Emblems of the Passing world:
poems after photographs by august Sander

Emblems of the Passing World:
Poems after Photographs by August Sander

by Adam Kirsch
5 x 7.5 in., 144 pp., 46 duotone illus.
Other Press, 2015

An atypical assignment — a book of contemporary poems with a selection of historical fine art photographs, for production and distribution by a trade press — resulted in a beautiful small volume felicitous to both bodies of work. Poems and photographs share qualities of honesty, incisiveness, and singularity, all of which are supported by the unambiguous design.

A poem is placed on the right-hand page of each spread, facing the photograph that inspired it on the left. The photograph is discreetly captioned underneath with title and date, while the poem carries that same title in display type. Longer poems continue to a second recto page. 

In order to achieve museum-quality photographic illustrations with trade printers, I worked closely with the artist’s foundation to prepare and proof duotone separations. On-press supervision ensured impeccable reproductions and rescued the volume from an errant cover stock, so that the refined jacket design serves as a fitting introduction to the melancholy if not tragic poetic interpretations of the photographs within.