Last weekend we attended the opening of another Golden Decade exhibit, this time at the Laguna Art Museum. We couldn’t be more thrilled with it! Malcolm Warner, the Director of the museum, did a fine job of sequencing all the photos, and Stefan Kirkeby worked so hard to frame everything, and together we collected about 70 of the photographs from the book. Also on view in the exhibit’s foyer are many vintage photos by the instructors who were there at the CSFA, among them are Ansel Adams, Minor White, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Dorothea Lange. Many thanks go to Scott Nichols of the Scott Nichols Gallery and Danny and Mary Solomon for the loan of the photos from the instructors for this important exhibit!
Here are a few photos. Enjoy!
The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-55
February 19 – May 29, 2017
Between 1945 and 1955, a fortunate group of students at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco studied under a faculty that included some of the great photographers of the age—Ansel Adams, Minor White, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Lisette Model. Many of the students went on to distinguished photographic careers themselves. Accompanied by a beautiful and informative book, the exhibition showcases about sixty choice examples of the work of teachers and students active at the CSFA during this remarkable midcentury period.
Yesterday, we took a taxi to The Strand Bookstore to meet Monika at 3:30, a little early before our 4:00 booksigning date! Several other authors and photographers began to arrive. We met Ina and Phil Trager. Phil just published a book with photos he took of Ina over many years. They were absolutely fabulous. We also met to Romney Mueller Westernhagen who just published a wonderful book called “Portraits.” She is stunningly beautiful to look at and her friends who came were equally beautiful. We had a great afternoon meeting the other people there for their Steidl X Strand booksigning. It was the last day of the event. Monika Condrea, Steidl’s Marking Director for N. America and English speaking countries, put on a top notch show for four days. There were posters for each of the books on display too.
So now we head home to California. After we check out we’re planning to walk over to the Empire State Building to admire the NYC skyline and environs. We will be flying on Cloud Nine after this amazing experience here. We’re thinking of Bill Heick, Ira Latour, Cam Macauley, who wanted to share their experience from that important time in photographic history, and who asked us to help them finish their book. Our dad, Don Whyte, has had a great influence in the whole project as well! So grateful for it, and for the interest of Gerhard Steidl in publishing The Golden Decade that made this all possible. So glad we got to see him on the first night of the event. And to Monika Condrea who invited us to come and be a part of it.
Thanks to our daughter Angela and her able chauffeuring we got to SFO at 5:30 Wednesday morning in plenty of time to get through Security and to our flight by 7am.The flight was not very long, and before we knew it we were landing at JFK. We got a taxi to our hotel to drop off our stuff, quickly changed, and caught a taxi over to The Strand Bookstore, very excited to see our friends from Göttingen. The Strand is a huge, famous bookstore on Broadway and 12th Street in NYC. Here are a few photos from the event. We went to the book signing for Robert Polidori, our friend from Steidlville, who was speaking about his two new books, “Hotel Petra” and “60 Feet Road.” Gerhard Steidl introduced Robert and also Joel Sternfeld and his new book “Landscape as Longing: Queens New York.” Our book signing isn’t until Saturday.
Today we switched hotels and rested. Tomorrow we’ll go to The Met, and a few other places. More soon! Much Love from NYC!
The Golden Decade is making its way onto the world stage. Again THANKS to Stephen Goldstine and John Upton for suggesting we send the manuscript to Gerhard Steidl in Göttingen, Germany. We have found the kindred spirit art photo lover in him and his whole amazing publishing house from top on down. It’s something the other artists we’ve met there have also expressed. To whit they’re working on other books just to be able to go back and experience it all over again!! MANY THANKS also to Victor Balko, one of the very fine designers at Steidl, who redesigned The Golden Decade. It models very well in its new look!
