On Saturday, several of my book arts* students and I caught the second screening of How to Make a Book with Steidl, a documentary about one of the most important publishers of photography of the 21st century, at A Design Film Festival 2011. A brief synopsis: filmmakers Jörg Adolph and Gereon Wetzel “follow Gerhard Steidl over a year at his publishing house in Germany. Working with artists and celebrities such as Karl Lagerfield, Robert Frank, Gunter Grass, and Joel Sternfeld, Steidl presents as a meticulous, curt technician who puts his soul into the fragile processes of capturing creativity in a book. The film portrays scenes between Steidl and the artists in action, revealing the playful yet exacting process of their creative collaboration.”
The film was so-so; a number of us found it choppy and unfulfilling. No matter. We had a lively discussion after about our mutual admiration of Steidl’s dedication to his craft.
How I wish I had made the time to watch more films at this year’s festival! Making Faces, New York in Motion, and PressPausePlay were all on my list. Ah, well. Next year, I shall be buying tickets as soon as the line-up is announced.
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* On Saturday, I taught my last book arts class of 2011. It’s been such a joy sharing my avocation with teachers, students, collectors, librarians, book sellers, and artists over the past few months. Now, I’m planning for 2012. Expect lots of announcements, including dates for more introductory workshops and weekend intensives (featuring intermediate and advanced hardcover bookmaking techniques), in the first quarter of next year.