Last week I could see this documentary about Gerhard Steidl, the head of Steidl Publisher, a german based publisher near Frankfurt/main. Steidl started out printing posters for art exhibitions, and it did not take long before Joseph Beuys, Klaus Staeck and other artists were among his customers. And within a few years he recognised that, for him, printing was not just a mechanical process but it had become his passion and an art in itself.
One of the most interesting parts where always when Steidl takes the control and changes the coleurs and contrast of the images, that they gain so much more power than they did before. He is a real master of printing and convinces great artist, how their work can even look much better. His knowledge and passion is rare, seen at the fact that he is so interested in the way of paper, how it smells and how it feels. Nothing is left to chance, everything is well planned.
In 1996, Steidl finally decided to follow his passion for photography and to start his own internationally oriented photo book program. Today, Steidl Publishers hold the world rights for the books of some of the most renowned photographers and artists across the globe, including Joel Sternfeld, Mitch Epstein, Richard Serra, Bruce Davidson, Susan Meisalas, Karl Lagerfeld, Péter Nádas, Gerard Malanga, Lewis Baltz, Ed Ruscha, Bill Brandt, Michel Comte, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Dine, Roni Horn, Paolo Roversi, Richard Serra, Christopher Wool and Jürgen Teller, to name but a few
Thanks to M, who sent me the information to watch it on television!
“All our books are designed and produced under the same roof. These days, very few publishers run their own printing presses”, says Steidl. “I, however, firmly believe in this noble tradition, as it enables me to follow and oversee every aspect of a book, from the artist’s initial idea to the final product. Thus, I can ensure a quality standard that would otherwise remain elusive.”