July 20, 2023
On the evening of July 20, 2023 Lumiere Press: Printer Savant & Other Stories was officially launched at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto - repository of The Lumiere Press Archives.
In addition to the debut of our newest limited-edition title, the library staff curated a display of books and artifacts from the collection in honor of the occasion.
Guests assembled for the main event of the evening's programming - an interview with Michael Torosian conducted by Fine Press Librarian, John Shoesmith. (pictured above)
To order copies of Printer Savant go to Ordering.
Articles in the national press coincided with the launch of Lumiere Press: Printer Savant & Other Stories at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library - Toronto Star urban/cultural reporter Shawn Micallef composed a paean to the Fisher highlighting the Lumiere Press event and Globe and Mail arts reporter Kate Taylor's illustrated interview with Michael Torosian garnered a page in the newspaper's print edition. (click on graphics to go to articles)
Nigel Beale, host of the podcast THE BIBLIO FILE, has conducted more than 550 interviews in his ongoing exploration of the world of books. Martin Amis, Chip Kidd, Steven Heller, Glenn Horowitz, James Wood, and Margaret Atwood are but a few of the names on the list of major figures in literature, graphic design, and the book trade to have shared their stories.
Nigel originally visited Lumiere Press in 2018 and returned recently for another in-depth conversation. The following is from the introduction on THE BIBLIO FILE web site -
"Michael Torosian has spent his life taking photographs, interviewing great photographers, and making fine press photography books. He's in the process of making another entitled Lumiere Press: Printer Savant & Other Stories to commemorate the establishment of The Lumiere Press Archives at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto. It's full of life lessons and back-stories illuminating each of the twenty-two books he's published over the past four decades."
Click to listen to Part One.
Click to listen to Part Two.
Lumiere Press is now represented in the collection of The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. A recent press release led off with the following banner headline --
"PRE-EMINENT, RARE COLLECTION OF PHOTOBOOKS, FEATURING BEST OF 20TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY,
DONATED TO BODLEIAN LIBRARIES".
The gift of more than 2,300 volumes - from British publisher Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey - was hailed as one of the largest donations of the century and characterized as "a major collection of rare photobooks published between 1887 and 2016, including monographs, exhibition catalogs, as well as artist and private press books."
Sir Charles's gift included a selection of Lumiere Press titles thereby adding to our presence in important international collections.
Click to view updated list of Lumiere Press Books in Public Collections.
In 1988 Lumiere Press published Toronto Suite - our celebration of the landmark Isaacs Gallery. For this project, Michael Torosian created twenty-four portraits of key artists in the Isaacs stable.
Over the past thirty-three years, the portraits have proven to be a unique and enduring chronicle, exhibited at The Isaacs Gallery in Toronto, The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa, and The Americas Society in New York City. The work has also been published in an array of periodicals including: The Globe and Mail, Canadian Art Magazine, and the National Gallery of Canada Magazine.
In a number of monographs, published over the years, the portraits have served as the defining image of the artist.
The newest is Gathie Falk: Revelations, published by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, for which Torosian's penetrating portrait of Gathie Falk has been showcased as the back cover.
We are pleased to announce that the Art Gallery of Ontario has acquired a suite of vintage gelatin-silver prints by Lumiere Press publisher Michael Torosian for their Permanent Collection. The AGO now joins a list of public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, who have substantial representations of Torosian's artistic photographic work. (see CV)
The acquisition is something of a phenomenon of cultural déjà vu. More than forty years ago, Sanctuary - the title for this thematic body of work produced between 1972 to 1976 - was toured as a solo exhibition by the AGO's Extension Services Department.
A selection of images from Sanctuary may be viewed here.
For information on purchasing vintage prints contact the press.
Thanks to the expansion of our collector base as well as third-party sales and the generosity of collectors who have made gifts of books in the form of donations or bequests Lumiere Press titles are now in more than 200 public institutions.
The greatest growth has been in the United States, with new collections ranging from Texas State University in San Marcos; to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; to The Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusettes.
Notable is the addition of international collections such as the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland; State Library of Queensland, Australia; University of South Wales, Pontypridd; University of Aukland, New Zealand; and, pictured above, the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, Santiago and NYU Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Click to view updated list of Lumiere Press Books in Public Collections.
Amphora, the Journal of the Alcuin Society, devoted nine pages of their Spring 2020 issue to a review of the retrospective exhibition, The Lumiere Press Archives: Photography and the Fine Press at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
Chester Gryski, author of this in-depth examination of the exhibition, its artifacts, and installation, is an esteemed fine press collector.
