SEAN PERRY: Tom Baril, Botanica

Botanica, published by Arena Editions, 2000
Photograph © Tom Baril

 Two Callas
Photograph © Tom Baril

Calla Lily
Photograph © Tom Baril

Sean Perry's
The Sunday Find – Tom Baril, Botanica

This week in my classes we looked at the mighty Tom Baril and his two masterfully produced books – Botanica, published by Arena Editions in 2000, and Tom Baril, his seminal monograph published by 4AD in 1997. Both titles are lush and decadent, rich tri-tone reproductions of his gorgeous, gorgeous prints alongside elegant typography, each seductively designed and simply perfect.

These are relatively scarce books, long out of print and often expensive. You will find a copy of Botanica at photo-eye Bookstore, or you can check on eBay, but I have often scored great books by hunting for under-subscribed listings. Be careful, check the seller, do your due diligence and all of that jazz…. For myself, anything under $50.00 would be a steal, the book often trades for $100.00 plus. Edited by Mr. David Fahey and designed by Ms. Elsa Kendall, the boards are covered with smokey moss green cloth, having almost gold highlights. Endpapers are fantastic gray moss. The color palette against the 60 plates of toned photographs is exquisite. Only one printing, by EBS in Verona Italy, 132 pages.

Born in 1952, Tom Baril graduated from the School of Visual Arts in NYC and for near 20 years served as Robert Mapplethorpe’s master printer. Few can match the presence and sheer alchemy his prints express. I am so thankful to have seen a great many in person and he remains one of my deepest influences. His work is wide ranging, spanning the urban environment, seascapes, botanical and figure studies. I love his amalgamation of tradition and discovery, the excellence with craft and vision across many mediums – in printmaking, the portfolio form and book-arts. I rarely see interviews with Mr. Baril, though there is a little jewel of a find in an extended audio conversation with Mr. Jensen at the esteemed publication, LensWork.

Additionally, HPB has a few juicy member coupons hitting this week.... 30% off one item Friday and Saturday and 50% off one item on Sunday. I have my choices earmarked, I suggest you do the same! Just tonight I saw Louis Faurer, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Michael O’Brien, Robert Adams and Larry Clark. Make sure you are on the mailing list for the coupons – if you find yourself in need, email me and I will be happy to send. Seek these fine titles out, perhaps one waiting for you with an egregious Sunday discount…. that would be just delightful would it not?

My best to you always, Sean Perry

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 Recommendations from Elizabeth Avedon

Platinum + Silver Prints
Renaissance Press Photogravure
Ashuelot, NH 03441

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Print Information: Prints are gelatin silver, toned in various combinations of sepia, selenium, and gold. They are printed by the artist to archival standards in limited editions. The Gotham series is available in Platinum/Palladium on Cotton Rag, printed with Chris McCaw. Works are presented in ebony stained purple heart wood frames, signed and dated in pencil on verso. Sean Perry's photographs available through Stephen L. Clark Gallery, Austin Texas, phone 512-477-0828.


Unknown said...

How wonderful! Your writings are very educational. I went to Amsterdam to the Howard Greenberg exhibition. It will be one of the things in my life which I will remember, not only the wonderful pictures, but the magical quality of the printing. Thank you:))))) !

Unknown said...

I did not know about Lenswork - that was interesting!