3rd Day of Printing at Steidl

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!

Building in Gottingen
Building in Gottingen
Lovely wood carving on building corner. Ken taking photos under a building. Yes, that’s him across the street!

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!

Ken in Print Shop.
Ken in the Print Shop.

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.

Henry and Ken.
Henry Leutwyler and Ken in the Library.

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.

Henry and Nadine in the Library. Henry and Victoria in the Library.

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.

Lemon tart
Home-made lemon tart, made just this morning by Rudi!

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?

Vic, Gerhard, Ken.
Vic, Gerhard, Ken.

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.

Much Love & Gratitude!

Ken & Victoria


2nd Day of Printing at Steidl

Here’s Dustere Street where Steidl’s Print House is located.

Dustere Street.
Dustere Street.

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.

Victoria with print sheets.
Victoria looking at the print sheets and making our way back up the stairs to the Library from the Print Shop.

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.

Ken & Victoria OK'ing the sheets
Ken & Victoria “OK-ing” each sheet for the printers.

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.

Lena, Esther and Victoria .
Lena, Esther and Victoria in the dining room.

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!

Rudi in the Library. Ken in the Print Shop.
Rudi in the Library. Ken in the Print Shop with the cardboard for our book.
Nadine, Ken.
Ken and Nadine looking at book sheets. Ken looking at one of David Johnson’s sheets.

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!


First Day of Printing at Steidl

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.

Steidl, Arne, Andreas and Ken
Steidl, Arne, Andreas and Ken
Ken & Victoria with 1st sheet of the book, Steidl taping up the specs for the printers.
Ken & Victoria with 1st sheet of the book, Steidl taping up the specs for the printers.

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.

Victoria with first sheets of the day.
Victoria holding press sheet from Ben Chinn. In the background are other stacks of Golden Decade press sheets.

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.

Victoria with Florian the printer
Victoria with Florian the printer on the second shift.

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.

Ken holding Ben Chinn plate. Ken with cover.
Ken holding Ben Chinn plate. Ken with cover.

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.

Victoria with Robert Polidori, Nadine, and Karl Lagerfeld
Victoria with Robert Polidori, Nadine, and Karl Lagerfeld.

We met Nadine, who organizes exhibitions among her other duties at Steidl.

Andreas and Arne working together on the press.
Andreas and Arne working together on the press.

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 – !

Much Love,

Gute Nacht!

Victoria & Ken

Sunday in Göttingen

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”

Hotel Stadt Hannover
View from the window of Hotel Stadt Hannover. Breakfast at the hotel.

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.

Fish and Hand statue.
Fish and Hand statue in front of an old church.

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!

In the Steidl Library.
In the Steidl Library checking the photo proofs.
Ken at the P Cafe.
Ken at the P Cafe.

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!

The Gunther Grasse Museum next door to Steidl.
The Gunther Grasse Museum next door to Steidl.

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!

Gute Naght! And All Best Wishes from Steidlville,

Ken & Victoria

Outside our window.
The view outside our window. Work is underway to renovate the building next door.

Here in Göttingen Again

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!

Ken & Victoria
On the flight from SFO to Frankfurt.


Ken & Victoria
Frankfurt – from flight to train.

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.

Felix, Isabel and baby Alexander. David and Nina.
Felix, Isabel and baby Alexander. David and Nina.

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.

Until tomorrow!

Leaving for Gottingen this Friday!

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!

Preparing to return to Germany

The Golden Decade has been thoroughly redesigned by the team at Steidl! We are excited about all the changes. The plan now is for us to go back to Gottingen, Germany for the press run! We await word from Steidl himself. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear and we’ll try to keep the blog going while we’re there.

Thank You to so many people! We haven’t done any of this alone. We’ve leaned on many people. Everyone seems to be edified by the Golden Decade photographers and their stories. We think so often of Bill Heick, Ben Chinn, Cam Macauley and Ira Latour who introduced us to this project; and of course, my dad, Don Whyte who was one of the lucky students at the CSFA so long ago. We sense their presence and think they’re smiling.

This has been a long and deep learning experience. We look ahead to the next stages of this amazing journey.

We send you all our best wishes.
Ken & VictoriaBall_Golden_Decade_cover

Day 5 at Steidl – Last Day!

We woke up this morning to a huge thunder and lightning storm. It went right over our heads for about an hour. Then the rest of the day was muggy! It was hard to focus up on the fourth floor in the heat. Steidl put a portable air cooler in the library area which helped a lot.

We had our last meeting with Victor to go over what still needed to be delivered by us. One more edit of text is all that’s allowed before the book goes to press. He’ll finalize the design and place the photos and portfolio plates.  They are closed during the month of August as is the custom in Europe. It looks like we will be returning for the press run after that. Date to be determined.

We had our last meeting with Steidl at about 7pm to discuss the schedule. He said he was pleased with the book and he said that HE would buy it! So with that we said goodbye. Steidl called a taxi for us and helped us load our luggage and paid the taxi driver. The last we saw of Steidl was him with a big smile on his face! What a memory to take with us!

