Saturday, December 6, 2014

'All photographs are liars'

I love this photograph - in a way it is a perfect example of what the text you see proposes - that even the solid, factual, inescapable reality of specific marks on a specific piece of paper can respond to the specific and differing organs of perception that are focused towards it - the photo was kindly taken by Robert McCamant of Parenthesis magazine, and it is with his generous permission I reproduce it here - taken from the frontispiece of my recent book, Jenson's Greek, the 'real' paper is creamy/white - but here it seems as if all the colors of the spectrum are at play - they say that all the colors are contained in white light, do they not - and others have said (getting this from Ivan Illich's In the vineyard of the text) that the white page is the open self upon which 'the word' is written, upon which we are thereby inscribed by the culture in which we grow - the photograph lies in terms of what one sees - the photograph tells a truth about the relation between an object and the process of which it is a part - who knows what Herakleitos would think about it - on another hand, a piece of paper is not a blank slate, tabula rasa, and nor are any of us - the apparently blank sheet is already a function of cultural inscription (the historical contexts in which paper has been made by hand for the last millennium)  before any mark is added to it - Herakleitos's text is printed in silver with Jan van Krimpen's Open Kapitalen type - in the type I have, the roman is 24 point, the Greek is 24 Didot, & I'm trying to remember why the types are on two different measures - if my memory is correct, the 24 point type came from the foundry of the late Paul Hayden Duensing, I think while he was still in Kalamazoo, & the Didot came from Enschede in The Netherlands when it was still casting, and both in the 1980s - I first saw this type on a titlepage of Mottetti / Motets by Eugenio Montale, translated by Charles Wright, and printed by Kim Merker at The Windhover Press at the University of Iowa, 1981 - the hand-worked yellow on the inside of the letters has always moved me - and Miriam has kindly taken this picture of it -