous (a tenured Harvard Professor with 15 books, more than 100 articles, scholarly awards, and much more). He continues to offer a rich historical context for the photographs and artists represented in many 21st Editions titles.

JOHN STAUFFER ON    
Todd Webb: New York, 1946
 
When Todd Webb arrived in New York in November 1945, Henry Luce's famous prophecy, uttered five years earlier, that the U.S. would become the "leader of the world" and launch an "American century," seemed to have been realized. The war had made America rich and powerful while decimating much of Europe, and artists flocked to its cultural center. There was now talk that New York might replace Paris as the world center of art and culture, as Serge Guilbaut has noted. But "it was important to find the right image for America and its culture," which would "mirror the experience of [the] age." This image would need to resonate with the formal and ideological sensibilities of New York and the U.S., as well as the rest of the art world. In painting, abstract expressionism would become that image. Jackson Pollock's seemingly random drips of paint evoked an existential angst that mirrored the "experience of the age."

In photography, the idea and image of the city became the symbol of the new postwar world. In 1946 alone, Webb shared the streets of New York with Helen Levitt (with whom he sometimes photographed), Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Minor White, Gordon Parks, Aaron Siskind, Paul Strand, Andreas Feininger, Weegee, Dan Weiner, and Sid Grossman.6 Unlike his peers, Webb was comparatively new to photography; he called his arrival in New York "the beginning of my career in photography." Several people, including Paul Strand and Roy Stryker (for whom he eventually worked), advised him to go back home to a "safe" job inDetroit. "How lucky I was to refuse [their] advice."

How lucky we are as well. Alfred Stieglitz, Webb's mentor and friend, was right: there is in Webb's New York photographs a tenderness without sentimentality that set him apart from his peers. As Stieglitz knew, photographers tended to portray New York as hardboiled or ironic or lyrical or messy, but never with tenderness. The word was not then associated with the city. (It rarely is today.)

There is also in Webb's New York a sense of regenerative exuberance that stemmed partly from the war. Following the allied victory in Europe and the liberation of millions of prisoners from Hitler's fallen Reich, people throughout the West began to hope for a unified world ("One World") devoted to peace, freedom, and harmony among nations. But the exuberance did not last. Visions of "One World" vanished after Hiroshima, the rise of Soviet aggression, and the specter of a third world war. As a result, 1945 ended on "a mixed note of gratitude and anxiety," as Ian Buruma notes. People had "fewer illusions about a glorious future and growing fears about an increasingly divided world." They wanted above all to get on with their own lives. "During a worldwide war, everywhere matters. In times of peace, people look to home." Todd Webb's New York is a symbol of America's home in the wake of war, in which people have retained their faith "One World."
 


JOHN STAUFFER ON WOMEN IN PHOTOGRAPHY
Imogen Cunningham: Family

Cunningham knew that women faced formidable social and economic barriers...but she also recognized that as a profession, photography was comparatively open to women. Not only was there the force of Käsebier, but Jessie Tarbox Beals and Frances Benjamin Johnston were prominent photojournalists, and the San Francisco Pictorialist Annie Brigman had recently been published in Camera Work. Indeed women had played important roles in photography from its inception. Constance Fox Talbot, Henry's wife, was one of the very first photographers; Nancy Hawes hand-tinted Southworth and Hawes' daguerreotypes; and Julia Margaret Cameron was among the nineteenth-century's most accomplished portraitists. Before the Civil War there were thirty-nine professional women photographers on the west-coast alone. "Photography is the democratic art," Cunningham said in her manifesto, because it depicted "the life of the masses" and accepted women.

Photography's comparative openness toward women was due to several factors. There were few barriers to entry; start-up expenses were modest; and the profession required no formal apprenticeship in which masters could exclude women. Then too, photography did not suffer from the myths of genre superiority that plagued painting and sculpture, whose cultural gatekeepers excluded women from exhibitions and museums.

The main argument of Cunningham's manifesto, however, was that "women as well as men need to be granted the right of self-expression through work." Women, like men, wanted fulfilling, creative professions without having to sacrifice marriage and "the care and rearing of children." Cunningham no doubt imagined herself eventually marrying and having children while remaining devoted to her profession. Photography was in this sense an ideal profession, and it could have "an enlarging effect upon the home." Why? Because "being devoted to one's work is much like hearing a great Wagnerian opera with one's soul open. The energy and vitality of life seems for a time sapped but comes back in renewed quantity and quality."

...It was as if Cunningham's manifesto/artist statement prepared her for what was soon to come. Two years after publishing it, she married Roi Partridge, an accomplished etcher. Ten months later, in December 1915, she gave birth to their first child, Gryffyd, followed by twins, Rondal and Padraic, in 1917. Partridge did not share her New Woman values; he taught art at Mills College while also creating his own art, and rarely contributed to childcare. And so for the next decade and more, Cunningham heroically juggled career and motherhood by focusing on subjects at home: her children and the plants in her garden. In this she became a model for subsequent generations of female photographers (one thinks especially of Sally Mann's Immediate Family).

 

JOHN STAUFFER ON SALLY MANN'S
Southern Landscape
 
Mann's photographs, especially her landscapes, are also intimately connected to her Southern identity. In her Massey lectures she emphasized that we cannot understand her art without acknowledging her Southerness. "Maybe nothing so engages the Southern heart as a good piece of family land," she said, referring to herself. Born and bred in Lexington, Virginia, she lives with her husband Larry on a farm partly inherited from her father, and she has said that she will be buried there as well. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are also buried in Lexington. Mann was born in Jackson's home, and one of her early photographic projects was to restore, print, and file glass negatives of Michael Miley, who is known as "General Lee's photographer." Lee and Jackson are of course the twin gods of Southern memory, a kind of Father-Son duo. Their "last meeting" before Jackson was killed at Chancellorsville, with Lee astride "Traveller" and Jackson on "Little Sorrel," is an iconic image, among the most popular Southern historical prints. You might say, then, that Lexington, Sally Mann's home, is the Jerusalem of the South.

