COLORFULLY INSCRIBED BY RALPH STEINER, WITH A DRAWING, FIRST EDITION OF IN PURSUIT OF CLOUDS
STEINER, Ralph. In Pursuit of Clouds: Images and Metaphors. (Albuquerque): University of New Mexico Press, (1985). Oblong quarto, original gray cloth, original photographic dust jacket. $800.
First edition of Steiner’s “experiment in the process of seeing,” inscribed in the year of publication, in red and blue ink, “For darling Barbara, Ralph Steiner, Chanukmass 1985,” with a stick-figure self-portrait, and continuing along the bottom of the page in red ink, “snap lovely pishers [sic], but don’t point at © clouds!” With 62 full-page duotone photogravures of striking cloud formations.
Contemporary with Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand, Ralph Steiner infused his work both as a commercial photographer and independent artist with an ongoing interest in “eye-catching formal arrangements that he found or made” (Frizot, 482). Steiner was driven, not by “the photograph for its own sake; on the contrary he was… only concerned with what the picture does, what it has to say” (Willard Van Dyke). In keeping with this philosophy, museum-goers to Steiner’s Clouds exhibition in 1984 were asked to report what the photographs “had to say”— in other words, what would be the captions? “The results are often contradictory, surprising, funny, or poetical, but above all an enrichment of the process of seeing.” Their responses follow each section of photographs. With an extensive essay by the photographer detailing his techniques and intentions.
Fine condition, scarce inscribed.