From Jim Lewis's short but incisive article about Gerhard Steidl:
Being Steidl is a calling, of sorts, and it has made Steidl himself a somewhat odd, and somehow endearing, man. Small, dark-haired, with thick glasses and dressed in a white lab coat, he comes across as part White Rabbit, always harried and usually late, and part Boss Man, supremely confident, decisive and in control. Like many single-minded people, he's almost childlike in his absorption: make a small joke and there will be a slight hitch in his response while he tries to reconcile the levity with his forward momentum....
Everything in his life is devoted to making the best books he can, and as many of them as possible.
Good reading about the man who is currently the preeminent publisher of photography books in the world.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Eamon Hickey: "What an artful piece of writing that is—always a special kind of pleasure to see a lot of story packed into a small box of words."
Featured Comment by Julian: "After reading the article, I went to my modest collection of photography books and pulled out my copy of The Americans and, sure enough, there were the head and tail bands. I wouldn't even have noticed them if it wasn't for the article. That book has always somehow seemed to be of a higher quality than most of the other books I possess so it was fascinating to read about the care and devotion that went into its production. In today's world where people are cost-conscious often to the point of lunacy, it's good to know there are people who still care about producing a quality product. My copy will be treasured all the more now."
Featured Comment by Geoff Wittig: "That's a wonderful article. Books in their own small way are an artform just like paintings or sculpture: tangible objects whose physical form and aesthetics can augment their content, or sabotage it. Famed American book designer and typographer Bruce Rogers (1870–1957) obsessed about every detail of his books, from the hand-feel of the paper to the specific color of the ink (i.e. blue-black rather than warm black) to the aroma of the finished product. And he meticulously 'tuned' the choice of font and page design to reinforce the author's intent. For all that, most of his books were affordable trade volumes rather than pricely limited editions. It's great to know a few stalwart souls out there are keeping the flame alive."
Featured Comment by Konstantin: "I used to work for Steidl, back in the late '90s before I moved to London. I used to do rights for the fiction and nonfiction books but I was also responsible for international sales re photography.
"At that time the photography list was smaller but really exquisite. The fascinating thing about the production was and still is that everything happens in one place. The printery is downstairs, scans and post production first floor, layout, marketing, typesetting and everything else second floor.
"Photographers used to come and stay for days or weeks if necessary and I believe nothing has changed in that respect. It was normal to meet them: Jock Sturges, Gilles Peress, Juergen Teller, Fazal Sheikh, Peggy Sirota, Paolo Roversi, Nan Goldin, just to name a few. Steidl did all the printing for Scalo while they were still around.
"Gerhard Steidl is a fascinating character, totally dedicated, in love with his books, a true craftsman, nuts about what he is doing, full of enthusiasm, a perfectionist."