Perhaps it is no wonder that Sally Mann is drawn, both in her images and the literature she reads, to the gothic, with its eccentrics, its haunting, and its unruly landscapes. "I think the South depends on its eccentrics," she has said, and she considers herself one of them. Her work undermines prevailing platitudes, from perceptions of children to the South's "Lost Cause," which ignores the horrors of slavery and Jim-Crow segregation and presents the Old South as a utopian paradise. She named her son Emmett, in part after the young Emmett Till, whose lynching in 1955 sent shock waves throughout the country, exposing the savagery of Southern segregation; and she photographed the spot where Till's body had been dumped into the Tallahatchie River. She aptly revised Flannery O'Connor's understanding of the South as "Christ-haunted": "I say it's death-haunted." It is haunted by (among other things) the deaths of slaves, the deaths of its white men during the Civil War, and the deaths of lynching victims during Jim-Crow segregation. And she is explicit in connecting her photographs of the Southern landscape to the South's haunted past: "The pictures I took on those awestruck, heartbreaking trips down south were pegged to the familiar corner posts of my conscious being: memory, loss, time, and love"...  

 

    Todd Webb: New York, 1946

  Todd Webb: New York, 1946

 
    Imogen Cunningham: Family

  Imogen Cunningham: Family

 
    Southern Landscape

  Southern Landscape

About the Contributors #11

Legacy Editions and and legacies in music. Quincy Jones writes about his longtime respect and friendship with Herman Leonard. Legacy Editions title Love, Graham Nash includes not only text by Graham Nash but has an introduction by the iconic Neil Young. Legacy Editions includes other important cultural icons, Al Michaels and President Jimmy Carter in Gold, not to mention text and signatures from the entire team!

Two Jazz Legacies, Quincy Jones and Herman Leonard
Listen: Herman Leonard and His World of Jazz
 
Today people talk a lot about "reading" a photograph. That means "getting it," understanding what it's all about. But, man, when it comes to Herman Leonard, I think a better verb is listen. You need to "listen" to Herman's pictures. They are full of music and you can hear it. Just look at his great picture of Lady Day {shown below}. If you can't hear her singing to that little angel over her left shoulder, then you're just not listening. Herman's pictures always swing-and always have some special touch, like that angel, that leaves you wondering where it came from. Look at The Duke seated at his piano. It's Ellington, for sure, but notice how Herman caught him in those modernistic and elegant shafts of black and white light, which echo Ellington's elegant, always new music.

I've often called Herman's photographs "perfect." But his perfection was no accident, no piece of good luck. He did have the good luck, or the smarts, to be in a lot of the right places at the right time. But he learned his craft, the notes and scales of his art, just like we musicians did. Before you can go off on a riff, you've got to know where the notes are, and Herman learned all his camera's notes. He realized at a young age the value of studying with a master and apprenticed with Yousuf Karsh, who wrote that Herman had what it took "to be a great photographer."

Herman and I have known each other since the early Fifties when I was playing with Dizzy Gillespie's band. Then in Paris in the late Fifties, and right on till today. And he's always caught that swing, which is why we musicians always wanted Herman to photograph us. He made us look like our music sounded because he had come to his art the same way we came to ours-by finding our own distinct voices. If there's ever been a musician's photographer, it's been Herman Leonard. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, his photographs are music to my eyes. And most of all, I have been blessed to have him as my brother and friend for so many years.   

- QUINCY JONES -
 

One of two Legacy Editions titles:
Love, Graham Nash

When it comes to writing songs, most songs seem to be about love, but when love and love of man seem threatened, especially by politics and war, then the subject changes. Sometimes it is easy to write a song about war, if young people are killed on a college campus in the USA because they were protesting a war they did not believe in, and were threatened with the possibility of having to go and fight in, then that is an easy thing to write about. It comes naturally and you just let it go. Then the wars that seem to be so wasteful come along, and you may be a lot older now, like Graham and I are, well then it is different. We are grown men with experience in the world. Our ideals have been battered by life, but we still cling to them, even though we have learned that men fight wars because they breathe. That makes it a lot harder. It makes you a preacher, a politician, all the things you may not want your music to be, and you are caught up in the web. Anger, loss, desperation, they all come to you and make you write songs that seem to separate people, and you don't know whether you have won or lost.

- NEIL YOUNG -


Without the love and support of my mother and father I wouldn't be here talking to you. My vision for myself would not have come to pass had it not been for their positive attitude towards my passion for rock and roll.

My father first revealed the magic of photography to me when I was 10 years old and I've never been the same since. My mother always encouraged me whatever my pursuit, and it's from her I really gained the confidence to go out into the world with a strong heart. To them both I dedicate this project and I send my unending love.

For much of my life I've tried to share my creations with who ever wanted to take the time to be curious. From the first moment of darkroom magic shown to me by my father so long ago, to this present day, I am driven to express myself mainly through photography and music, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to speak my mind this way. I'm proud to be a part of a society that tolerates my point of view.

The conjunction of two energies, love and pain, is represented here
in these pages. There's a certain charm about the original scribbling
that seems, in my case, to coalesce into song and image. I certainly hope
you enjoy this journey but please remember that these are my loves . . .
these are my pains. . . .

- GRAHAM NASH -

 

The other Legacy Editions title:
Gold: A Celebration of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team
 
It's been often chronicled that the collective mood of our nation in early 1980 bordered on a combination of gloom and anxiety. The prime rate hovered near 20 percent. Long lines at gas pumps in the 70s portended another future round of shortages. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan and, as ironic as it now plays out, the United States threatened a boycott of the Olympic Summer Games in Moscow (which did happen). More than 300 Americans were rounded up in Iran and held as hostages, a nightly embarrassment on Capitol Hill and at the State Department. In sum, the United States had a form of the collective blahs.

