News | June 14, 2024

New Exhibition Focuses on the Art of the Photo Book

© Estate of Dave Heath, Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery and Stephen Bulger Gallery

Dave Heath, Washington Square, New York City, c.1960. Gelatin silver print, printed c.1960, 24.1 x 16.5 cm 

An exhibition celebrating the decades long collaboration in photography between Howard Greenberg Gallery and Lumiere Press will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York from June 20 through August 16.

Printer Savant: Lumiere Press and the Art of the Photo Book will explore the accomplishments of master book maker Michael Torosian and gallerist Howard Greenberg. The exhibition will present a selection of fine art books alongside photographs by Bruce Davidson, Dave Heath, Consuelo Kanaga, William Klein, Dorothea Lange, Saul Leiter, Leon Levinstein, Ruth Orkin, Gordon Parks, Flip Schulke, W. Eugene Smith, and Edward Steichen.

For more than 35 years, Howard Greenberg and Michael Torosian have been publishing photography books showcasing the medium’s potency. “More than 30 years have passed since I became aware of the small, amazingly well crafted, and inspirational Lumiere Press books,” said Howard Greenberg. “These precious objects, with their personal and beautifully written essays, sensitively illustrated photographs, and materiality that beckoned one to touch, handle and feel their essential nature, impressed me deeply. Little did I know that my first encounters would lead to a years-long collaboration, successful in every possible way, with Michael Torosian, aka Lumiere Press.”

Printer Savant: Lumiere Press and the Art of the Photo Book focuses on photography from Greenberg and Torosian’s careers. On view in the exhibition are a wide selection of limited edition books by the Press. Other images on display will include:

  • Bruce Davidson’s 1959 Brooklyn Gang series
  • Dave Heath’s brooding portraits of Greenwich Village youths in the late 1950s and early ‘60s
  • William Klein’s amusing New York City urchins in the 1950s
  • examples of photojournalist Dorothea Lange’s documentary photographs from her travels around the U.S. from the 1930s to the 1950s
  • Saul Leiter’s color work from the streets of New York
  • sidewalk views shot from Ruth Orkin’s window
  • poignant portraits by Consuelo Kanaga and Gordon Parks
  • World War II photographs by W. Eugene Smith
  • Edward Steichen’s studies of flowers

Established in 1986 by Michael Torosian, Lumiere Press is the only fine press in the world devoted to producing limited edition photography books. Each book is composed in lead type, hand printed, and hand bound. Torosian began working in book publishing in 1981 and acquired machinery that is no longer available. His most recent book is the memoir Lumiere Press: Printer Savant & Other Stories (2022). The term printer savant was bestowed on Torosian by a guest at his first book launch who was fascinated that he had learned without guidance or training the art of “casting type from molten lead, printing the sheets of paper on a hand-cranked, hand-fed press, and folding, sewing, gluing, and binding the books by hand,” as Torosian writes in his memoir.