Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey—Photographs from Twenty-Five Years (1992)

Michael A. Smith

In 1992, I was scheduled to have a twenty-five year retrospective exhibition at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. I thought that it would be appropriate to have a book of my photographs as a record of the variety of subjects I had photographed since 1966. Because of the success of Landscapes 1975–1979, I had been thought of as only a "landscape photographer," when in reality I had photographed four American cities and had made many portraits in addition to my photographs of the natural landscape.
I set out to find a publisher. Little Brown, at that time the best-known publisher of photography books, said that they would like to publish the book, but that I would have to put up the entire cost of production. I then contacted the University of New Mexico Press, who was then publishing many excellent books of fine photographs. They also said that would like to publish the book, and it would not cost me anything, but being a scholarly press, they needed the essay ten months ago. This was eight months before the opening at the Eastman House.
I had thought that Landscapes 1975–1979 would be the last book I would ever publish, but with the response from Little Brown and the UNM Press, I gulped and turned to Paula, and said that we would have to publish the book ourselves. As I had done before, I offered a pre-publication offer of a slipcased "Special Edition" that came with the purchaser's choice of any print in the book for half price. Once again I was able to raise over $100,000, which was the eventual cost of this 192-page book with 176 reproductions. We were fortunate to break even three weeks after the publication date, and Lodima Press was here to stay. Today (2015), fewer than 200 copies remain from the edition of 3,000.

There are 176 reproductions in this book. The first forty-eight photographhs are reproduced one per page with blank facing pages in the “Plates” section of the book. The others are reproducedf four per page for the 8x0s and two per page for the 8x20s in the “Catalogue” section.


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