Jerry Uelsmann - Moth and Bonelight

Moth and Bonelight
Photographs by Jerry Uelsmann
Poems by Steven Brown
Introduction by John Wood
Handcrafted in New England

The Silver Edition: 20 numbered and 5 lettered copies
10 removable 20 x 16 inch signed silver gelatin prints
24 x 20 inch aluminum binding by Daniel Kelm

The Platinum Edition: 55 numbered and 15 lettered copies
10 tipped-in platinum prints, roughly 12 x 9 inches mounted to 18 x 14 inches


It was at the International Design Fair in New York that Jerry Uelsmann walked up and introduced himself. With white hair, horn-rim glasses, and accompanied by his well-known wife, artist Maggie Taylor, Jerry proposed that we do a project together. I explained to Jerry that because of the unique nature of how his images were made we would require that he personally print and sign each of the prints in order for us to produce a Silver Edition project with him. He immediately said he would. I then said that they would have to be 16x20 inches, not a common size for him. To that he said "yes" again.

During a trip to Jerry and Maggie's home in Florida and after two days of looking at his life's output, which totaled roughly 5000 prints, we selected ten images. Five prints were included in each of the two 20x24 inch volumes. The set was accompanied by an additional portfolio volume of 20 poems by Steven Brown, each inspired by one of Jerry's photographs, as well as an introduction by John Wood which discusses Uelsmann's and Brown's work and their intersections.

With Jerry and all those who make up 21st Editions, we produced the most ambitious project in our 16 year history. The brilliant brushed aluminum bindings by Daniel Kelm and his bindery incorporated Kelm designed special hinges that allow for the aluminum pages to be removable so that the signed silver-gelatin photographs mounted to them could be exhibited individually. The final result was both architecturally and bibliographically stunning.

Jerry labored for four solid months over the prints to produce a small edition of only 25 numbered and two Publisher's sets. Each week he would call me and tell me that it was the most difficult printing job he had ever done. He would then sometimes follow with an email that would contain a limerick. Jerry loves limericks and shared them with us so often that we got used to looking for them.

We announced "Moth and Bonelight" (Silver Edition, 2010) and it sold out in the course of 24 hours. We were astounded and pleased, since this was our most expensive production to date.

In addition to the Silver Edition, there was a smaller 14x18 inch Platinum Series portfolio of the same images that were printed by 21st Editions under the direction of Jerry Uelsmann. Each of the ten unbound prints were signed and dated by Jerry and in an edition of 55, plus 15 Artist's sets. The set also includes the 20 poems by Steven Brown printed letterpress.

Steven Albahari