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a friend at the binder gets me a peek/it’s almost as good as being there…

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So here I am in Brooklyn on this hot and sultry day. I get an email from my friend, the photographer and curator Machiel Botman. He’s in Amsterdam and he’s over at a book binder (Van Waarden—Machiel says “the best in Holland”) looking to get material to make a final dummy for a book he’s doing with Nazraeli later this year/earlier next. And what does he see? They are working on binding my book. You can see the cover of Oculus being cut and prepared (eventually to be wedded with linen for a half linen/half image cover). Some signatures in there at the end…

I have to say, not being on press was a little tough. All the work that went into the book, all the decisions about design and sequence, content and color correction, all comes into play and is laid bare and made manifest and permanent—and there is no going back. And if you are the least of a control freak about these sort of things, as I am, you’d want to be there to see how it’s going—good or bad—even if it’s too late to do anything about it.  But Noorderlicht’s curator, Wim Melis, who oversaw the seperations personally and checked everything against the proofs I sent was there in my stead. He went on press for the most critical of images to make sure everything was going ok. He said it was a little tough to get the night ocean pictures just right, but he thought they “nailed it.” I also had the Dutch designer Hans Miedema keeping an eye out for me on press. Reports last week were that the printing looked great. And Machiel seconded that today with his unsolicited and spontaneous report from the field in Amsterdam.

What were the chances of Machiel running into Oculus then and there?! Outside of the publisher, he’s the only person that saw the dummy in The Netherlands… At least for this project I’ve got friends in the right places. And I have to thank them all.

About kenschles

Ken Schles is the author of Invisible City (1988; reprint 2015 and 2016), The Geometry of Innocence (2001), A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures In Our Heads (2007), Oculus (2011) and Night Walk (2015 and 2016). His work has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Prize, exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art, noted by the New York Times Book Review, cited in histories of the medium (Parr/Badger, Auer & Auer, 10x10 American Photobooks) and issued by some of the foremost publishers of our time (Steidl, Hatje Cantz, Twelvetrees Press). They're considered “intellectual milestones in photography” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), “hellishly brilliant” (The New Yorker). Ken Schles’ work is included in private and public collections such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Rijksmuseum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museo d"Arte Contemporanea (MACRO) Testaccio Museum, and more than 100 other museum and library collections world-wide. 
 Ken Schles is a NYFA Fellow. http://www.kenschles.com


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