Out of that darkening vortex came a group of relatively unknown young men and a coach whose focus was limited to performing at the highest level possible over a February fortnight in Lake Placid, New York. When it was over-and the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team had won the gold medal-it was a sports upset of historic proportions. But as anyone old enough to remember knows, it broke through barriers far apart from the worlds of hockey and athletics. It gave our country a collective emotional lift and it came out of nowhere. Three decades later, people still light up at the memories.

One of the best things about that magical run is that the flashbacks are so disparate. What did it all mean? I think the answer to that is another question-how many ways can you look through a prism? I know a lot of people still view it as a metaphor for "anything is possible." In an increasingly cynical world, I suppose that's one legacy. But I prefer to think of it as something somewhat arguable but slightly more tangible-the most joyous sports remembrance of our lifetime.

One of my favorite phrases is "go make a memory."
Boy, did that group make one!!

- AL MICHAELS -

 

Looking back, the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" was much more than an Olympic upset, more than the underdogs defeating the favorite in a hockey game. It was that these unknown, working-class American young men had defeated the all powerful, seasoned Soviet professional team who, months earlier, conquered a team of NHL All-Stars in the 1979 Challenge Cup. The upset came at an auspicious time as the decade that preceded that moment in our nation's history truly had tested the character of our country. To many Americans, that game was not only a physical victory, but an ideological, even spiritual triumph-perhaps even a success as meaningful in its own nuanced way as the Berlin Airlift or the Apollo moon landing.

America has always embodied an ambitious philosophy of succeeding even under the most daunting odds. When the American team skated onto the ice all those years ago, the result seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Showing the kind of grit and determination that is the very essence of being an "American," those boys showed us, showed the world the meaning of the word "miracle." In 1980 we were in dire need of something to celebrate, and those young Americans responded. In doing so they lifted the spirits of an entire nation, and it is a moment that holds a special place in my heart.

- PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER -

    Herman Leonard, from  Listen

   Herman Leonard, from Listen

 
    Love, Graham Nash

  Love, Graham Nash

   Portrait of Neil Young by Graham Nash

  Portrait of Neil Young by Graham Nash

   Self Portrait by Graham Nash

  Self Portrait by Graham Nash

 
    Gold: A Celebration of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team

  Gold: A Celebration of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team

About the Contributors #10

A rare look into personal reflections and thoughts through the pages of artists' journals, sketchbooks and an interview.

The Maxims of Men Disclose Their Hearts
The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin

French Saying
"The maxims of men
describe their hearts."
This is true of art
because the heart (and soul)
must grow in love and compassion.
The artist's vocation is to purify
his heart & soul in order to develop
a personal vision,
to create
a sacred dimension. 

I make photographs because it allows me to proclaim in the Light what I've perceived in the Darkness of my being. My faith and my photographs are the reasons I live!! I know I'm not going to change the world with what I make. But I want to make work that the viewer perceives as the reproduction of my Soul. That is my criteria and I believe is the reason all great art is made!

We live in a lost and dying world. A great deal of art produced now reflects this-an art of total emptiness, meaninglessness. This "Art" is a denial of the wisdom of the past presented in the unformed, immature philosophy of "Post Modern" sound bites.

I want to penetrate rather than reproduce reality. Photograph (and print) as though that was the first photograph or print ever made.

- JOEL-PETER WITKIN -

 

Sheila Metzner: Fashion
   
M. Fresson,
Thank you for the fine prints. It is as though you read my mind. They are perfect. I would like to continue to work with you in this way for a while. And I would like to continue to experiment...

The "soft-eye" is transforming. One minute you are "looking," suddenly you are "seeing" everything changes, dimension, sensation of colors, a kind of objective discrimination begins. Thoughts are magnetized to the vision. Like clouds congregate at the horizon. Reality and vision are one. There is no separation. You are to believe in yourself and what you see. Enraptured until the other reality which you do neither inhabit nor own, outright, calls you back.

- SHEILA METZNER -

 

Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium

I never photograph ugliness. I am afraid I am a little too aesthetic to be anything but old-fashioned. I agree to that. I let myself be old-fashioned, why shouldn't I? I have a formula for how to make a good photograph; I think that in order to make a good photograph, you have to be enthusiastic. That is, you have to think about it, like a poet would.

I think everything you do is something of a contribution, unless it's no good. Then you better hide it. What I like to see about a photograph, is everything smoothly in focus-or if it's out of focus, for a purpose. And, the quality and gradations of value, rendered, more nearly and accurately in a smaller photograph. I don't mean tiny, but I mean, not too big. I think still photography has more of an aesthetic appeal, that is the single photograph.

For some people history is a great adventure, for others a great bore. But for me it is overpowering. As far as the history of photography is concerned, I have lived more than half of it. But it still gives me pause.

- IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM -

 

     The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin

   The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin

     The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin  (close-up)

   The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin (close-up)

     Sheila Metzner: Fashion

   Sheila Metzner: Fashion

     Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium

   Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium

About the Contributors #9

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.  
 
To evoke what, like a dream, was lost
only seconds ago, only decades ago,
 
To recover and clarify the deposits,
grace so fragile, so various.  


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.

 

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.

 

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."

 

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

Like fear looming from the somber sky
Come visions of the faceless crowd
Bound with tears of sweat
In endless corridors of labor.


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.


 

     Sally Mann

   Sally Mann

    John Metoyer from  Blood Migration

   John Metoyer from Blood Migration

    Jamie Baldridge, from  The Everywhere Chronicles

   Jamie Baldridge, from The Everywhere Chronicles

    Misha Gordin, from  Crowd

   Misha Gordin, from Crowd

About the Contributors #8

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.