To read the essay click on An Archive of Influences: Michael Torosian's Lumiere Press: Photography Meets Fine Press.
October 2, 2019
In what may well be remembered as the apotheosis of Lumiere Press, on the evening of October 2nd, 2019, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, hosted the opening of the exhibition The Lumiere Press Archives: Photography and the Fine Press.
A retrospective of more than thirty years of fine press publishing on the art of photography, the exhibition also celebrated the establishment of The Lumiere Press Archives at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
It is an honor to have the press's papers at the oldest and most prestigious rare book library in the country and it was tremendously gratifying to spend the evening in a gathering of the many friends and colleagues who have provided support over the years.
To mark the occasion, collectors Paul and Joyce Chapnick donated their complete set of Lumiere Press books to the Fisher, capping off the copious holdings of the Archive.
The audio guide accompanying the exhibition is available through SoundCloud by clicking on the graphic below.
November 12, 2018
Writer and broadcaster Nigel Beale is the mastermind behind The Biblio File, the internet repository for the hundreds of interviews he has conducted in an ongoing exploration of every facet of literature, books and publishing.
Nigel recently visited Lumiere Press to interview Michael Torosian for a Biblio File Podcast. Click to go to The Biblio File and listen.
Once again, Lumiere Press is the "go to" source for scholarship on the life and work of photographer Dave Heath (1931 - 2016).
Michael Torosian's interview with Heath from our 1988 Homage Series title, David Heath: Extempore has been reproduced in its entirety as the principal text of the new book Dialogues With Solitudes.
Issued as the catalogue for the first major European exhibition of Heath's work - presented at Le Bal in Paris - the book has the further distinction of being co-published by the gallery with STEIDL, the premiere trade photobook publisher.
Lumiere Press' award-winning livre d'artiste of Saul Leiter led off Vince Aletti's September 2018 book review column in photograph magazine.
Vince Aletti's assessment in brief: The Ballad of Soames Bantry "captures not only Leiter's voice but his maverick spirit," and is a "handsomely produced tribute" with an "unusually sensitive selection of Leiter's photographs and paintings". read the article
The Ballad of Soames Bantry has been awarded a FIRST PRIZE in book design from the Alcuin Society. The jurors' comments:
"It is impossible to resist picking up this book: the printing is gorgeous, it feels exquisite in the hand, and the material is exceptional. The type treatment, production quality, and overall design are perfect. Every part of this beautiful example of classical fine printing feels right."
April 7, 2018
Lumiere Press garnered a full page in the print edition of the Globe and Mail as arts reporter Brad Wheeler celebrated the debut of our newest book The Ballad of Soames Bantry and took the measure of our unique publishing model. Mariel Ashlinn Kelly provided a quartet of delightful illustrations (pictured above) to help explain the arcane process from A to Z. Go to article.
Lumiere Press is on YouTube. Our 2007 video on the making of a book is a concise introduction to the equipment, procedures and working environment of the press. The 7 1/2 minute film can be viewed by clicking the YouTube graphic above.
February 16, 2018
In 1988, Lumiere Press' Homage Series title, David Heath: Extempore, was launched at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, then located on Spring Street in the SoHo district of New York City. By the time of the memorable launch party, in 1997, for Gordon Parks: Harlem, the greatly expanded Greenberg Gallery had moved around the corner to Wooster Street. And in 2013, we launched Black Star at the Howard Greenberg Gallery's newest and most beautiful incarnation in the Fuller Building on East 57th Street.
This is all by way of saying that for 30 years we have enjoyed a friendship and professional affiliation which ultimately found its richest expression in a succession of books under the combined "Howard Greenberg Gallery + Lumiere Press" imprint.
Dave Heath: Korea, 2004; An American Gallery, 2007; Steichen: Eduard et Voulangis, 2011.
On the evening of Friday, February 16th, 2018, a wonderfully celebratory roll out at the gallery marked the debut of our latest
co-publication - Saul Leiter: The Ballad of Soames Bantry. For more information please view the prospectus by clicking here.
(above: Michael Torosian and Howard Greenberg. Photo credit: Simone)
Veteran visual arts curator and fine press aficionado Tom Smart surveyed the thirty-year progress of Lumiere Press in an extensive article entitled, "The Aesthetics of Simplicity" for Amphora, the journal of the Alcuin Society.
