Wednesday, 10 March 2004
Pix Of The Day: Letterpress Mounts Counter-Swing
CREDIT: © C. Christopher Stern/SternAndFaye.com
WHERE: Skagit river, North Cascade Mountains. WHAT: letterpress printing.
MAP: Cascade Mountains, Washington, USA.
Thumbnail clicks  pop-up source pages with larger images.
Our own loosely defined goal is 'an interesting picture a day from around the world', with all the terms within the phrase being themselves open to loose interpretation. So, although generally in this context we use the word 'picture' to mean a photograph, we are happy to wander off to view alternative kinds of images that might also be loosely described as 'pictures': that includes letterpress prints.
Today we read that Kodak, which grew as a vendor of silver-halide photographic process materials & equipment, has acquired digital printing assets from Heidelberg, which grew as an offset lithographic printing machinery manufacturer. The dollar amounts being bandied about were mind-spinning, but clearly there is a technology swing underway that has made a business restructuring necessary at Kodak. Please take a moment to savor the absence of the word 'revolution' in this feature.
The same CreativePro.com newsletter brought the Kodak news also offered a feature by writer John D. Berry about the letterpress printers Stern&Faye, operated by the proprietors C. Christopher Stern and Jules Remedios Faye. Looking at their domain name, SternAndFaye.com, we reflected once more what a big mistake the early domain naming developers made when they omitted the ampersand and plus sign from the system. Whoever retrospectively engineers a solution to that problem will no doubt make a huge fortune, and the gratitude of partnerships everywhere.
None of this is going to make much sense to you if typography and print quality do not sing sweet music to your eyes, and you have a high tolerance for mixed metaphors! Berry's article should help with the background technology… for the mixed metaphors, just grit your teeth and try to keep smiling.
Today's thumbnail strip shows five  letterpress prints designed and printed by Christopher Stern. Not included in the thumbnail set is our own favorite among all the prints on show, 'Typographical Horse', with accompanying text by Jules Remedios Faye, which is excerpted on the web page,
"When the horse was brought in, the room fell silent, for no one had ever seen such a beast. She was enormous & gleaming as the moon. Beneath her translucent, crystalline flesh one could see jewel-like viscera rhythmically pumping as if opalescent pearls gently rolled back & forth across the length & breadth of her wide torso…"Nice to see that the web site designer, Amy E. Redmond, is also given due credit.
In addition to the wide selection of letterpress prints, which are available for purchase at around $275 for a 17.5x24 inches limited edition poster, there are fine press books from $11.95 upwards, and notecards from $12.50 for sets of six.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)