 

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.

    The New City

  The New City

    The New City  (close-up)

  The New City (close-up)

    The Bridge

  The Bridge

About the Contributors #7

John Wood continues to discover exciting new poets: Ana Cristina Rudholm y Balmaceda and Keagan LeJeune offered two unique voices for different titles with Josephine Sacabo (of which one, Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble, is available). Daniel Westover was an early discovery published in our silver series title, Toward Omega, with Vincent Serbin.

 

Trinidad del Cielo at a Train Station
BY ANA CRISTINA RUDHOLM Y BALMACEDA

Death flashes me a thin-lipped grin
behind arched windows where I wait
with desert lilies and songs.
In the cantina, promises spill from goblets
and will soon be forgotten-
or remembered forever.
Ghosts open satchels seeking letters and tickets
lost among blue paper birds.
I wait for love sunk long in silver-hewed marbled caves
beneath the river where I hear your cries
lying beautiful and broken-
like tiny, discarded thorns.
You never arrive
so I drain my heart of blood
and offer it to the wind-
who claims it with long fingers
burning in gossamer gloves.

 

Bentwood  
BY KEAGAN LEJEUNE  

The food all gone, the dishes cleared,  
the table's centerpiece is all that's left:
a rosewood bowl with a clutch of eggs,
each a marbled shade of brown or red  
and too beautiful to be what they are.
All fact grown fragile as a finger bone,
we ponder them-half in awe, half in dread-
and ache to hold such oddness against our palms.

In the hand, their weight says they are not eggs.  
Stones? If so, all rocks are jewels; all earth's a prize.
Awe and wonder number as pebbles on a shore.  
No, we realize the truth rests hidden in the grain.
The showpiece is nothing but a woodwright's trick:
the spheres aren't eggs, the eggs aren't stone,
merely copies spun from a craftsman's wrist
and lathed with skill enough to dupe the brain.

The carpenter knows best the curse of wood.
His chair never comes out quite the way he's planned,  
and though the board shapes when carved or bent,
what he has made will never stay made for good.

For a moment, though, beauty gathers in that curve,
and there, we hear the whir of his machine,
smell the pine, feel the thatched nest of a bird,
see a host of gilded feathers upon a golden bough.

 

DANIEL WESTOVER
From the introduction by John Wood

Daniel Westover, a poet as brilliant in his art as Vincent Serbin is in his, had long admired Serbin's work and shares a similar vast and evolutionary vision. In "The Physics of Angels," the best poem about angels since Rilke's Duino Elegies, written to accompany Serbin's Earth Angel, Westover writes,

They travel fast as photons,
having long ago eclipsed terrestrial speeds
though they once tread on the ground,
wingless as you.

But now they have "broken clear of fettering flesh" and "realized the spirit's relativity." Westover tells us they were once like us. They learned "that suns explode and fizzle, that starlight / can lie, concealing a burnt-out source." Like us

. . . they learned equations, formulae---
mechanics to explain a cosmic clock
and numb them to the gravity of faith.
But when they swiveled skyward,
reason fled beneath that astral tapestry,
for spirit knew what calculus could not:
the universe is more than lifeless flames
and dusty nebulae; it is an orchestra
of life, an iridescent possibility.

And finally in a stanza of intense poetic beauty Westover, like Serbin, weaves physics and metaphysics into one as he writes,

They orbit us, unbound now
by the mind's lust for quanta, untroubled
by the frequencies of unbelief.
They navigate by their imagination,
and what they see is instant fact.
For time dissolves at light speed,
and fruits of faith are ever-ripe, ever consumed.
Each glimpsed omega is their now,
is wrapped within their wings' geometries,
and heaven burns with angel lights,
becomes an ever-breathing hymn,
a universe of singing, silent fire.

    Josephine Sacabo from  Cante Jondo

   Josephine Sacabo from Cante Jondo

    Josephine Sacabo from  Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble

   Josephine Sacabo from Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble

    Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble

  Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble

    Vincent Serbin from  Toward Omega

   Vincent Serbin from Toward Omega

    Toward Omega

  Toward Omega

About the Contributors #6

Moving from the classics to prize-winning contemporary poets: Morri Creech & Steven Brown.

 

We first published Morri Creech in The Journal of Contemporary Photography. John Wood then invited him to create a collection of poems for two books to be published with the work of Robert ParkeHarrison, Listening to the Earth and The Book of Life (with Shana Parkeharrison). This collection of 20 poems were subsequently published in Field Knowledge (Waywiser Press, 2006), which won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. In 2014, Creech was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

The Music of Farewell
BY MORRI CREECH

Descending for the last time to the underworld, The soul of Orpheus addresses the audience.

What sense in listening to the sun-shot wind
croon through the autumn branches, once the song
behind the song is finished? Always you listened
with your heads tilted toward the absolute
as if the gods would sing to you, while the long
phrase of my sorrow held your world together,
your world of stripped fields and the ripening fruit
that weighs each thick bough earthward. Everywhere
you turned, the lavish music of farewell
lent consequence to things, so that desire
itself became fulfillment to your ear.
And though the mist that swept the cold laurel
was neither Apollo stroking Daphne's hair
nor Ceres weeping at the doors of hell,
though nothing I sang could raise Eurydice
up from the mute depths again, note by note,
it makes no difference now for me to say
the gods are silent, or that the world seems less
for what the hours and seasons claim from us.
More than the sounds that set the stones and trees
in place, and that arrange both shade and light,
a sad music ripens in the heart; caught
between oblivion and paradise,
it enters the world as loss, though in such ways
that the cadences of grief resound as praise.

Beginning

And so God spun the wind to tick time forward.
It teased gold from the leaf, flung spores and seeds.
The beasts' fur billowed; long-legged shore birds
swung their hunger above a froth of reeds.

