Title: Eels



Photographer: Ralph Gibson
Author: Sadi Ranson
Publisher: Salamanca Press
Designer: Roger Gordy

 

Book Genre: Poetry & Prose

The cover is reflective of

The cover is reflective of the work in that Duras's writing ebbs and flows very much like the tide - comes in, recedes, etc etc, a repeating pattern and more, the photograph is solitary and a house by the ocean, from where she wrote the book, and although this may not be the exact house, it could easily be seen as such... it provides context and that is really what the cover should ideally do.
As a professor as well as a writer, I am always telling my students that as a young editor, that it is not strictly up to design to do the cover. That it is a collaborative process between author, editor, and design (and sales too actually) to come up with something that is reflective, that will catch the eye and that makes the book simply a beautiful object that you just want to "have" ... ideally, this is what we went for at Lumen. The book not only for its content - of course that - but the book as a beautiful object in and of itself. Araba

from the author

do you consider, i would think you do, how the content within the book, relates to the cover image chosen (in this case, by the amazing Ralph Gibson and I'm ever grateful to him and to Roger Gordy for the type design). But just that question, as the author - i wonder or am wondering if this site takes into consideration the content of the book as well. I would assume yes, so this may be an obvious question - but who knows. It doesn't say anywhere. Nice to see you have it here... Feel free to contact me anytime. My next book is due out June, 2008 from Continuum International, New York, London, Tokyo.

be well,

s.r.p.

sadi ranson-polizzotti
www.tantmieux.squarespace.com

You have hit the nail on the head

Thank you for your comment, Sadi. The relationship between cover and content is in fact the impetus for and driving force behind this project. If you spend some time on the Covering Photography site, you will see that I have commented on a number of books in that regard; however, since there are currently more than 1500 volumes on the site and I have yet to read them all, progress may not be as speedy as I'd like.
That being said, the cover/content dynamic is discussed on the second page of the site (bottom left on the homepage, where it says 'more'). Here's the link:

http://idesweb.bc.edu/baden/more

Finally, I send out a semi-regular feature, entitled 'Cover of the Month', where I try to comment in greater detail on a book; if not the content, then something I feel is worth mentioning. If you'd like to receive these mailings, you can sign up as a user or send your email address to covphoto@bc.edu.

Congratulations on your upcoming publication.
kb

imagery and integrity preserved

I think the work that you are doing is extremely important; i say this not only as someone who founded and ran a literary press, but also as an author and photographer myself and someone who hasd worked and works with photographers (for my whole career in some capacity or another from way back when, when i first began working at even Vogue magazine as a fashion assistant - wholly different from books, but regardless, i shot with the likes of Avedon, Meisel, Irving Penn, Arthur Elgort, Compte, and so on and was very fortunate to have worked with such amazing photographers.

After, I moved on and dealt with photographers in a whole different way as i segued into book publishing and began publishing the complete works of photographers in books (most of these through David R. Godine, Publisher who has done some very, very fine photography books, which I highly recommend).

Gibson, as is used here on my book and whom I used frequently at Lumen is simply an astounding photographer as I said and I owe him a great debt for the effort and time he put into the work he did for Lumen and our books for without his images, the books would not have been so beautiful. For a truly beautiful cover, you should take a look at the book "Writing" by Marguerite Duras (translated by Mark Polizzotti) published by Lumen. It was the last book she ever wrote (in French, "Ecrire", and Ralph gave us the photo for the cover of that book - the direct link on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Marguerite-Duras/dp/1571290532/ref=sr_1_25/104-4533465-6085536?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191587821&sr=8-25

The cover is reflective of the work in that Duras's writing ebbs and flows very much like the tide - comes in, recedes, etc etc, a repeating pattern and more, the photograph is solitary and a house by the ocean, from where she wrote the book, and although this may not be the exact house, it could easily be seen as such... it provides context and that is really what the cover should ideally do.

As a professor as well as a writer, I am always telling my students that as a young editor, that it is not strictly up to design to do the cover. That it is a collaborative process between author, editor, and design (and sales too actually) to come up with something that is reflective, that will catch the eye and that makes the book simply a beautiful object that you just want to "have" ... ideally, this is what we went for at Lumen. The book not only for its content - of course that - but the book as a beautiful object in and of itself.

Your work on your site is, i think, incredibly important and I intend to use it as a teaching tool in my syllabus to illustrate this point to my students - so I thank you on many, many levels.

I do a lot of writing about electronic books; the trouble with those is that, so far, there is no way to preserve the integrity of the cover electronically, especially a photographic image (that i know of), and e-books have become more and more important. I should like to write about this site for www.teleread.org and will be in touch to interview you for some of your thoughts on this matter concerning e-books and whether or not covers can maintain their integrity as some of the larger houses move more and more into producing print as well as electronic format books. Will photographic books alone ever be available as e-books I wonder, and is it even a good idea? It's hard to fathom - but yet it's possible. Sudek on a Tungsten E just doesn't seem right, but it also seems the way of the future. I'd love your thoughts on this.

Be well,

sadi (ranson-polizzotti)

sadi ranson-polizzotti
www.tantmieux.squarespace.com

Thanks, Gibson, etc.

Sadi-

Thanks so much for your kindness and eloquence. Covering Photography has so far been a labor of love, if not lust.

I have complicated feelings about Ralph Gibson's work, which I may or may not be able to add to this comment at a later date. For now, what I wrote on his title page here will have to suffice.

I think that each new technology creates it's own paradigm and comes with it's own set of tools. This is especially true of computers and the internet. While I share some of your concerns about e-books and the future of publishing, I am also very interested in seeing what's coming around the bend.

KB