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Josephine Sacabo (photographer), Keagan LeJeune (author), John Wood (editor and contributor), John Marcy (printmaker), Crissy Welzen (typographer), Arthur Larson (printer), Mark Tomlinson (binder), Pam Clark (production manager), Steven Albahari (publisher), Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble: the art of Josephine Sacabo and Keagan LeJeune, South Dennis, MA: 21st Editions, 2012, Gift of the Thompson Family Foundation

Celebrating 25 Years of Photography and the Book Arts with 21st Editions

Focus: Exhibitions

  • Saturday, June 1, 2024
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium
  • Talks
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

An important showcase for early 21st century photography, 21st Editions celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The publisher creates handcrafted artists’ books that combine finely printed text with photographs by leading artists. Join us for a conversation with 21st Editions’ founder and publisher Steven Albahari, production manager Pam Clark, contributing photographer Josephine Sacabo, and typographer Crissy Welzen. The National Gallery of Art Library and the University of Minnesota Libraries each preserve a complete set of 21st Editions artist books and celebrate this anniversary with concurrent exhibitions. Yuri Long, the National Gallery’s special collections librarian and curator of In the Library: Photography and the Book Arts from the 21st Editions Collection, moderates this conversation.

About the Presenters

Steven Albahari (born 1957, Rochester, New York) is the founder and publisher of 21st Editions, Inc, The Art of the Book®. Albahari studied music at the Cape Cod Conservatory, obtained a first-class engineering license at age 16, and earned a BA in photography and theatrical lighting at Bennington College and an MS in Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his postgraduate year, Albahari edited Silo, Bennington College’s annual literary and arts magazine that would become 21st Edition’s central inspiration: the combination of word and image. Launched 1998 in Cape Cod, 21st Editions has published a diverse range of more than 60 handmade artists’ books. Inspired by Alfred Stieglitz and Williams Morris, each work requires several years to complete, and each resulting volume is the unique expression of the 8-12 artists and artisans involved in the project.

Pam Clark serves as the production and office manager of 21st Editions. Born in Vermont, Clark joined 21st Editions in 2005—discovering her own creative thread. Clark became the liaison between the publisher and production artists. Her work includes sourcing materials for production, directing the binding process, creating custom handmade papers, and developing the comprehensive design for individual titles and the 21st Collections. Clark represents 21st Editions on visits to art shows, libraries, and museums. 

Joséphine Sacabo (born 1944, Laredo, Texas) divides her time between New Orleans and Mexico. Both inform her work, resulting in imagery that is as dreamlike, surreal, and romantic as the places that she calls home. After earning her BA at Bard College in New York, she lived and worked extensively in France and England. Her earlier work was in the photo-journalisitic tradition, influenced by Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She now creates in a very subjective, introspective style, using poetry for inspiration. Sacabo’s portfolios are visual manifestations of the written word, and she credits poets as her most important influences, including Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vicente Huidobro, Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Her images transport the viewer into a world of constructed beauty. Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble: The Art of Josephine Sacabo and Keagan LeJeune is on view in the exhibition Photography and the Book Arts from the 21st Editions Collection.

Crissy Welzen is a graphic designer living and working in Rochester, New York. She earned a BA in fine art photography at the California College of Arts and Crafts, now called CCA, in Oakland. During her tenure at 21st Editions, Welzen has designed 26 titles that include work by photographers Imogen Cunningham, Sally Mann, and Masao Yamamoto. Her expertise lies in typography and typeface selection. The foundation of Welzen's design work can be best summarized by the words of Max Lomont, former Director of Packaging and Design for Quaker Oats in Chicago, her greatest teacher and inspiration, and her grandfather: “The execution of an effective design should have impact, simplicity, legibility, versatility, consistency, and honesty.” (Applied Photography, Number 58, 1974) Seven titles designed by Welzen are on view In the Library exhibition.