The restless trees leaned, bent, all pitch and wring.
Not yet the serpent's tryst in the grass; not yet
Abel slain in the field, the Lord's voice calling.
Still, the earth toiled toward its purposes:
the fret
and seethe of larvae started in the mud.
Rain scoured the stone to spill its mineral dust.
Straight rivers cut their convoluted maze.

And as the mouse twitched in the owl's long gaze
God wept, and wept for the mosquito's lust
as it rose up toward the heaven of the blood.

 

Steven Brown is a poet (finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize), photography critic, and utopian scholar who writes for some of the world's leading photographic publishers, including multiple titles for 21st Editions. He was selected as one of the Best New Poets of 2010 and is currently working on his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. 
 
Embrace
BY STEVEN BROWN

Tongue, you've loosened up the cry
in my head like a bird's, or like a bird
you've tried the touch that a sky
and breath can melody with Xesh.

Bone, it has been worth it, yes?-the breaks
that as a boy reversed the music
of our motion, and taught our body
sincerity of awe with every step
against the universe of fated falls.

Eyes, what have we seen
that wouldn't stir or bend the brain
of The Architect's mother,
whose tooth Wrst struck the egg,
the egg that still feels
like wonder in our hands?

Hands,
let us raise the egg to our lips,
kiss its shell until we've broken through
to kiss her wings, her face. Nothing
is exempt from our embrace.

The Angel Oaks
 
Our fathers called it Heaven. Their fathers,
the Vault. Whatever the vernacular,
all chambers have one. And so the heart?
And so the heart. Our fathers called it
Temple of the Faithful Bones. Their fathers,
Dwelling Place of the Lord.
 
We call it, ungracefully, the cardiac arrest.
The atrophy and stress of the valves,
the veins' limp pump and stoppage, or else,
an attack. Our fathers called it failure.
Their fathers, the Fall. Whatever it is,
it breaks apart the wall and vault together.
 
A thousand thousand bloodless branches
reach but cannot reach. It never was their fault.
Born without simple skin to keep pace
with loneliness and pain, love's sudden rush,
their end was written from the start.  

  Listening to the Earth

Listening to the Earth

   Robert ParkeHarrison from  Listening to the Earth

  Robert ParkeHarrison from Listening to the Earth

   Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison from  The Book of Life

  Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison from The Book of Life

  The Book of Life

The Book of Life

    Jerry Uelsmann from  Moth and Bonelight

   Jerry Uelsmann from Moth and Bonelight

   Ben Nixon from  To the Wheatlight of June

  Ben Nixon from To the Wheatlight of June

About the Contributors #5

Continuing with the classics: Apollinaire's Memories, Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil, The Odes of Pindar, and Rilke's Duino Elegies.

 

Night Wind
BY GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE

Oh! The tops of pines crack in colliding
And one hears so much of their lamenting
And from the river a voice thick and loud
Elves laugh at the wind or at gusts blare out
Attys Attys Attys disheveled with charm
It is the elves at night that mock your name
One of your pines falls to the gothic wind
The forest flees like an ancient army
Whose lances Oh pines are stirred in turning
The faded villages are now planning
Like the virgins the old men and poets
And wake to the feet of no one coming
Even when vultures descend on pigeons

 

The Death of Artists
BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
(Translated by John Wood)
 
How often must I play the sad jester  
And kiss the low, dull brow of travesty?  
Or spend arrows in wasted archery
To strike the mystic mark of Nature?  

We'll break or crack our heavy armature
And wear our souls out in conspiracies
Before we gaze upon that grand Creature
Whose hell-made desires are our misery.  

But some have never known their Idol:
The cursed artist branded with disgrace
Who beats his chest and tears his face  
Has but one hope, O strange, dark Capitol,
That Death rising like a new star
Will flame his mind into flower.

 

The Odes of Pindar
from OLYMPIAN 1

Olympic fame gleams from far away,
when swiftness of foot and strength's vigor
boldly strive in the races of Pelops.
The victor finds surrounding him
honey-sweet peace all of his days-
at least as much as victory can bring.
But man's best blessing is daily fortune.

Now I must crown him with Aeolian song,
as the horseman is honored.
There is no better host, I'm sure,
no one more worthy to adorn
with glorious song, intricate hymns,
no king more worthy of power,
more familiar with beauty. . . .

from PYTHIAN 8

. . . Creatures of a day
What is someone?
What is no one?
Man-shadow's dream.
But whenever Zeus-given radiance comes,
men have a shining light, a gentle life. . . .

 

Rilke, Sacabo, and the Elegies
BY JOHN WOOD

The Duino Elegies was the masterpiece of Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the three or four greatest poets of the twentieth century. The famous story of their beginning is recorded by Princess Maria von Thurn und Taxis, whose Castle Dxuino on the Adriatic Rilke was visiting in 1912. One morning while walking out on the battlements below the castle but above the sea and wind-whipped rocky cliffs, a voice from the wind cried out to him: Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen? ("Who, if I screamed, would hear me among the angelic orders?) Rilke told the Princess that he whispered, "What is that? What is it that's coming?" And he wrote the words down, and they became the opening of the Duino Elegies; however, it was ten more years until the cycle was completed.

The subject of the Elegies is the subject of most great art---love, death, beauty, suffering, and the meaning of life, all of which really tells one nothing about the poem. Still more problematical is the fact that one cannot easily extract clear, exact, and precise ideas about love, death, or the meaning of life from the poem. It is a great but difficult work. The difficulty, however, diminishes if we recognize that it is a work of Symbolist literature and read it with our feelings instead of our intellect, our hearts instead of our heads. Rilke even tells us in the First Elegy, "Listen, my heart, as only / saints have listened." And he goes on to say,

. . . . Not that you could endure
the voice of God. . . . But hear what is whispering,
the endless message forming itself from silence.
It rustles towards you from those who died young.