Now, the next development in the GD (Golden Decade) story, is that Gerhard Steidl is coming in person to NYC. During the week of October 26 Steidl will take over the Strand Book Store to present new books, stage talks and book signings. Monika invited us to come for a book signing, as incredibly, the GD is among them! https://steidl.de/
At first we thought it was completely out of the question for us to go. Then we reconsidered. I’m not really sure what made that shift. Perhaps it had something to do with my father, Don Whyte….I just kept thinking about the fact that he was born in New York City all those years ago (1911) and that there was a strong pull on me to go. That’s all I can figure out to say on how to account for it. If it was from him I’m not sure. Maybe it has something to do with coming full circle, or full sphere, as one of my dear sisters Margaret says. And also, how many times will we be invited to The Strand Bookstore in NYC to sign a book? Whatever the reason, we’re all set to go! Below is the information on The Steidl Strand Program that starts Wednesday with William Eggleston signing books 4-6pm. Please come to see us if you’re in the vicinity on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 4:00-6:00!
Of course, this whole book project was sparked by us going through the contents of Don’s darkroom after his death. Ken, an avid life-long photographer himself, had a strong connection with my father because of this. He became extremely curious when he recognized photos of Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham and others among my father’s photos. He asked me about them and I said yes, of course, we had lived down the street from Ansel Adams in San Francisco. And then the research began to try to find any of the students who might still be living so we could learn more about the photos. The last 15 years have been dedicated to these students, their photographs and their stories—and to rekindling a relationship with my father and his love for art and photography.
So read this blog so you can come along with us to NYC. We’ll do out best to relay the Book Fair so you can enjoy it vicariously! We will be enjoying it thoroughly! Thanks!
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS for upcoming Golden Decade Events:
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been several days since we left Steidlville. The last couple of days, my brother and his wife came from Denmark. It was wonderful to be able to share with them some of the euphoria we were feeling fresh off the book’s publication. It was one of the most satisfying experiences of our life. The book is now at the bindery. It will be available and shipped in the latter part of May. Now our task is to market the book! Books can be ordered many ways, either at U.S. Steidl bookstore outlets, or online on amazon, Barnes & Noble, Artbook online, etc. Steidl’s marketing director, Matthias, is available for large book orders at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now we’re trying to relax and take in everything that happened. All the wonderful people we met and worked with, principal among them Gerhard Steidl himself, and the process, the amazing process, of being present as our book came into being, off the press, page by page roughly every 40 minutes, in its new beautiful form! It was like witnessing a birth! And the photos look their very best. Steidl is a master with ink; we watched him as he calibrated the tritones, and we were in awe how they perfectly pick up each photo’s wide range of values. We can’t wait until we get our copies!
Here’s a picture of why we fell in love with these photographers. About 8 of them are still around to sign the books! Stefan Kirkeby is planning an exhibit for just this purpose in the fall. So Please Stay tuned!
It wasn’t necessary to come to the Print Room super early today because Henry Leutwyler’s book, “Objects,” has to be printed first! Or at least the first side of his sheets. Then while that part is drying, the printers will go back to printing our book! Henry felt really bad about pushing us off the press, but since he had come all the way from Tokyo Steidl felt he should put his book on the press. And we will be here long enough to still finish ours. So there it is. We just had to wait. But to be honest, we had a wonderful time getting to know Henry and hear his stories. Maybe he was entertaining us because he felt bad, or maybe he’s just fun –We think the latter! Henry gave us all kinds of ideas about where we could look for galleries for The Golden Decade. He had lots of nice things to say about the photographers’ work in the book.
Since the printer Andreas told us that our book wouldn’t go aback on the press until after 2 p.m., we decided to do a little shopping and walk around.
We got back at 1:30 just in time for lunch. Rudy served a super good salad of tomatoes and mozarella, noodles with eggplant sauce and aged Parmasiano. The dessert was fresh berries and light yoghurt. We definitely high off the hog here! Except all the meals are extremely low in fat. Everything is organic and fresh. This is because of Rudi’s meal planning and good taste. He also has a keen eye for beauty. He is also a photographer working on his craft.
