Songs of Experience

Songs of Experience
Photographs by Joel-Peter Witkin
Poems by William Blake with an Introduction by John Wood
Edition: 65 numbered copies
10 bound, plus 1 loose, platinum prints
18 x 14 inches
Handcrafted in New England


It was 2001 and we had just finished "New York," our first Platinum Series title to great success. John Wood and I wanted to include Joel-Peter Witkin in our first anthology, "The Journal of Contemporary Photography: Volume I," but he declined. On August 28, 2001, however, I sent Joel a fax proposing Songs of Experience. He faxed us within 15 minutes accepting our offer. Songs of Innocence followed in 2002.

Many have asked: "What is Joel like?" Having worked with him over the past 13 years now and after having completed four titles with him, I have gotten to know him pretty well. Joel is a religious man, and at the same time very funny too. There were periods when working on our books together that Joel would call weekly just to tell me a joke or two. For example: "What did the 0 say to the 8?.....nice belt."

What humors me is Joel's conviction to his jokes and his delivery. He can also be very serious, which is reflected in much of his work. Because many people seem very curious about the man behind the work, I jumped at his offer to publish his journals culminating in "The Journal of Joel-Peter Witkin."

Steven Albahari