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 – !
This morning we each awoke from at least 10 hours of deep sleep. It was 6:00 a.m. We got up, got dressed, packed up, and then emailed Gerhard that we were here in Göttingen and ready to meet him. Then we went to breakfast and kept a close eye for an email response. About an hour later here’s what he wrote back: “Come in, I am in the Publishing House. G”
So we paid our bill and took off, pulling our luggage behind us just like you see so many others in this college town. On the way we just couldn’t resist taking a few photos.
When we got to the Publishing House, the door was locked. As we were standing there wondering what to do, we heard his voice saying “Hello!” When we looked out on the street it was him! He had just stepped out for a minute. We greeted one another with hugs. It was so good to see him again!
The first thing he did was give us both keys to our room and also to the Publishing House. We took our bags up to the Gunther Grasse rooms. Again he graced us with these amazingly historical rooms! We took our bags up the three flights of stairs to the very top rooms. And we feel very much at home here. It’s wonderful how comfortable we are. Then we went over to the Publishing House where Gerhard gave us another print out of the entire book to look through and check. When we were finished with that about an hour later, we took it to him, and he then gave us another copy of the book, but this time it was printed out on an Epson printer, and we were only to check the photos! That took quite a bit longer. We made notes on a few photos that were a little dark and flat. When Gerhard came back, he said they would print fine. He answered our questions and explained some things about how the photos would be printed. He simply told us to come back in the morning at 7:30. Then the printing will begin. When we were leaving the library where we had met, he said that he knew we had waited a long time….we told him it was worth the wait!
We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, the P Cafe. It’s convenient because it’s just around the corner. We can even see it through the courtyard from the kitchen window!
On the walk back we stopped to look at the museum that Steidl assembled for his friend Gunther Grasse. These rooms were where Gunther stayed when he came to publish at Steidl. There are many of his wonderful drawings and books here! It’s like living in the museum!
Tomorrow we’ll have some final press sheets in hand! We’ll try to send a picture! We’re excited!
Hello from the center of Germany, in the Medieval City of Göttingen. The trip over was very easy, however we were wedged into spaces that would be just fine for 8 year old children!
What a relief to catch the train in Frankfurt and be able to stretch out and walk and enjoy plenty of room!
We are struck by the hospitality and warmth of the German people. On the flight over, we met Isabel, Felix and Baby Alexander just returning from a 5-week trip around the world.At every turn we’ve been met by people willing to help. Manuel, a physicist we sat next to on the plane helped us to the ICE train when we got to Frankfurt. Walter, a Mars researcher from Göttingen, helped us get off the train at the right spot. Nina and David shared a compartment on the 2-hour train trip from Frankfurt to Göttingen. Nina, who spent six months working on an internship in Palo Alto last year, helped us get our luggage up on the train rack. David talked about his work as an interpreter helping in refugee camps. Both were lovely and engaging as the German countryside rolled along as the backdrop.
We’re in a cosy hotel sleeping off jet lag. Ken grabbed his camera and walked around the old city for a while but I was so tired I went right to sleep. The purpose of this trip commences tomorrow as we meet Steidl face-to-face and learn the next steps in this amazing adventure.
Thank you John Upton and Stephen Goldstine for recommending we submit the book to Steidl for publication – three years ago. And of course, we are mindful of Bill Heick, Ira Latour, Cameron Macauley, (and my dad, Don Whyte). How much they themselves would have loved to be here printing their book! We are now their emissaries, and coming here to represent the Golden Decade photographers is an honor and privilege.
After just over three years in the queue of Steidl Publishing House, we have received a publishing date—for next week! We’re leaving for Steidlville this Friday, April 8th, and will be printing next Monday through Wednesday—leaving on Thursday. We will keep you up-to-date with us on this blog so check every day if you’re interested. We might be a bit groggy at times as this is a round-the-clock printing endeavor! We witnessed the other photographers at work on their books last summer so we know we’re in for a gruelling three days. That’s why Steidl has the authors stay at Steidlville because the presses run steadily, day and night. New print crews arrive fresh for their shift. Steidl can’t be fishing around Göttingen in the middle of the night for people to come and do a press check. But hey, these are most definitely (as my sister Margaret dutifully reminds us) “The problems of the fortunate!”
Right now we’re in the midst of making trip plans. After leaving Steidlville on Thursday, we are hoping to connect in Göttingen with our brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Sue, who will just be on their way back to Copenhagen from Bangledesh where they were visiting their son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Sille and Kids, for Selma’s Birthday!
Next time you hear from us will be from Germany, probably on Sunday!