LONG STORY SHORT Philip Zimmermann (1999)
Long Story Short was published in 1999, though the book was conceived and put together during a month-long residency at Yaddo Artists' Colony in Saratoga Springs, NY, in the Spring of 1997. The book is semi-autobiographical. It uses images of hands as a connecting motif throughout the book. I have alwys found hands to be particularly expressive. For some time, I had had the idea of taking on the challenge of trying to tell a story through the use of aphorisms or truisms. The collection, editing and positioning of these little cliches so that they told a narrative story took a great deal of time yet was fun in the way that a puzzle is fun.
The book continues my interest in using large halftone dots in my books and pictures. I first became interested in them, and used them extensively, during my years in graduate school in the seventies. During that time I was learning how to make lith film for offset lithography at the Viusal Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, and spent many hours looking at halftone negatives on a darkroom light table. I also trained making color separations when I was working with Harry Christen at Christen Litho Lab, a color separation shop in Rochester.
All of the images are from tiny sections of Look, Life, and other magazines from the fifties –the time period when I was born and was growing up. I wanted all of the blown up half-tone dots to be the same size, so I used a screen angle indicator to determine the line ruling of the originals and then used a calculator to determine the blown up size of the dots of the final image. I had a small rectangular mask that I would then place over the printed photo images to determine the crop. Then I scanned them in at very high resolution so that they could be blown up.
The book was printed by Pacifica Communications in Korea by offset lithography. The Korean print rep had the fantastic name of Lonestar Huang, a name that is hard to forget. There are those who do not like the use of Wire-O binding. I have no problem with this method of binding. Sadly I did not have sufficient funds from a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and a Dutchess County Arts Council grant to print the book myself. Joanne Paschall of Nexus Press called and said that there was a show coming up at Nexus called Home is Where the Heart Is. She had obtained enough grant money that went along with the show to be able to print the book (with the addition of my grant funds) as part of the show. So we ended up co-publishing the book.