Paul Caponigro: On Prior Lane: A Firefly's Light

The Cushing Interviews

Edited With an Introduction by Michael Torosian


An acclaimed master of the medium, for more than fifty years Paul Caponigro has cultivated an extraordinary artistic vision. His primary subject matter - landscapes and still lifes - are transformed into metaphysical "equivalents"; the real world, acutely seen and rendered, becomes a transcendental domain.

On Prior Lane: A Firefly's Light is a synthesis of conversation and pictures, a meditation on the source of personal meaning and spiritual discovery.

"Paul Caponigro assured me, as he settled into his chair and lit a Camel, that smoking helped him think. I took this to be simply a reflexive statement appended to a life-long habit, but as the smoke bloomed in the rafters I could see it was true." With this impressionistic sketch begins a conversation that explores an artist's life, philosophical quest and artistic revelations. Photography and classical music, the streets of 1930s Boston, the teachings of Gurdjieff, the creative hothouses of 1950s San Francisco and Rochester, reflections on friends and mentors, Minor White, Ansel Adams, Beaumont Newhall, a trajectory from Maine to Ireland, Santa Fe to Japan, are all a part of the most extensive interview conducted with this surpassingly introspective and contemplative artist.


The text has been composed in lead in Linotype Falcon on the C4 Intertype and printed letterpress by hand on a Vandercook Universal III on mould-made Hahnemuhle Biblio paper. The endpapers are slate-grey Bugra, a mould-made sheet. Twenty-three photographs have been meticulously reproduced in 10 micron stochastic tritone lithography on Utopia Premium paper and varnished. Hand bound with a cover pattern designed by Michael Torosian derived from elements in Paul Caponigro's photograph, West End, Boston, Massachusetts, 1959, printed letterpress in grey and silver ink on Strathmore Grandee paper. Quarter bound in Asahi Japanese book cloth with paper label. The book measures 7 x 9 inches: 78 pages. Numbered edition of 225.

Variant Edition

Twenty-six copies, lettered A to Z are accompanied by an original gelatin-silver print, Scottish Thistle, Rochester, New York, 1958 printed and signed by Paul Caponigro. The print is presented in a folio bound in a reverse image of the book cover pattern. Folio and book are presented in a slipcase.


"50 Books of the Year", American Institute of Graphic Arts
Alcuin Society Citation, Limited Edition Book Design.


Out of print.