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A recent Thursday at 10:23 a.m.: In the basement of Arion Press, where they still print books the old-fashioned way, Lewis Mitchell slid open a box of parts used to change the font size on the Monotype casting machines he has maintained for 62 years.

“I thoroughly enjoy the sound of the machines turning, and seeing the type come out is a joy,” Mitchell said.

He can tell by the sound of the moving springs and levers if something is awry with his machines — a skill he said all good technicians should have. Four different owners have run the business since Mitchell walked through the doors at age 18, and he has had several opportunities to leave, including a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he declined. Now 80, Mitchell can’t imagine retiring from the job he loves so much.

When Mitchell started making this kind of type, it was really the only way to print things, and now he doesn’t know how many books he’s helped print over the decades. There were once type-casting operations in most major U.S. cities, but now the practice is almost extinct. There are only two companies left in the world that cast type for printing presses, and Arion is by far the largest.

Mitchell has four grown children and nine grandchildren, but he calls the 20 type-casting machines his “babies.” “I treat them with kindness. I don’t use a hammer on them or an oversized screwdriver.” The first machine, which started the company during 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, is still its best machine — proof that Mitchell’s methods work. “My dad taught me from square one if you going to do something, you’re going to do it right or you don’t do it.”

By San Francisco Chronicle.

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I have always viewed fog as an aesthetic friend. Cozy like a blanket. Mostly I like fog because it turns my color pictures into black and white. Well, almost. One can simply de-saturate the color, but for those of us who shoot color film or who like to print it as we saw it, fog is a blessing welcomed for softening a landscape or simply taking the color out, rendering the photograph monochromatic. For me, the less “color”, or the fewer the band of colors, the better. Besides I love the romance and mystery of fog. It is not just about light dispersion. You can touch fog, smell it, feel it.

So when I see fog, I grab a camera. Fast. As I did here while eating my cornflakes in a hotel buffet breakfast and saw this out the window. Gotta move on it. For those little water droplets will evaporate quickly with a rising warming sun. Pictures are everywhere, all the time. If you are in the right mood, there is for sure a picture right in front of you. Any time, all the time. It is never necessary to go someplace else. Where you are is THE place to be.

I know this. I teach this. Yet I must re-learn this every day of my life. Why can’t I just learn a lesson and then that is that? Life just doesn’t seem to work that way. I think all of us must constantly re-learn the obvious. What is right in front of us. Hidden perhaps by a “fog” but right there. Or right here. Or both.

Some of you were on hand last week in Perpignan for the launch of Burn 02. By all accounts, the buzz on Burn and Burn 02 was palpable. In all my years in the business, I never saw quite this sort of “big warm”. Was it the slide show? Was it the new in print magazine? Perhaps those things helped. But it was way more than a function of display. It was about YOU. This audience. This audience who supported new and original work by Paolo Pellegrin and Alisa Resnik and Bruce Gilden and others to be seen now first in Burn 02.

Burn 02 is not a repeat of Burn online. Burn 02 is its own original work. A 1500 copy limited editon. Online is terrific, but when you hold 02 in your hand, you will know what photography is all about from our perspective. I am not published in it. I wish I was. The place to be published for sure.

Yes, 02 was a collaboration. But there is always one person who is THE driving force. Diego Orlando, our special projects editor, is that person for 02. Anton and I were in the background on this baby. Designed and printed and bound with loving care in Italy by the very best, you will quickly see why there is pride all around.

I am proud of this magazine/book…I can say this in a way I could never say with my own work. That requires silence. But I can say that this feels like my best effort so far  as the director/coach and not in it as a direct “player”…Yet  I made something happen..Put the talents of others to work..Gave them all the rope they could handle. Kept an eye out..Mostly to set a standard….And to push everyone just a bit further than they wanted to be pushed..I knew they would thank me later …laughing…I will say no more now. On the front flap I wrote this:

We are the photo equivalent of the garage band. Can this last/should this last? No. There is a curve on any creative endeavor. We are not at the peak yet. When we get there, then we will do something else and start the whole process over again. Could be an evolution, or could be a revolution. So let’s enjoy this moment. Now is the time to appreciate what we have, seek out new ways of doing things, celebrate our mutual language and push it just as far as we can possibly go.





Buy BURN.02 here:

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Shipping will commence on September 15.

For volume puchases (over 10 copies), please contact Diego Orlando directly at

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Clean, crip, cracking and ultimately Swiss work in the portfolio of studio NeoNeo who have managed to crank out some downright beautiful print work for some very large clientele.

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Sam Frith

Sam Frith has just launched a fantastic new site. Love the site and the work.

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Kevin Cantrell

Kevin Cantrell recently launched a portfolio site featuring his student and recent professional work. He now works for Hint Creative who we featured on these pages some time ago.

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