Volume 13, Edition 2
January 2019 magazine
Poems by Robert Lax and Essay by Anthony Bannon
Collector’s Edition of 350, Hardcover: 96 pages, 11.5” x 10.25”
This gem of a publication has been germinating for more than 4 years as Loranc combed his archive spanning 2 decades for images of reeds, tules and water’s edge. Once the collection of spare, intimate, suggestive images was assembled, these photos were carefully paired with select poems by Robert Lax, digitally mastered for avant-garde lithographic printing and laid into a cohesive design reflecting the minimal, essential nature of both contributors. An essay on the synthesis of Loranc’s photos and poems by Robert Lax was written by Anthony Bannon, Director Emeritus of the George Eastman House, help to anchor the volume. The Collector’s Edition of 350 units is produced with a slip-cased, linen-bound book and presented with the buyer’s choice of one silver-gelatin Loranc original photo print (from 5 images offered).
The volume is compellingly quiet and reflective; both image and poetry harmonize to yield a guided contemplative meditation page by page. “These Loranc photographs employ ideas, found in the tules, which are fundamental to design, recalling the tectonic work of Paul Klee, a painter and poet with origins in the Bauhaus. Loranc finds forms that are the building blocks of so much of art—the straight line, the arc, triangle, and rectilinear shapes. They are utilized to create all that is on the margins of a vanishing point, or within the focused and flattened two–dimensional surface Loranc uses so well. “Loranc’s photos are visual invitations to be still, just as Lax’s poetry speaks with insights drawn from a placid center. In photography, Loranc participates from a place in the medium’s genesis and continuance. His work with the tule assembles among the mas-terful series by photographers renowned in photo history”, says Bannon in his essay.
Roman Loranc was born in the city of Bielsko-Biala, southwestern Poland in 1956, during the communist era. In 1982 he immigrated to Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1984 he moved from the Midwest to Modesto, California. Much of his early, better-known photographic work was created in California’s Central Valley. He moved to Northern California near Mt. Shasta in 2006 where he currently resides. Three monographs of his work have been published: Two-Hearted Oak, Fractal Dreams and Absolution. His photographs are also held by museums and institutions world-wide including the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Paris, France), the George Eastman house (Rochester, New York), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas), the Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado), and the National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China). His work is available in fine art photography galleries and his printed photography archive can be viewed on his website.
Robert Lax (1915-2000) was born in Olean, New York. He studied with Mark Van Daren at Columbia University and worked as an editor for the New Yorker, Jubilee and Pax. In the 1960s he moved to Patmos, Greece, where he resided for his remaining years. His many published books include 33 Poems (1987), Love had a Compass (1996), A Thing That Is (1997) and Circus Days and Nights (2000). His correspondence with Thomas Merton, a lifelong friend, is published in When Prophecy Still had a Voice (2001). He has been acknowledged as one of the most original and important poets of the Twentieth Century.
Dr. Anthony Bannon is emeritus director of George Eastman Museum and the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State College. He has written more than 40 books and catalogs, appearing in nearly 100 different editions, preserved in nearly 2000 libraries and archives. He wrote about Roman Loranc in the book, Absolution and has lectured widely on Robert Lax. He is the 2012 winner of the Royal Photographic Society of Britain’s J. Dudley Johnson Award for History and Criticism of Photography and Strategic Advisor to the Director and Senior Scholar at Feature Film Conservatory of St. Bonaventure University in New York City.