#6/16: Toward Omega and The Book of Life

Life is serendipitous. In 1990 or so I found myself at the Saratoga Jazz Festival to see Dave Brubeck and Pat Metheny. They had artisan vendor tents set up and among them was a photographer who's work I was immediately attracted to. I decided to purchase my very first photograph. It happened to be by Vincent Serbin, who 13 years later, I ended up crossing paths with again and decided to publish, provided that he was able to make all of the prints for the project. He did. John Wood paired Vincent's photographs with the brilliance of Daniel Westover (poet, professor and literary critic) who constructed a poem for each image, which is a difficult task indeed.

Equally difficult, as always, was the task given to the binder for the collection. He came up with an inventive vellum and petinaed copper binding, which helped to keep the tipped-in silver prints flat. Each patina was different over an underlying stamp. The book and collection are unique to 21ST Editions, as all of our titles are.   

 

The Book of Life was a sequel to our first book with Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Listening to the Earth, and as successful. At the time, the ParkeHarrisons were receiving great acclaim within the circles of contemporary photography critics and collectors. Their shows in New York were close to selling out prior to the openings and we were grateful to have had the opportunity to create this unique set of books with 22 platinum prints.

Equally impressive was the poet, Morri Creech, in his execution of the collection of poems written for the ParkeHarrison's images. In fact, these 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. Together, John Wood's pairing of Morri Creech and the ParkeHarrisons early on helped to set a high standard for 21st Editions that continues today. 

Toward Omega

Toward Omega

The Book of Life

The Book of Life

#4/16: Tress, Halliday, and ParkeHarrison

2003 was a very busy year for 21st Editions. We published the second title in our Silver Series, The Perfect World of David Halliday and two Platinum Series titles: the surrealist work of Arthur Tress paired with Apollinaire in Memories; and the brilliant and highly acclaimed work of Robert ParkeHarrison in Listening to the Earth, with poems inspired by and composed specifically for this title. A companion title, The Book of Life, was also published in 2005. Morri Creech then went on to publish these poems separately and won the Anthony Hect Poetry Prize in 2005 for Field Knowledge.

Listening to the Earth is an early iconic image in Robert ParkeHarrison's career that was the impetus for the Platinum Series title by the same name. Like most of the earlier work, this photographic panel was made by hand with traditional analog processes, unlike the digital processes now being used by the ParkeHarrisons, as well as most photographic artists today. They created the scene using handmade props and found objects, and Robert is the subject. With a finished surface of encaustic wax, this panel is a pivotal piece and an important one to the history of photography. The George Eastman House originated the first major exhibition of this work, of which a panel from this edition was a part, that traveled the U.S. and Europe. Around the same time the work of Robert ParkeHarrison began to be credited to both Robert and his wife Shana who work as a team then and now. This unique artist proof was acquired directly from the artist(s) and was outside an edition of five panels, all of which sold out prior to the show it premiered in.

The Perfect World of David Halliday

The Perfect World of David Halliday

Memories

Memories

Book of Life  and  Listening to the Earth

Book of Life and Listening to the Earth