Dario with Dario

 

 

Dario promoting Douglas Gayeton's portrait of Dario- JPG

Douglas Gayeton's portrait of Dario Cecchini (also made famous in Bill Buford's HEAT) sold at a Marin Organic aucti

 

 

On Sunday, October 26th Marin Organic held an auction in Sausalito. Lena couldn’t be there, but we loved the description from Adrienne Baumann from Marin: 

“The auction of Douglas photo of Dario turned into a 20-minute moving and comical sketch as guests continued to add their own donations to the image to give the “package” more value.  First, Kim and Dario added a dinner at their restaurant in Panzano and a butchering class at the Macelleria, the Cavallo Point added a weekend at the Lodge with dinner, a spa treatment and cooking classes included, then Dan of Clark Summit added a suckling pig, Alice Waters added a dinner for two in the kitchen of Chez Panisse, Drakes Bay added a tour and tasting at their oyster farm, Sue and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl added three months of artisan cheese delivered to your door, and on and on until the entire package sold for $15,000! “

Each Book Presents its Own Challenges for the Designer

By Greg Wakabayashi

Among the books I designed during the past several months are SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town, photographs and text by Douglas Gayeton, and Elvis 1956, photographs by Alfred Wertheimer. As I have a particular passion for photography these are exactly the kinds of books that most gratify me to be able to work on. 

Gayeton’s images were unlike anything I had worked with before. Because there was so much to look at in each piece I knew from the outset that as a designer my primary concern was to not compete with or distract from the images. I actually always bear this in mind for every book I do, but in this case it was particularly important because the viewer’s attention had to be able to focus on the images to be able to appreciate them in full. The images, covered with text in Douglas’s uniquely written–more accurately etched–style, were themselves busy enough that it was clear to me that the design of the book around them had to be simpler. I settled on the general parameters of a design fairly quickly–typefaces, format, colors.

One question raised was do we include secondary images to accompany the additional typeset text in the book. Douglas wasn’t so sure, primarily because he did not want people confusing his “art” images with the regular photos that would help illustrate the text that provided a more detailed context. I assured him that would not happen. His artwork was unique enough in style to separate itself from anything else. He was also concerned that the secondary images simply were not of good enough quality–soft, grainy, etc. We were careful not to use anything of marginal quality too large and most of the images were intended to be small anyway. It was actually my hope that the inclusion of the secondary images would enhance Douglas’s artwork by giving it something to compare to. By having the secondary images there with his artwork people would clearly see just how different and unique his work is. The editor, Katrina Fried, had concurrently wanted the inclusion of the secondary images for editorial reasons and when we saw the proofs we knew we had both been right–that including the secondary images would enhance the experience of the book in both the ways we had wanted.

There were a variety of design challenges in this book but all were resolved without much pain as Douglas proved to be a wonderful collaborator. He fought for what he wanted but let us do the same, realizing that we were working together toward a common goal–a beautiful book that did justice to the years of work he had put into his images. 

 

SLOW: Because so many of the primary images were long horizontals...

SLOW: Because so many of the primary images were long horizontals...

...we included six gatefolds to showcase some of them.

...we included six gatefolds to showcase some of them.

The secondary images helped to both illustrate the accompanying text and emphasize the unique qualities of the primary artwork.

The secondary images helped to both illustrate the accompanying text and emphasize the unique qualities of the primary artwork.

We also decided to use some close-up details of some images...

We also decided to use some close-up details of some images...

 

...to offer an occasional change of pace, visually speaking.

...to offer an occasional change of pace, visually speaking.

Elvis 1956 was a very different experience. I was already familiar with the photographs. And the task before us was to create what is essentially a catalog of the images that are included in the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Elvis at 21.” Such catalogs are often done in a relatively straightforward fashion–show the images as they appear in the show, (often uncropped) as catalogs are often little more than a faithful record of what people see in the exhibition along with added curatorial and editorial text.

I came into the project after my brother, Clark, had designed a cover that everyone had settled on. It was originally Clark’s book to design but schedules changed and it fell onto my plate. I looked at the cover and decided the material would be better served by a more dynamic presentation than many exhibition catalogs result in. I resolved not to be restricted by being unable to crop the photos where it served a purpose, in most cases so that the images could fill the entire page of spread.