Right after lunch we got back on the press. In between press checks that occur about every 40 minutes, we visited the rest of the afternoon with Henry and then Robert Polidori came. The two of them together, being very old friends, are loads of fun with hilarious stories and observations! Heathe, who met us at the train last June, and Claudia who is in charge of press coverage, stopped by. When Henry and Polidori went off to dinner it was time to say Bye to Henry as he’s leaving in the morning. It’s amazing how you can make fast friends with some people in the course of a day! That’s how it’s been with Henry! And Polidori too!
Now it’s after 10:30 p.m. and the printers’ night shift just changed. We’re coming along well and should be finished printing by 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. We are excited to see the F&G’s (folded and gathered) of the book by sometime tomorrow.
My dear brother and sister-in-law, Mike & Sue, are due to arrive from their home in Copenhagen by train in Göttingen 14:15. It was so nice of them to come while we were here printing the book. We will get to stay over night at Gebhard’s Hotel, a very old family-run hotel inside the old city walls. Mike & Sue will leave the next day, Saturday, and so will we. They will go North to Copenhagen, and we will head South to Frankfurt. In Frankfurt we will stay overnight and then fly out to SFO the next morning. This is the last day for our blog as it will be too busy tomorrow. The first run of the GOLDEN DECADE BOOK will be completely printed by tomorrow and we will have a comp of the book to take home. It seems incredible to be saying this, but it’s absolutely TRUE!
It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here since Saturday! As soon as we got to Steidlville we’ve been working non-stop, with maybe a little sleep, but it’s hard to sleep because we’re too excited. So may as well forget about a normal night’s sleep; we don’t even know what that is right now! There’s too much to learn and be part of! We’re like little children who don’t want to go to sleep!
Last night we got out for a walk. The buildings are so fun! If you really look at them they’re filled with carvings and artwork! They are works of art, one after the other, just sitting there waiting to be looked at and appreciated, and enjoyed. And yet people just walk by…eating, carrying bags. It doesn’t make sense! It’s just home to them, but it’s like a little piece of heaven for us!
This morning we arrived in the Print Shop around 7 a.m. where sheets from last night were waiting for us. The photos from my dad were there along with the sections by John Upton, George Wallace, Charles Wong, and Leonard Zielaskiewicz! All the photos look incredibly beautiful! The tri-tones bring out all the detail, and nothing is plugged or flat!
We are not alone now in the Steidl Library. Henry Leutwyler, an Italian Swiss photographer is also here doing a book named “Objects.” This book has photographs he has taken of things from the last years such as the wallet that was in James Dean’s pocket when he died, and the gun that shot John Lennon, just to give a small inkling of the content. He lives in New York but travels the world.
He just got here last night from Tokyo by way of Zurich. Another book he has printed with Steidl has articles worn by Michael Jackson. He has done a stunning book on Ballet as well. He’s a wonderful person–and a gifted photographer. He entertained us with many great stories as we waited for our books to be printed.
Rudi served another sublime lunch at about 2:30. There was fresh, first of the season, white asparagus topped with a light vinaigrette and lemon and different kinds of mustard seed. Along with this were potatoes quartered and boiled to perfection. The desert was a fresh home-made by Rudi lemon tart, full of flavor! I am remiss that I didn’t take a photo of the asparagus. I must have been too interested in eating it!
Victor, the Steidl book designer for The Golden Decade, came and dined with us. Steidl thinks of everything! It is such a nice touch to invite the designer to have lunch with the author(s). It was great for us to have the chance to tell Victor how happy we are with the book and all his hard work! And to have time to sit with him apart from the work, and to thank him in person.
Henry was with us for lunch too, and then Gerhard came in and ate his lunch quickly. We have been lucky to have him for lunch each day so far. But tomorrow he will be traveling and we probably won’t see him before we have to leave. But who knows?
We should have a copy of the book completely folded and gathered (F&G) by either tomorrow or Friday. We’ll be able to bring it home with us. The book will be available for shipping by May, 2016!
Again, the day has been very full, and the eyes are longing to close. Tomorrow will be another busy day and night. Better get some sleep while we can.