If we read the Duino Elegies with our ears and hearts open to the voices of the dead---voices which can easily be heard if we will only turn from literal sound---we can hear Rilke clearly and understand what he is telling us.

 

  Memories

Memories

   Eikoh Hosoe

  Eikoh Hosoe

     The Odes of Pindar

   The Odes of Pindar

   Greg Gorman

  Greg Gorman

    The Duino Elegies

  The Duino Elegies

About the Contributors #4

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.

Broadway
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.

 

 Sheila Metzner, from  New York

Sheila Metzner, from New York

  New York

New York

  Songs of Innocence and Experience , Trade Edition (available online)

Songs of Innocence and Experience, Trade Edition (available online)

 Joel-Peter Witkin, from  Songs of Innocence and Experience , Trade Edition

Joel-Peter Witkin, from Songs of Innocence and Experience, Trade Edition

  Songs of Innocence

Songs of Innocence

  Songs of Experience

Songs of Experience

About the Contributors #3

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


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...


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.

 
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 . . .

 
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.

     Michal Macku from  Volume 5

    Michal Macku from Volume 5

    Stephen Berkman from  Volume 5

   Stephen Berkman from Volume 5

 John Metoyer from  Volume 5

John Metoyer from Volume 5

   Carol Munder from  Volume 6

  Carol Munder from Volume 6

    Don-Hong-Oai from  Volume 6

   Don-Hong-Oai from Volume 6

  Volumes 5  and  6  Trade Editions (available  here )

Volumes 5 and 6 Trade Editions (available here)

About the Contributors #2

Highlights from monograph Volumes 3 (John Dugdale) and 4 (Cy DeCosse) of The Journal of Contemporary Photography.

The Pilgrimage of Lazarus
(After the photographs of John Dugdale)
BY MORRI CREECH

I.
A blackbird skimmed the weeds at the field's edge,
Dragging its shadow. But Lazarus saw beyond
Mustard and witchgrass, beyond the tattered hedge
To those shadeless, gilt-edged petals and the fronds
Of perfect palms, saw even the saxifrage
Leave heaven's shale unbroken - then he turned
For one more look behind him. From its thicket
The blackbird sounded a last, imperfect note.

II.
If heaven is fulfillment, think of Lazarus,
The knowledge of that blackbird in his head,
Walking the well-made fields of paradise
Where birds no longer ravish the ripe seed
Nor wasps plunder the lilac, where an gels drowse
In the languor of perfection , and discord
Is the longing for that flawed syllable
At the field 's edge, which no heaven can fulfill.

III.
like a black feather dropped in a field of white
Flowers, that syllable still haunted him,
Vexing the pure petals, fierce as appetite -
So Lazarus turned away from the seraphim,
From those blossoms and the untasted fruit
That decked each gilded bough, and traced the psalm
Of the blackbird raging through the flawless air,
Backward, toward the kingdom of desire.


A Prayer for John Dugdale
BY ROBERT OLEN BUTLER

Saint Ludwig, pray for me. I am going blind. Just as you went deaf. Even as the light fades around me, I see you as if for the first time. You move along a street in Bonn and it is easy for those who do not understand to say that it was all inside your head anyway, that you could hear the soaring of voices in your Ninth Symphony just as surely as if the universe had not laid this sensual martyrdom upon you. But I know that what you lost was precio us and it was irreplaceable. Surely you listened with a fierce keenness to all the seemingly irrelevant sounds about you. The scuffle of hooves in the street, the barking of a dog, voices down a passageway, the turning of a wheel, the whisper of the clothes of people passing. You did not stand beneath the heavens and catch your music whole. Saint Ludwig, forgive this presumption, for my own art uses sight, not sound, but as I go blind I understand that you found your cosmic voice in the semiquavers of the commonplace. Which is never common at all. Not when we have these fierce senses. Another saint said that God is in the details. I know this is true. The whisper of the clothes: perhaps that is my own sound. Much of what I know of things resides beneath that sound. The body. These are the details of God through the eyes he gave me to see: a. naked man blurred in desire holding a flower; another holding his own arms, cut by a still expanse of water; on a wood-plank table a water glass, a scattering of cards, the sweet dimpling of deltoids; a bed in a soft chaos of covers, empty as the pictureless frame, empty from a death whose blue grace lingers here. Did you hear the body, Saint Ludwig? I think so. The music you created but never heard, the voices that rise together in joy: they sing of the body, of one body leaning gently over another and offering a hand. Touch. Like God and Adam on the ceiling. Touch. We were once one and we can be so again. I saw the visible world with a ravishing clarity. I can create images still. But now I wait upon the details again, the connection. Touch. I would touch you, Saint Ludwig. Reach to me. My fingertips await. I can see you clearly.
 

Flowers, Fruit, Music, and the Mystery of Beauty
BY CAROL WOOD

Why do we love flowers? Why do they look beautiful to us? What is it that makes certain photographs of them - Cy DeCosse's Queen of the Night, for example...For that matter, what makes a beautiful woman beautiful, and why can a song by Richard Strauss make some of us cry or the Dies Irae of Mozart's Requiem make us shiver? (I bring music into the discussion for two reasons: first because Cy DeCosse is a passionate and accomplished musician himself, a flautist, and because the response to music seems the most enigmatic yet the most powerful of all our human responses to art and beauty.)

It is perhaps impossible to understand what we clumsily call our "aesthetic response" to the things that move us because they are beautiful; the response is certainly elicited by many different things for different people and is impossible to measure or predict. Maybe that is why, in this age of the quantifiable, it is suspect or even incorrect in critical circles to mention the beauty of a work of art. And yet I believe that our response to beauty is one of the most important qualities that we humans can have - not very far below loving kindness - in terms of the joy and meaning it can bring to our lives, so it is worthwhile to consider some of the possible or likely reasons that things might seem beautiful to us.