The exhibition itself was organized chronologically to follow Wetheimer’s experience following Elvis from New York to Memphis. The book would follow that as well. The exhibition included intermittent panels of interstitial text, as well as Wertheimer’s own words as he described the experience. The result is a book that feels more like the journey the exhibition itself is intended to be and not just a catalog of its content. Many of the images are full or partial bleed, which gives the viewer the opportunity to imagine what lies beyond the edges of the page. The intention was to make the book feel bigger than it is and the experience of it more dynamic. Mindful of the fact that this is an exhibition catalog, we included a thumbnail gallery at the back that shows all of the images uncropped. These thumbnails are accompanied by Wertheimer’s captions, explaining in more detail the context of each photograph. In the end we were all quite pleased when we saw the first finished books. 

 

Elvis 1956: The book includes insightful text often a part of exhibition catalogs.

Elvis 1956: The book includes insightful text often a part of exhibition catalogs.

We also included the general organization and guide text from the exhibition itself.

We also included the general organization and guide text from the exhibition itself.

As well, Wertheimer's own voice appears in pull quotes that reinforce the intimacy of his perspective as he followed Elvis around.

As well, Wertheimer's own voice appears in pull quotes that reinforce the intimacy of his perspective as he followed Elvis around.

 

Many images bleed off the page--some dramatically cropped--unrestricted by the more conventional approach to exhibition catalogs that show all images uncropped.

Many images bleed off the page--some dramatically cropped--unrestricted by the more conventional approach to exhibition catalogs that show all images uncropped.

But, in a nod to tradition, the full, uncropped images are catalogued as thumbnails in the back with captions by the photographer.

But, in a nod to tradition, the full, uncropped images are catalogued as thumbnails in the back with captions by the photographer.

An Interview with Lena

Lena just did an interview for Commitment that is full of wonderful, engaging things to do with the Internet-addicted generation of grandkids. She’s discussing our Little Big Book for Grandmothers but now she can put all of those perfect tips to use! This is what she has to say about brand new baby George: 

On September 22 my oldest daughter Natasha and their husband Gabe adopted a newborn. His name is George after my dad (playwright and director, George Tabori). With a shock of black hair, 8lbs, 9 oz and 20” long, he has now arrived in New York peaceful and astonishing. She knows things I didn’t know as a mother — swaddling, not allowing him to sleep on his stomach— and has things I never had — pampers that are designed not to irritate his umbilical cord, a stroller that comes apart to be a car seat or a newborn’s bed. Too much stuff, I am fairly sure but still some remarkable things.

My favorite bit of advice from the interview? “If you have love and kindness and truthfulness and integrity in your life, no matter what gets taken away, you will be full.”

 

Two exceedingly happy grandmothers!!

Two exceedingly happy grandmothers!!

 

 

Welcome, baby George! Hopefully there will be many other lucky grandchildren who share in the delights Lena offers in her book.

what’s going on!

October 6. Fall is a busy time of year for Welcome. For our publishing list, we’re deep in publicity and marketing for Fall 09 titles…tons of activity on SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town. We’re chasing special sales, confirming print quantities and sending out materials to printers on spring titles (10th anniversary edition of Little Big Book for Moms, My Mother’s Clothes….). We are finalizing our Fall 2010 list, sending out contracts, running p&ls, shaping and thinking about these new books, arguing over who’s going to oversee or design what!  Things can still be added or dropped but right now we are excited about another book from Douglas Gayeton, 2 potential food related books by new creators, a Bob Dylan photography books, and another book from Paige Peterson and Chris Cerf to follow their wonderful BLACKIE. We have deadlines out to our creators for materials and will wrestle materials into focused sample spreads and sales materials come November. Summer 2010 materials will go to printer in these next few months (Napa, Canyons Mini edition, My Best Doggie…). Things start to get crazier early part of year leading up to complete craziness as Fall books go to printer April/May…a little bit of a breather over summer to lift our heads and reflect and be inspired again and it all starts again!!! Add this into the producing and packaging part of Welcome’s business…it is incredible that Welcome’s been at it for almost 30 years. We LOVE what we do: working with creators and publishing/producing beatiful books to satisfy the senses and the mind. Nothing beats holding a newly printed Welcome volume in your hands. Keep an eye on us! Alice