I/Eye: On Photography

Elemental Ink

Posted in Artisans & Merchants by Sheila Newbery on August 19, 2009

I have to confess that before I photographed Peter Koch of Peter Koch Printers in Berkeley, I’d never observed a printing press in action.  I’d heard from photographer friends about the importance of being on press when a book is run, the idea being that you can get the printer to tweak the ink levels—a supervision that’s  sometimes welcomed, sometimes not.  And, once before, I’d seen a press—a beautiful old letterpress that belonged to John McBride of Berkeley—that stood  gleaming in silence, like a treasured vintage car.  So, watching the tractor-sized machine shown here in action was my initiation into the inky rites and mysteries of book-making.

Koch’s interest lies in producing works  that are both texts and art objects.  The machines he uses for his printing projects are hardly incidental: read here about his transporting an antique Italian printing press from a  museum in Cornuda, Italy, to the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica Venezia along the Grand Canal  for the printing (2006) of Joseph Brodsky’s Watermark (illustrated by Robert Morgan).

Koch is also a founder of  The Codex Foundation.

Peter Koch at work (Berkeley, 2006) © Sheila Newbery

Peter Koch at work (Berkeley, 2006) © Sheila Newbery

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One Response

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  1. Loekie said, on April 24, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Love the serie!!

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