In the essay, Smart tracked the genesis of the press while apprehending "the visual, the tactile, even the aural" qualities of the books. With particular attention to the editorial content, Smart declared: "Torosian has given us much more than a bibliography of titles comprising exemplary production values. From his mind and hand a new literary form has emerged." Go to article.
May 1, 1986 - May 1, 2016 - LUMIERE PRESS 30TH ANNIVERSARY
In the early evening of May 1st 1986, Lumiere Press was born. The debut of Edward Weston: Dedicated to Simplicity marked the beginning of the Lumiere Press photography publishing program. The launch, at the Rivoli restaurant in Toronto, was packed with well-wishers. The mood was buoyant - the experience transformative.
Devotion to fine craft mixed with intellectual inquiry has defined a thirty-year journey of reward beyond all expectation. We are now in the midst of our latest project - a limited-edition book on the work of esteemed American photographer Saul Leiter, cast in lead type, hand printed and hand bound. The tradition in the workshop continues. (Pictured above: invitation for the first book launch and Paris, 1959 by Saul Leiter.)
February 17, 2016
Michael Torosian delivered the eighth annual Johanna and Leon Katz Memorial Lecture at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Entitled, "Photography and Fine Printing: The History of Lumiere Press", Torosian related his personal thirty-year journey in publishing during which he examined the photographic book as "the medium of photography" and "a work of art in its own right."
Anne Dondertman, Director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, took the occasion to announce that the library will be mounting a major retrospective exhibition devoted to Michael Torosian and Lumiere Press in the autumn of 2019. She noted, "The exhibition will be a prominent and significant means of commemorating the acquisition, by the Fisher Library, of the Lumiere Press Archives. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-scale illustrated catalogue."
Shawn Micallef, the Toronto Star's roving urban reporter, devoted his October 17, 2015 column to Lumiere Press - a layman's "through the looking glass" interpretation of the fine bookmaking process. Bernard Weill's fisheye lens captured a good overview of the shop. Go to article.
Over the past thirty years, Michael Torosian's writings have extended beyond the publishing program of Lumiere Press. His latest contribution to the literature of photography is now available in a new book distributed by Yale University Press.
On the evening of September 18th, the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted the opening of Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath, a major retrospective exhibition organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The event also marked the launch of the accompanying 324-page catalogue by the exhibition's curator Keith F. Davis with an essay by Michael Torosian. Davis provided a detailed biography, while Torosian focused on the methodology and evocation of Heath's printmaking - an unprecedented examination of a critical aspect of the photographer's creative expression.
Lumiere Press has long been recognized for its scholarship on Heath through our books Extempore (1988), Korea (2004), and most notably A Dialogue With Solitude (2000), which has been reproduced in its entirety in the Nelson-Atkins catalogue.
(pictured above: Michael Torosian at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, photograph courtesy of the PMA.)
Michael Torosian has been awarded a Fine Craft, Visual Arts Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for research and experimentation at Lumiere Press in the areas of typecasting, presswork and bookbinding. The vocation of fine press publishing is one of ongoing refinement and innovation and the Canada Council is gratefully acknowledged for their support. Torosian CV
In addition to the presence of Lumiere Press titles in numerous public institutions, the artistic photography of press founder Michael Torosian is also represented in such distinguished collections as the National Gallery of Canada, Museum London and The Division of Art, Prints and Photographs at New York Public Library.
Adding to these credentials, a selection of Torosian's work has recently been acquired by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, recognized as one of the preeminent museums in the world of photography.
Of particular note is their acquisition of a book maquette of forty-one gelatin-silver prints from the 1970s entitled SANCTUARY - created at the invitation of a publisher for a project that was never realized. Anticipating Torosian's future bookwork, the maquette predates the establishment of Lumiere Press by ten years.
A selection of images from the maquette may be viewed here.
For information on purchasing vintage prints from this body of work contact the press.
Epilogue: The Future of Print, a skillfully-crafted short documentary by Hanah Ryu Chung, provides the occasion for a handful of "book" people to rhapsodize over the tactile and spiritual pleasures of the printed object in an increasingly digital world. From Lumiere Press, Michael Torosian's contemplations are intermittently woven into this endearing film available for viewing on Vimeo.
Black Star has been selected as a finalist in the PhotoEspaña "Best Photobook of the Year" competition and will be on display in an exhibition at the palatial Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid. The mandate of the jury was to seek out books in which "the sequence of images, graphic design, format and materials used ... turn the book into a work of art."