Perhaps at its deepest level, the appreciation of beauty is biological, something that is built into us as a species - an attraction to the things that we need to stay alive or to perpetuate the species. This is currently a very popular kind of explanation for many human tastes, and it can
be quite convincing...

Addressing the idea of beauty more directly, it is quite easy to argue that certain qualities of feminine beauty - smooth, unblemished skin, glossy hair, the full and tender lips of youth - are universally admired (at least by human males) because they signal (to the males) a female who is at an optimum age and level of health for bearing children. All this possibly seems very far from the question of why flowers seem beautiful to humans, but I think that even flowers can be shown to satisfy a deep biological need...

    John Dugdale from  Volume 3

   John Dugdale from Volume 3

    John Dugdale from  Volume 3

   John Dugdale from Volume 3

    John Dugdale from  Volume 3

   John Dugdale from Volume 3

   Cy DeCosse's   Midnight Garden   with text by Carol Wood

  Cy DeCosse's Midnight Garden with text by Carol Wood

    Cy DeCosse,  Queen of the Night  from  Volume 4  (a print is available)

   Cy DeCosse, Queen of the Night from Volume 4 (a print is available)

    Cy DeCosse,  King of the Night  from  Volume 4  (a print is available)

   Cy DeCosse, King of the Night from Volume 4 (a print is available)

About the Contributors #1

Highlights from the first two volumes
of The Journal of Contemporary Photography.

Icons
BY RICHARD WILBUR
 
They are one answer to the human need
For a second life, and they exist for us
In the secular heaven of photography,
Safe in emulsion's cloud
 
Through which we glimpse them, knowing them as we know
The angels, by report and parched surmise.
Like Milton's seraphim who veil their gaze
Against the beams of God,
 
Often we see them handsomely asquint
When captured by a bursting photoflash,
Or dazzling and bedazzled on that beach
Where currently they sun;
 
And yet perhaps they seem most brilliant when,
Putting away all glamor, they appear
In their old clothes at home, with dog and child,
Projecting toward the lens
 
From a couch not unlike our own, a smile
Sublimely confident of mattering.
They smile, too, when we spot their avatars
Upon the actual street,
 
Sharing with u s the little joke that we
Have known them in a different dimension;
But since they strike u s then as subtly changed-
Pale, short, a trifle older-
 
It is not hard to yield them back to dream,
From which their images immutably
Bestow a flourish on our muted lives,
Even though death betray them.
 
Still, there are fewer sightings year by year
Of the trenchcoat carried niftily over the shoulder,
The innocent sultry look, the heaved guitar,
The charming pillbox hat,
 
And fewer of their dreamers left to grieve
As all those glossy selves, transcendent still,
Slip unaccountably into the morgues
And archives of this world.

 

A Note on the Earliest Photographs
BY LEONARD BASKIN
 
To what unknown penetrable depths do the earliest photographs probe? The driving intensity of their actuality, the brooding textures of their scrutinizing black & whiteness, the near-hallucinatory super-reality of their stillness; one is overcome by their revelatory honesty, the stark rigidity of the sitters pushed into monumentality by the long exposures. The light seems strained, an all-revealing, irrelevancy-draining, pervading luminosity that clothes the photographed figures in an aura of obsidian-like solidity. And from their submersion in immobile daylight, the portrayed are depicted in a variety of puissant attitudes. The truculent stare of Nadar's bewigged George Sand or the passionately self-embracing Eugene Delacroix, the stony lyricism of David Octavius Hill. The unassailability of Biow's Alexander von Humboldt, Cameron's remote & astral Herschel & Southworth & Hawes' truculent Lemuel Shaw, [Melville's father-in-law.] The near-endless gallery is wondrous, directing our eyes along the camera lens 's path into the hidden modalities of the time, exposing the obscured personalities & drawing the veil of nineteenth century prudery & formality.

 

I Awaken from the Lillies
BY SUSAN LUDVIGSON
 
And when did I decide to enter it,
 the lily that is my name?

When I first learned it, as a child:
(Susan-Heb. a lily)
I knew only the kind that grows in water,
floats on the surface white
as a gown.

Each year in my back yard they make
a fiery circle. They are like the ones
a girl wore in my dream,
her headdress of cannas enormous,
taller than she was. Eve in the garden,
the garden already polluted.

Nearly fifteen years since we lived
in the land where weeks ago
a physician's fingers were sliced off,
then his hand, then his arm,
for treating the wrong clan.

We were innocent.
Love was innocent,
if love is ever innocent.

All night I lay
inside a fluted blossom,
lay in a silken bunting,
in a white cradle.
I napped there,
I swayed in the lightest wind.

 

Contributors in Volume 1:

Leonard Baskin, Ann Beattie, John Bennette, Robert Olen Butler, Denise Bethel, A.D. Coleman, Morri Creech, Dana Gioia, Amy Fleury, Daile Kaplan, Christopher Mahony, Kevin Meaux, Duane Michels, Raul Peschiera, Rixon Reed, Thomas Southall, Lance Speer,  John Stauffer, John Stevenson, John Stilgoe, R.S. Thomas, Anne Tucker, Frederick Turner, Richard Wilbur, John Wood, and Paul Zimmer.

Contributors in Volume 2:

Ann Beattie, John Bennette, Morri Creech, Rachel Morris, Elizabeth Dewberry, Lee Fontanella, Susan Ludvigson, Raul Peschiera, Rixon Reed, Josh Russell, Lance Speer, John Stauffer, John Stevenson, Michel Tournier, Frederick Turner, Scott Whiddon, and John Wood.

