21st Editions, London Art Fair 2014

February 28, 2014

A few weeks back I took time away from printing to visit the London Art fair, one of the main reasons being to visit the 21st Editions stand. I have been following the progress of this unique publisher ever since I saw them at Photo London in 2004 and have started to acquire a number of their publications when funds permit as there currently is no publisher in the world that is creating books with original prints to such a high standard, incorporating a number of alternative photographic printing processes most notably platinum. I always look forward hearing about new offerings and viewing them in person when possible.

One particular book that I wanted to cast my eyes on was 21st editions second original print publication on Imogen Cunningham. It had just been completed and was available to view at the stand. Following on from the successes of their first book on Cunningham entitled ‘Platinum Prints’ which sold out within a few weeks of it being announced, see figure 1 & 2, the second covers her early Symbolist work which was originally shot on glass plates, see figure 3.

 

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Figure 1, Imogen Cunnigham ‘Platinum Prints’

 

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Figure 2

This new publication contains nine tipped in platinum prints and three 3 loose gum over platinum prints and included poetry and prose by William Blake. The platinum prints were masterfully created by my good friend Stan Klimek who I have worked with in the past. He is one of the finest printers in the world today and capable of printing large editions, in this instance over 400 prints were created for this particular project. One of his skills is to be able to restore old negatives/plates and the Imogen Cunningham glass plates certainly needed his expertise.

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Figure 3, Imogen Cunningham: Symbolist

 

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Having had a good look at the prints at the stand they certainly do not disappoint. Printed on Rives BFK the prints had all the qualities of great platinum prints. The gum over platinum prints were special too, they almost had some of the wonderful reflective qualities you get with Japanese papers. Other titles on display that I really enjoyed  were Michael Kenna’s book of exquisite platinum prints entitled  Huangshan and Masoa Yammoto ‘s platinum book.

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Michael Kenna, Huangshan: Poems from the T’ang Dynasty, Platinum Prints

 

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‘Yammoto Masoa’

Overall it was well worth the visit, as with all 21st Editions’ original print publications you really need to see them in person to fully appreciate the quality of the platinum printing, letterpress text and artisan bindings.

For further information visit 21st Editions here.

3 Responses to “21st Editions, London Art Fair 2014”

  1. Richard Wright Says:

    Hello David

    I went to this show after reading your recommendation…purely for the 21st Editions books ( frankly the rest of the show was quite disappointing to me…)

    I talked at length to the elder of the two ladies on the stand…Pam I think…?? She was lovely, and was happy to give me her time with all of the books, even after knowing that Im a lowly poor photographer…!?

    The Cunningham book is stunning, as much for the images, which Id never seen before, as for the printing.

    I know its not about Platinum, but the Josephine Sacarbo (??) book of photogravures was also beautiful, and I was offered it at 20% off the retail price as it was a demo model, and a print had been inserted upside down, which in my view made it MORE valuable, also Pam didn’t want the extra hassle of taking it back to the US… but sadly Id left my £2500 cash on the bedside table that sunday morning…damnit!! It does show though that prices are negotiable to some extent, which is good to know….and that price was an absolute bargain relatively….check it out on their site, as I say, I know its not plat-talk, but the images and prints are lovely…

    Best wishes

    Richard

  2. Richard Wright Says:

    ps…I also mentioned that 21st Editions should check out John Blakemore’s stunning body of work..as I’d selfishly love to see what they might do with that…Pam didn’t know his work, but I assured her that he is a living English master….whose work, I personally feel, isn’t as celebrated as it should be….so hopefully Ive planted a seed….Or maybe you should think about it David….John is quite a reclusive man to find these days though…! Anyway, that’s all from me…thanks as always for your generous posts.

    Richard


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