'Printer Savant: Lumiere Press and the Art of the Photo Book' opens at Howard Greenberg Gallery
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'Printer Savant: Lumiere Press and the Art of the Photo Book' opens at Howard Greenberg Gallery
Dorothea Lange, Cable Car, San Francisco, 1956. Gelatin silver print; printed c.1956, 25.4 x 25.4 cm © Dorothea Lange Archive, The Oakland Museum of Art.



NEW YORK, NY.- An exhibition celebrating the decades long collaboration in photography between Howard Greenberg Gallery and Lumiere Press is on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from June 20 through August 16, 2024. Printer Savant: Lumiere Press and the Art of the Photo Book explores the accomplishments of master book maker Michael Torosian and gallerist Howard Greenberg. The exhibition presents 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 shared a common aesthetic in publishing photography books beholding the medium’s potency and eloquence. Together they worked on several notable and award-winning books, including Howard Greenberg Gallery: Twenty Five Years (2007). One book on Edward Steichen was proclaimed “the most beautiful book ever presented on Steichen” by the photographer’s family.

“More than thirty 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 simultaneous and cooperative careers. On view in the exhibition are a wide selection of limited edition books by the Press alongside images from 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 ‘50s; 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; and Edward Steichen’s studies of flowers.

Today, Lumiere Press is the only fine press in the world devoted to producing limited edition photography books. Owner Michael Torosian began working in book publishing in 1981 and was able to acquire machinery that is no longer available today. 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,” writes Torosian in his memoir. In 2024, Torosian was named the recipient of the Robert R. Reid Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada by The Alcuin Society, a non-profit association promoting the finest in Canadian book design since 1965.

Lumiere Press

Established in 1986 by Michael Torosian, Lumiere Press exemplifies the fine press tradition. Each book is composed in lead type, hand printed, and hand bound. The press is devoted exclusively to the art of photography, and each book aspires in its concept, graphic design, and craftsmanship to be the reflection and manifestation of its scholarly and artistic content.

Lumiere Press books have been acquired by more than 200 public institutions, among them: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; New York Public Library; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; George Eastman House, Rochester; the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven; and The Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

The press's books have also been recognized for design and production excellence – notably, inclusion in the American Institute of Graphic Arts venerable “Fifty Books of the Year” and a succession of First Place Awards from the Alcuin Society. In recognition of his accomplishments as a photographer, writer, designer, and artisan, Michael Torosian has been awarded Senior Arts Grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council; has been the recipient of two Chalmers Arts Fellowships; and in 2024, was awarded the Alcuin Society Robert R. Reid Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada.

Over the course of three decades, the press has preserved an archive of material chronicling the genesis of each project, providing detailed insight into the concept, design, and craftsmanship of the editions. The archive is preserved as The Lumiere Press Archives at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

HOWARD GREENBERG GALLERY

Since its inception in New York more than 40 years ago, Howard Greenberg Gallery has built a vast and ever-changing collection of some of the most important photographs in the medium. The Gallery's collection acts as a living history of photography, offering genres and styles from Pictorialism to Modernism, in addition to contemporary photography and images conceived for industry, advertising, and fashion.

Formerly a photographer and founder of The Center for Photography in Woodstock in 1977, Howard Greenberg has been one of a small group of gallerists, curators, and historians responsible for the creation and development of the modern market for photography. Howard Greenberg Gallery—founded in 1981 and originally known as Photofind—was the first to consistently exhibit photojournalism and street photography, now accepted as important components of photographic art. The Gallery is located in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street, Suite 801, in New York City. The Gallery’s archive is located at 32 East 57th Street, directly across from the Fuller Building, to house, manage, and present its collection of over 40,000 prints.










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