    Louis Gonzalez Palma

   Louis Gonzalez Palma

    Willie Middlebrook

   Willie Middlebrook

    Leonard Baskin

   Leonard Baskin

     Kenro Izu

    Kenro Izu

  Volumes 1  and  2  Trade Editions (available  here )

Volumes 1 and 2 Trade Editions (available here)

#16/16: Sheila Metzner Fashion

"Metzner's devotion to beauty and to art has brought us back to the body, to Apollo, Berger, Modigliani, Paglia, and to Yeats. But more importantly it has brought us back to the greatest faith, the rapturous, life-changing "faith of love" through art." (From the Introduction by John Wood)

Fashion, like each and every 21st Editions undertaking, is unique to the 21st Editions Collection of Word, Image and Artisan Bindings. A year in the planning stages and a year in the making, Fashion affords an alternative way of viewing, interacting, and sharing a classic and rare kind of photographic print (Fresson) and presentation. To encompass a career articulating fashion through the art of Sheila Metzner is not possible in five separate presentations, yet using some of those she is most famous for does pay homage to the importance of this artist in the history of fashion and of photography.

Early on, after seeing some of the prints that Theodore Fresson initially printed for Sheila she wrote him: "Thank you for the fine prints. It is as though you read my mind. They are perfect..." She continues today to work with the Fresson family exclusively for her color work.

"Color is the key. Since Steichen and Outerbridge, who worked in the carbon process, color printing became a dye process. Dyes were fugitive, only three colors, no black. It wasn't until I searched for, and found Fresson, that I felt I could work in color. The proces de charbon, a carbon print, made with pigment colors, is the only truly archival printing process on earth. You have all the colors a painter has, as well as blacks and greys. It was invented by Theodore Henri Fresson in 1891, and remains with his grandson, and great-grandson today." -Sheila Metzner
    

    Fashion

  Fashion

    Fashion  detail

  Fashion detail

#15/16 Imogen Cunningham and Rondal Partridge

I had met Joshua Partridge and his father Rondal (Imogen Cunningham's grandson and son), years ago at Photo San Francisco. Not only did we meet Joshua and Rondal there, but also Ruth Bernhard who was being escorted by her close friend, Michael Kenna. It seemed to be a star-filled show and it was, indeed, when photography was still a film-based medium for the most part.
 
In 2010, I received a call from Joshua Partridge. Joshua explained to me that he wanted very much to contribute to Imogen's legacy, something he hadn't yet done, before he closed his lab to then contemplate the idea of retiring to a monastery and living as a monk. He suggested that we do a project on Imogen Cunningham. Intrigued, I flew out to Berkeley, California to meet Joshua, his brother Aaron, and his sister Meg, Director of the Imogen Cunningham Trust. That was the beginning of the the trilogy of books we embarked on with the Imogen Cunningham Trust.

The first title in 2012, Imogen Cunningham Platinum and Palladium, must have been a great surprise to many because not only did it include ten platinum Imogen Cunningham Trust prints and three large palladium prints printed by Joshua of three iconic images, as well as a thirty year-old print printed by Rondal from her glass plates, but also, a vintage print printed by Imogen herself. Its success was immediate. 

The next year, 2013, Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist, followed also to great success with a collection of ten platinum Trust prints of her early symbolist work plus three wonderfully colorful free-standing gum-over-platinum prints.   

"What influence, one might wonder, could William Morris...have had on the work of the great Modernist American photographer Imogen Cunningham? Hardly any, one might assume. Yet she claimed him as an influence, and his influence was intellectual, social, and visual."  -John Wood

During a trip to Berkeley and while planning the next two titles with the Imogen Cunningham Trust, the first stop was Rondal Partridge's home. I had a rare and thorough tour of Rondal's personality, home and archive. I was so awestruck at his raw talent and that he spent his entire life as a working photographer, that I proposed at our 21st Editions summit in Saxton's River (the home of 21st Editions co-founder John Wood) a project with Ron. In fact, what I did was lay out some one hundred photographs to our team without disclosing the artist, and it was a unanimous hands-down yes by all even before knowing who made them! At that moment The Symmetry of Endeavor was born.  

After the experience of seeing Ron's work John Wood wrote in his Introduction, "Rondal Partridge is one of the greatest and most visually exciting photographers of the twentieth century. His vision is thoroughly and completely his own, and that his name is not yet enshrined in the pantheon of the other greats is a tragic accident of photographic history, an omission which likely has more to do with his mother's great fame than with a serious consideration of his art."

Interesting to note and unusual, indeed, is the fact that Ron was such a prolific and unrelenting artist, that he would generally only print one or just a few prints of any one negative. He was always creatively driven to find the next image, something new, something not seen, something eclectic. As a result platinum prints printed by Ron are rare, while the number of subjects and variations on subjects are plentiful. Ron was kind enough to donate one vintage print of his own to each of the portfolios of twelve platinum prints created for The Symmetry of Endeavor. Today, Ron is in his 96th year and still in Berkeley, California. 

    Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium

  Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium

    Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium  detail

  Imogen Cunningham: Platinum and Palladium detail

    Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist

  Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist

    Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist  detail

  Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist detail

    Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist  detail

  Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist detail

    The Symmetry of Endeavor

  The Symmetry of Endeavor

#14/16 California Artists and Creative Design

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.

 

MITCH DOBROWNER / WILLIAM BLAKE

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 11x17 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 16x20 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 / JOHN WOOD

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 20x22 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.    

 

BEN NIXON | STEVEN BROWN

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.

  The Prophecies of William Blake

The Prophecies of William Blake

 Platinum prints from  The Prophecies of WIlliam Blake

Platinum prints from The Prophecies of WIlliam Blake

  Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg

Cracked: The Art of Charles Grogg

 Charles Grogg creating the prints for  Cracked

Charles Grogg creating the prints for Cracked

  To the Wheatlight of June

To the Wheatlight of June

  To the Wheatlight of June  close-up

To the Wheatlight of June close-up