“A ‘REALM OF BEAUTY’ BEYOND THE CONTROL OF REASON”: CAPONIGRO’S VOICE OF THE PRINT, 1990, WITH EIGHT RICH DUOTONES
CAPONIGRO, Paul. The Voice of the Print (exhibition catalogue). [Williamsburg, Massachusetts]: (Allethaire Press, 1990). Slim octavo, original gray paper portfolio, one loose gathering, eight original duotones. $175.
First edition of these eight finely screened duotone plates, Caponigro’s photographic experiments in treating “tonalities as areas of feeling, quietly or vigorously interacting,” accompanied by the photographer’s explanation of philosophy and purpose.
To Lotte Jacobi, “Paul Caponigro is a poet among photographers.” “His work is often majestic and formal, even though subjects are frequently taken from the most informal aspects of nature: a leaf, a fleeting shadow or an irregular configuration of growth spores.” Throughout his award-winning career, Caponigro has combined “a purist’s faith in the mimetic quality of the medium with a mystical, visionary temperament… seeking a ‘realm of beauty’ beyond the control of reason” (New York Times). With meditative images especially attuned to nature’s evocative power, Caponigro has expanded Ansel Adams’ and “Edward Weston’s love of landscape towards the realm of mystery” (Frizot, 668). His continuing passion for the natural world is described as an attempt “‘to express and make visible the forces moving in and through nature… gaining contact ‘with the greater dimension-the landscape behind the landscape” (Photobook, 84). In this nicely designed exhibition catalogue, Caponigro encourages viewers to “use the eye as the ear would hear and try to grasp the silver voice of the print.” The selection includes his classic image “Sunflower, Winthrop, Mass.” See Szarkowski, 192.
A fine copy.