Here’s Dustere Street where Steidl’s Print House is located.
We arrived back in the Print Shop at 7 this morning. The first sheet we checked at 7:30 was the first double-sided sheet. The photos on it were by Ruth-Marion Baruch and John Bertolino. Everything that had been printed overnight looked beautiful. Gerhard told us we could stay up and check each sheet all night, but since we’d been checking them all day and every image was perfect, he said it probably wasn’t necessary, so went with that.
From 7:30 to 1:10 we checked 8 more sheets, roughly every 40 minutes, we’d get the call to “Come down to the Print Shop” that comes in on the phone in the Library. We just drop whatever we’re doing and make our way down the stairs. The printers display the sheet on the drafting table by the printer and we look at it and give our OK. And we take turns! The printers are really delightful and extremely friendly and open, and they seem amused.
Nadine came and told us there would be a couple of women coming from the Museum for Art and Crafts (Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe) in Hamburg. They are working with Steidl on a large catalog of works from the museum’s total collection. The women did come and they were lovely. Esther is the Head of Photography and New Media Department, and Lena is the designer who will be working on the book. We chatted with them for a little while and then Rudi said it was time for lunch. We had a great time getting to know them and soon Gerhard came to join us.
After lunch Gerhard said he had to put another project on the printer for Chanel so we would be told when to come back, probably in a few hours. Gerhard, Esther and Lena went to the Library to discuss their project so Ken and I went to the apartment to rest. We both took naps!
We went back over to the Library at 5:00. Gerhard told us that the project for Chanel would be done later so we could go and have dinner or whatever and they would call us when the printers would be working on the book again. So we took a walk around the Old City. We came back and had dinner in the apartment from food we’d picked up from the local market. At just after 10 p.m., Florian the printer called us and said they had a proof ready. So we went next door and of course everything looked perfect. We told them that just like last night, we were sure we didn’t need to look at each sheet during the night. Each sheet looks better than any print we’ve seen to date. Steidl fine tuned the press to print these photos beautifully. We’re ecstatic! So we said we’d be back at 7 in the morning, and thanked them, and bade them Gute Naght!
This morning we got up at 6:30 a.m. and prepared to go next door by 7:30 a.m., as prescribed yesterday by Gerhard, but he called us at 7:20 and said to meet him in the Print Shop because they were ready for us! Needless to say, we grabbed our things and dashed next door for our first full day of printing. There we met Andreas and Arne who were our printers on the first shift.
Gerhard came in and immediately began checking the first press sheets. He calibrated the presses. He made some adjustments electronically with a tool that reads the color bars along the bottom of the sheet. It tells how much of each ink is being put on. They run the tri-tone, a black, and a couple of grays, the gold, then the varnish. The specs and instructions were taped up on the enormous printer!
We watched as the first sheet came off the press. It was photos from Ruth-Marion Baruch’s section. We checked them and thought they looked beautiful. It’s incredible how well Steidl is able to achieve the quality he does, He has made it his life’s passion to be the best printer he can be, and he really shines when you see him in action.
We went back up to the library and Gerhard brought us the front and back cover. We had to come up with a small paragraph of text for the back cover right away, describing what the book is about.
We spent most of the day in the library waiting for a call from the Press Room to come down and approve the latest press sheet. Each sheet took about 45 minutes, so while the book is on the press, we need to stay nearby.
We ran into Robert Polidori in the Print Room at the 2nd Press Check at about 9:20. It was a nice coincidence as we’d met him last time we were here in July and had dinner with him and his wife and daughter on Ken’s Birthday. If you haven’t seen his photography before, it’s wonderful, we highly recommend it. We then went upstairs to meet with Victor about the cover. We approved everything.
We met Nadine, who organizes exhibitions among her other duties at Steidl.
We will now try to get some sleep. Meant to add more pictures but can’t keep eyes open! The presses will be running all night. There are 35 signatures in the book and when we left this evening, 14 had been done, on the first side only. We might have to go in the Print Shop during the night, we don’t know. For now we will sign off – !