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Production Narrative

by D. Beube

Prior to attending the [Visual Studies] Workshop, I documented various events such as football games and urban landscapes and traveled with circuses as a photo-journalist. In making Manhattan Street Romance I wanted to interpret a personal experience using photography and text, integrating them into the book medium. By turning the camera inwards, onto the author, explicitly and metaphorically I became the visual subject. To achieve this I shot numerous pictures of myself, (which I was not used to doing,) my collaborator, Marian, and collected ephemera about our long distance relationship. I created a visual narrative by collaging the materials and reproduced the individual pages using a graphic arts camera (Brown Tarval?) to make half tone negatives, which were burned onto zinc plates, (I think) and printed on the offset Heidelberg press by Tom Sullivan. With the insightful guidance of Joan Lyons, (she encouraged me to make my first editioned artists’ book,) the constructive technical assistance of Ed Reed and the expertise of Tommy who did a superb printing job, the pamphlet bound book turned out well. If I were to change anything about the project, I would have printed more than 500 copies; maybe double that, as the edition sold out, surprisingly, relatively quickly. The second juncture would have been to print the numerous postcards used in the book in another color to separate them from the original artwork. Otherwise, I am pleased with the results as the book looks today. Over the years I thought about reprinting the book but in my move from Rochester to Brooklyn, the printing plates were lost.

Critical Analysis

by T. Shaw

Design Features

typographic: Type overlaid on imagery with line-lengths and point-size varying to fit with pictorial elements.

imagery: Black-and-white photographry with collage elements incorporating interior spaces, food, street scenes, close-ups of objects, etc.

graphical: Full-bleed imagery is consistent throughout the book.

openings: Openings vary, sometimes conveying a "face-to-face" approach, others an expressionistic view of city apartments, streets, and parks.

turnings: Turnings are consistent save one foldout page which, like other turnings, is meant keep the reader's interest as well as connect to thematic content. A visual "first-person" approach, connecting the reader to the book's subject via interaction and vantage point is used.

development: The book has a film-like development moving fluidly from one "scene" to the next and also moves from a first-person vantage to a more second-person vantage where we are looking at the subjects, and then back to the first-person where we are playing the part of the subject in the end.

textual: The text ranges from letter fragments to gypsy fortunes to descriptive prose.

structure: The book has a more or less symmtetrical structure where we begin looking over a cityscape holding a mobile of stars and planets, and end there as well, as if to say the book were one full revolution.

Critical Discussion

William Ganis is contributing an essay about Doug Beube’s photography and bookworks in an upcoming monograph to be published in the spring of 2007. William describes Manhattan Street Romance in this way, “One of Beube’s first editions, Manhattan Street Romance (1982), juxtaposes photographs, texts, and personal letters in a recherché of a long-distance relationship. The images skip like edits to create a découpaged disjunctive narrative. The details of apartments, SoHo streets, Central Park, signs, and other random subjects seem like flashes of memory and bespeak a human quality of perception (far more than the picturesque). Full of descriptions of sound, the texts suggest the audio tracks so important in adding, in Christian Metz’s terms, ”a semblance of life” to cinema. Even the end of the book in which the characters “vanish” is a filmic fade-out.”

Manhattan Street Romance

Agents

Douglas Beube

type: initiating

role:
artist
photographer


Visual Studies Workshop Press

type: initiating

role:


Measurements

vertical: 6.25 inches closed

horizontal: 9.5 inches closed

depth: .125 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
offset (local)

binding: saddle stitching (AAT)

substrate:
bookBlock: paper

media:
ink (local)

Appearance

general description:

format: codex (AAT)

cover: paper

color: no

pagination: unpaginated

Colophon

Related Documents

manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive