January 29th, 2016

Touring Exhibit Brings Robert Frank’s Work To Younger Generation

Robert Frank told the crowd at the opening of his new exhibition that having his work in a touring show is an opportunity to “have the photography come to life again.” The retrospective exhibition, “Robert Frank: Books and Films, 1947-2016,”  opened at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University last night,  and will also be on view at 50 universities, art schools, museums and other non-profit spaces worldwide throughout the year. The 91-year-old master photographer was accompanied by his wife, June Leaf, and renowned book publisher Gerhard Steidl. Steidl’s company, Steidl Verlag, organized the touring exhibition.

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On stage from left to right: photographer Robert Frank, Tisch School of the Arts Dean Allyson Green, publisher Gerhard Steidl.

Frank—who left his home country of Switzerland for the United States in 1947 and captured post-war American society in his influential book The Americans, published in 1959 briefly answered questions provided by both Steidl and audience members. The show includes images from The Americans and other series Frank has made throughout his career, personal correspondence with curators and editors, and reproductions of contact sheets, showing images he selected by circling them with a red grease pencil. Frank said the photos included in the show “make you really think back about life… it can be better to look forward, but I’m happy to see the photographs live again and to be appreciated,” he said. Frank, whose documentary work and artistic experimentations have influenced generations of photographers noted, “Sometimes a photograph can live longer because it becomes an image that lives in people’s minds and they remember it. That probably is the best thing about my photography and I’m here to say thank you, and come again.” Steidl said the show “is for younger generations” less familiar with Frank’s work.

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Included in the exhibition are contact sheets from Frank’s travels across the U.S., with selected images marked.

As the exhibition tours the U.S., each venue will receive its own set of exhibition prints. At NYU, where the show is on view through February 11, the images, printed on three-meter-long banners, are unframed and stuck to the walls. By agreement with Frank, all the paper banners are to be disposed of after display to ensure that none of the images are sold or re-used.

In looking back on the decisions he has made, Frank said, “America is the country that has given me encouragement. It’s the place to be. For me, it worked out that way….it might not be this way today for many young people, but at that time it definitely was and [I am thankful] to be here and look at all the people who come to see the work.”

August 14th, 2013

How to Submit a Book Proposal to Gerhard Steidl

Gerhard Steidl (right) and photographer Mitch Epstein. © Torsten Nyström

Gerhard Steidl (right) at work with photographer Mitch Epstein. ©Torsten Nyström

Photographers who have had books published by Gerhard Steidl tell PDN that the process is an unforgettable creative journey with a master printer who spares almost no expense to realize their visions. “Being there in Steidlville is almost a religious experience,” says photographer Christopher Morris, who had a second book published by Steidl last year. “You don’t want it to end.” No wonder Steidl gets 1,200 unsolicited book proposals every year. Gerhard Steidl reviews every one of them, and publishes only the rare few that challenge him politically or intellectually, or that surprise him in some way, as he explains in a profile that is now available at PDNOnline. For those interested in submitting book proposals, one option is to send e-mail directly to gsteidl@steidl.de with the word “Submission” in the subject line. Steidl says it doesn’t matter whether he receives submissions in analog or digital format, but Morris advises, “Definitely do not send anything in digital format. He’s a man who likes to touch things, and look at paper. Scotch tape and photographs on paper is what you need to send him.” For hard copy submissions, the address is: Gerhard Steidl – Druckerei & Verlag GmbH & Co. OHG, Düstere Straße 4 – D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Related:
Why Gerhard Steidl Is a Book Publishing Master

April 19th, 2012

That New Book Smell

Images © Koto Bolofo. Left: Perfumer Geza Schoen. Right: Paper Passion.

When bibliophiles celebrate print they often talk about the weight or feel of paper, about color, binding, typeface, design… but scent?

Leave it to print purists and publishers Gerhard Steidl and Karl Lagerfeld to pay attention to the often-overlooked, olfactory component of the print experience. It was Lagerfeld who first pointed out the scent of print to Steidl, which led to a collaboration between Steidl, Wallpaper* magazine and master perfumer Geza Schoen to create Paper Passion perfume—”For Booklovers.”

The scent debuted this week at at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan, which runs through April 22 at the headquarters of men’s clothing designer Brioni, and it will be available to the public on May 30.

The perfume comes hidden inside the pages of a Steidl-published book, designed by Lagerfeld, which includes various odes to the printed page and its characteristic scent.

As Lagerfeld has said, “The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Backlit touch-screens may be the future, but the future doesn’t smell nearly as nice.