Black Star has been awarded First Prize in Limited Edition Books by the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The jurors' comments: "Purposeful, technically excellent composition pushed this book to the fore. The cover and the size, placement, and pacing of the images are very good and made even better by strong production values, exemplified by the beautiful paper and binding." Black Star will join the other winners in a touring exhibition with venues in Germany, Japan and Canada.
In celebration of their 600th anniversary, St. Andrews University in Scotland has issued a multi-volume publication surveying the treasures of their library. Volume Six, devoted to the arts, reproduces triumphs of illustrated bookmaking such as Pigot's 1866 The Life of Man, and Talbot's 1844 The Pencil of Nature. We are honored to have Lumiere Press included in this commemorative set, all the more impressive for its format. Open, the folio measures a grand 16 x 24 inches.
Michael Torosian has been awarded a Chalmers Arts Fellowship from the Ontario Arts Council - the second of his career and an accolade which coincides with the 40th anniversary of his first one-man exhibition, presented at the National Film Board Gallery in Ottawa. Over the past four decades this commitment to photography has been broadened through art historical research, writing, and limited-edition publishing, all of which are generously supported within the enlightened scope of this Fellowship.
Michael Torosian has been awarded a Ryerson Image Centre Research Fellowship, which was granted to further his unprecedented work on the history of the founders of the legendary Black Star photography agency. Torosian CV.
Journalist Chantal Braganza toured Lumiere Press and profiled Michael Torosian for the Winter issue of the Ryerson University Magazine. The theme was "Crafting It Old School" with a charming fixation on the improbable, unorthodox antiquity of the successful publishing enterprise. A banner of photographs gave a 360 snapshot of the panorama from molten lead to finished book.
Lumiere Press has hit the milestone century-and-a-half mark. With recent acquisitions by such illustrious institutions as the Huntington Library, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, we now have books in more than 150 public collections around the world. go to list
One particular pocket of prestige is the Lumiere Press Ephemera Collection at St. Andrews University. According to the Library blog, Echoes From the Vault, post-graduate student Ian Lumsden (see picture above) was recently assigned the responsibility of cataloguing the comprehensive collection of announcements, invitations and prospectuses from a quarter century of press events and publications.
Michael Torosian received the full hi-def treatment for the cover of Design Edge magazine, the new, re-conceived incarnation of the award-winning graphic arts journal. Editor Doug Picklyk prefaced his six-page feature article on Lumiere Press with the banner - "Handmade and Typographically Divine Bookmaking" - five words that perfectly sum up the artisan's aspirations.
go to article
Our bibliography also increased by one more citation with the publication of For the Love of Letterpress, a new book from Bloomsbury that reproduced, in their chapter on typography, the minimalist title-page spread from our 2004 title Korea.
Sean Samuels, book dealer, photographer and co-founder of the United Nations of Photography, interviewed Michael Torosian for the online journal THE KLEIG LIGHT. A rare foray outside traditional print arts journalism yields a concise and insightful exchange. View.
Eduard et Voulangis, one of the honored gems of the Lumiere Press collection, was the subject of an illustrated double-page layout in Art & Antiques Magazine, marking the debut of the press in this fine publication whose high production values brought us to a coveted audience. Editor John Dorfman, writing of Steichen's "bold formalist experiments" called the book a "meticulous work worthy of Steichen himself". View article.
July 15, 2013
"Black Star Shines Anew", the title of Marvin Heiferman's New York Times Lens article, is a celestial allusion to the preservation of the Black Star Collection at the new Ryerson Image Centre and a sparkling compliment to our newest book. The Times presented a portfolio of almost half the images from Black Star and Heiferman rounded out his examination of the genre and the era by saying of the book - "In it, in addition to learning about Black Star's history, is a reminder of the power and legacy that photographs embody as three-dimensional and material objects." Go to article.
June 20, 2013
The New York launch of our newest book, Black Star, was hosted by the Howard Greenberg Gallery at their exquisite space in the landmark Fuller Building at 57th and Madison. The beautifully designed invitation, the impeccable display of books, and the adroit orchestration of the evening, were a collective testament to the talents of the gallery's ace staff. To add to the momentousness of the occasion, the guests included members of the Safranski family and the Kornfeld family, descendents of the Black Star agency's founders.
Joining the publisher in an exuberant photo-op above are artist Ray Charles White (left) and Lumiere Press journeyman emeritus Alan Phoenix (middle).