We had planned to go to Belgium but instead we decided to stay another day in Gottingen as we hadn’t had a chance to see much of this wonderful city. We stayed at Gebhard’s Hotel near the edge of the city and close to the train station. We had a wonderful time exploring the old city. It was still hot and we learned that much of Europe was experiencing a record heat wave.

Since this is that last day of our Steidl adventure for now, we’ll leave you here and take this blog up again when we go to press. If you’re interested in the rest of our current trip you can follow us on facebook. Thanks for traveling along with us on this incredible adventure! To be continued. . .

Early morning thunderstorm!
Victoria in the library.
Victoria in the library.
Lunetta, Anna & Ken working in the library.
Lunetta, Ken, Anna working.
Salmon and shrimp cooked to perfection!
Ken working on the final layout!

Day 4 at Steidl

It was Ken’s Birthday today and we did celebrate it! But it’s just another day in Steidlville so we spent the day working on making edits to the new layout. It’s a different looking book but a great improvement we think.  It is all an amazing whirlwind of activity. There are still 3 teams in various phases of getting their books finished. We are all working together in the top floor of the building.

We jockey for working space, time with the designers, and try to figure out if we have any time to run an errand. We are all expected to be here so that when any of the production or printing staff needs us we are available.  It is necessary because we are usually only here for a week at a time and it has to run on schedule as the Germans are so great at doing.  And then there are the Lagerfield or Chanel jobs that come in and take precedent over all of us, as they pay the bills!

Our friendships with the other teams are multiplying. We met a new  person today–Robert Polidori http://www.robertpolidori.com/ and his wife and daughter. We went out to dinner for Ken’s birthday to Gephard’s Restaurant and Hotel and as soon as we sat down, we recognized Robert from meeting him at Steidl today. They are really fun! They insisted that we join them at their table and we’re so glad we did! We had a long and rich conversation. Afterwards we ran into Lunetta at the ATM and then we walked home together. She was on her way back to work on her project.

It’s been super hot here, in the upper 90s. The trains were affected and running an hour late (they are never late!), and the worst thing was that the press was down. The big print runs for Chanel, Fendi and Lagerfeld were stopped! And then of course Lunetta and Josh’s book was stopped! Steidl and the printing crew were still there when we came back from dinner at around 10 last night. We don’t know yet how late they were up working.

Today, unbelievably, is our last day of work. We have to get all the photos placed before we go. It will be sad to leave this dear place.

We are constantly stopping to appreciate the quality of German engineering. Just looking at the windows, the way they can open two ways. It’s ingenious! We could go on and on.  We will add more about that later! Gotta go!

Maren coming to work!
Maren coming to work!
Ken and Victor working.
Ken and Victor working.
Lots of work!
Lots of work!
By Victor's computer.
By Victor’s computer.
A ladybug came in on Robert Polidori's lapel!
A ladybug came in on Robert Polidori’s lapel!
Delicious to the palate and exquisite to the eyes! Rudi's lunches surprise us!
Delicious to the palate and exquisite to the eyes! Rudi’s lunches surprise us!
Lunetta and the main course.
Lunetta and the main course.
On the way to dinner.
On the way to dinner.
Gephard's Restaurant and Hotel.  Known to be the best schnitzel in town!
Gebhard’s Restaurant and Hotel. Known to be the best schnitzel in town!
We joined them for dinner.
We joined the Polidori’s for dinner.
Happy Birthday Ken! You are still loved at 64!
Happy Birthday Ken! You are still loved at 64!


A Very Good Birthday!
A Very Good Birthday!





Day 3 at Steidl

Hi Friends! thank you for all your sweet messages of encouragement. We love hearing from you!

We keep waking up and pinching ourselves and realizing how amazing it is that we’re here. It’s Ken’s birthday today and he woke up staying in the rooms that Gunter Grass–Nobel prize winner for literature–used to stay in when he came to Steidl. He just passed away last month. He was a very dear friend of Steidl.

We had a long day yesterday working on text and photo sequencing. Got back at about 11. We worked 14 hours straight. We didn’t have much time to take photos but we’re including a few.

The reason there’s a chef here is that people just work non-stop and they get calls all throughout the day when they have to come to do a press check or work out the on-going details with the designers working along-side Steidl. Steidl oversees everything and is attentive to every nuance of each project. His generosity is present in all things here from the rooms provided, the lunches, constant water and every comfort, all to facilitate the work. We’re nourished by this and feel so humbled and happy to be part of this.

A little tid-bit of serendipity is that Anna Mia Davidson, the daughter of Bruce Davidson (Magnum photographer), is here working on a new book of her photos of Cuba. We got a message from our dear niece Holly that she can’t believe we’re here with Anna! It turns out they were housemates for many years in Seattle! Wow!

Must get going to deliver the text to Victor! Bye for now. And much Love!




All books by Gunter Grass. A book was in the final preparations right before he died and was published posthumously.




Rudi the chef preparing today's lunch menu. He has kept all his menus since many years he's been here. He even published a book about menus and the people who have come to Steidl.
Rudi the chef preparing today’s lunch menu. He has kept all his menus since many years he’s been here. He even published a book about menus and the people who have come to Steidl.