Photographing Glenn Fleishman’s “Hands On” Letterpress Book

Adobe Create has published a photo essay I made about Glenn Fleishman’s hand-printed book “Hands On: The Original Digital.” I’ve got your printing-fetish shots right here!

I’m excited to share something new with you. Adobe Create, the online magazine about art, publishing, and pretty much any creative topic that involves Adobe’s products, has just published a new photo essay of mine: Printing a Book One Page at a Time. It’s all about my friend Glenn Fleishman as he hand-printed portions of his new book Hands On: The Original Digital.

If you enjoy the history of publishing, or simply lust for vintage print-fetish photography, you’ll love this.

Hands-On contains several of Glenn’s articles, some previously unpublished, that look at aspects of publishing history, such as the origin of SHOUTY CAPS (more than a century ago), where “This page intentionally left blank” comes from, and more. Glenn created a successful Kickstarter campaign for Hands On, which involved him personally hand-printing the entire thing on vintage presses, as well as incorporating new technologies like 3D laser cutting.

He’s currently the Designer in Residence in the letterpress program at Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts. When he started printing, I asked if I could hang out and photograph the process. As you’ll see, it’s a beautiful space. I had as much fun shooting the textures and miscellanea as I did capturing Glenn at work.

01 Ink Station

The ink mixing station at the School of Visual Concepts.

I loved how well the photos turned out—so much that I pitched the idea of a feature to the editor of Adobe Create, Terri Stone. She and the editorial board also liked the shots, and we narrowed the selection down to the dozen that appear at the site. If you haven’t yet clicked over, here’s another chance: Printing a Book One Page at a Time. I’m thrilled at how it turned out.

Of course, I shot many more photos than that, so here are a few others that didn’t make the initial cut (click any image to view them larger in a slideshow).

All of the hand-printed books are spoken for from the Kickstarter campaign, but Glenn is selling the tome as an ebook by itself or with a specially-printed keepsake. He’s had enough interest in the project that he’s currently planning an offset edition, with a crowdfunding campaign scheduled for mid-September.

Behind the scenes: I shot all of these using a FujiFilm X-T1 mirrorless camera using an assortment of lenses: a Fujinon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, a Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, and a Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8. I mounted a trusty old Nikon SB-800 speedlight onto a light stand and bounced the light into a 24-inch umbrella, sometimes supplementing the light with a second speedlight and umbrella on another stand. I fired the Nikon flash using a pair of Phoenix Ares wireless triggers (which I finally broke down and bought after fighting with cheaper wireless triggers over the years). When I used the second flash, I set it to be triggered when it detected the first flash.

If you’re interested in purchasing prints of any of these images, including the ones featured at Adobe Create, contact me.

I want to express my thanks to Glenn and to the great folks at the School of Visual Concepts for allowing me to spend time in the press room. If you’re in Seattle, definitely check out SVC’s classes, or contact them to see if you can see the presses for yourself.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

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