On May 8th a dual event took place at the new Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto - the launch of our newest title, Black Star, and the opening of the retrospective exhibition Lead and Light: The Evolution of Lumiere Press. Curated by the graduating class of the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management MA program, the show elegantly presented a comprehensive survey of our twenty-six years of limited-edition publishing. A discerning selection of original photographs provided thematic ambiance and a detailed presentation of artifacts from the making of Steichen: Eduard et Voulangis, provided a glimpse into the process of bookmaking creativity. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue. Read catalogue. Download pdf.
A portfolio of photographs by graduate student Marcos Armstrong documenting the installation can be viewed here.
The UK edition of Parenthesis: The Journal of the Fine Press Book Association, presented a feature profile on Lumiere Press in their Spring 2013 issue. The erudite essay was written by Kristen Adlhoch, a PhD candidate in the history of photography at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. With her extensive knowledge and refined sensibility of the genre, Ms. Adlhoch interwove the story of the photographic book with the specific development and aesthetic of Lumiere Press, resulting in a scholarly and gratifying examination of the accomplishments of the press. Additionally, the article served as a celebration of the acquisition of a complete set of Lumiere Press books by the University of St. Andrews. Read essay. Download pdf.
April 25, 2013
Over the years we've monitored auction results and secondary market sales and charted the steady escalation in value of Lumiere Press titles. The Siskind and Sommer volumes bubbled at $1,000 - an appreciation of more than five hundred percent above price of issuance - beating the Dow Jones Industrials and the Nikkei by a wide margin.
A new high water mark was recently toyed with. The spring "Livres de Photographies" sale at the Ader Auction house in Paris listed among its offerings a copy of the variant edition, with print, of our 2004 title Dave Heath: Korea. The estimate was 4,000 to 6,000 euros or approximately 5,200 to 7,800 US dollars. On auction day the bidding climbed to 3,200 euros (4,200 USD) but failed to make the seller's reserve. Sale or not, it was a particularly interesting barometer of collector interest.
The Alcuin Society, the laudable organization devoted to fine books, has awarded Eduard et Voulangis a First Prize in the category of Limited Editions in their 30th Annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The winning titles will be exhibited in venues across the country as well as in Germany and Japan. Visit the Alcuin site for more information.
The elegant design and high production values of International Architecture & Design magazine proved an exceptional setting for what is undoubtedly the most profusely illustrated article ever to be published on Lumiere Press. Using Eduard et Voulangis as the centerpiece, graphic designer Jacques Pilon developed a portfolio exploring the books, the environment and the tools of the shop. The six-page spread (view here) possessed the autonomy and coherence of a completely self-contained insert in the magazine. Editor Carolyn Kennedy contributed the animating text. Download pdf.
February 22, 2012
"Artrend" reporter Axnel Grove spiritedly reviewed Eduard et Voulangis for the Spanish online edition of the European daily newspaper 20minutes. Accompanied by a "Fotogaleria" of selected pictures from the book, this was Lumiere Press' first mainstream European exposure. We were delighted with Grove's declaration, "Un nuevo libro iluminará una de las épocas oscuras de la historia del arte contemporáneo."
February 15, 2012
LENS, the photographic heart and visual hub of The New York Times, presented a ten-image slide show of Steichen's work from Eduard et Voulangis. Jim Estrin, veteran photojournalist and the editor of LENS, contributed the accompanying article in which he deemed the book "an important contribution to Steichen's legacy." Go to article.
December 14, 2011
Steichen: Eduard et Voulangis was given an exceptional showcase in the December 14th issue of The Globe and Mail, whose "Arts" section was dominated by large format reproductions of key images from the book. With journalistic élan, arts reporter James Adams synthesized Steichen's aesthetic journey from pictorialism to modernism in tandem with the book's journey from newly discovered images to bookmaking "masterpiece". Go to article.
December 9, 2011
Steichen: Eduard et Voulangis was launched at the gallery of our co-publisher and long-time collaborator, the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York. The capstone of the evening was the attendance of Eduard's granddaughter, Francesca Calderone-Steichen, whose introductory remarks were a gracious mixture of heartfelt reflections on the presence of Voulangis in the Steichen family's life and the significance of the book in the Steichen literature. (pictured above: Michael Torosian and Francesca Calderone-Steichen.)
In a terrific alignment of lead time synchronicity, Canadian Art Magazine hit the stands on the eve of the launch of Eduard et Voulangis at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York. In a full-page profile, Editor Richard Rhodes succinctly established the milieu of the period and related the book's genesis. Rhodes found the writing "impressive", the reproductions "scrumptious" and the book "a delight to hold" - a Canadian Art trifecta. Go to article.
CONTINUE TO NEWS PART TWO