Presses Roll for Vietnam 40 Years Later

Starting the day with Andrea Albertini (right), president of Damiani Editore, with the first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later.

Starting the day with Andrea Albertini (right), president of Damiani Editore, reviewing first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later.

 

 

BOLOGNA, Italy — A photographer’s dream began rolling off the presses today — my dream to be precise.

In full color, broad white sheets that contain eight book pages are being printed here at the Damiani Editore printing facility in Bologna, Italy. The printing of Vietnam 40 Years Later is the culmination of more than eight years of work, nine trips to Vietnam, the editing of tens of thousands of images and the final crafting of what I believe is going to be a beautiful book.

The Damiani team is printing 2,000 copies of Vietnam 40 Years Later, which will be released March 1 next year as part of the semi-annual release of photo books in the

Electronic adjustments fine-tune color in images.

Electronic adjustments fine-tune color in images.

Spring. The book contains 110 pages of beautiful color photographs that will update Americans on what has happened to Vietnam since the end of the American-Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago. There are about another 25 portraits of Vietnamese people from all walks of life, something of a reintroduction of the Vietnamese people to Americans.

The book contains a eloquent foreword by Andrew Lam, an award-winning Vietnamese-American journalist and book author. I also have drawn on my writing skills to pen a photographer’s essay.

Damiani is one of the world’s leading publishers of photography and art books. And being on hand to see the team at Damiani work has given me an insight to why they have this well-earned reputation. As the pages roll off the press, I am blown away by the amazing details in each photo, the stunning colors and contrast that gives the images enormous depth. The quality challenges the very best digital printing that we now use for fine-art prints.

My day at Damiani started early and the company’s president, Andrea Albertini, had a table stacked with proofs, known as blue prints, for me to review. I was asked to proof the pages one more time, making sure the sequence of photos was correct and that all the text was clean with no errors. This always makes me nervous because my talents are not in proof reading; I was always the writer who benefitted from the sharp eyes and editing skills of my editors.

Final adjustments are made to the press (left). Pages are stacked on pallet.

Final adjustments are made to the press (left). Pages are stacked on pallet.

After proofing all the pages, the first press run started. I moved to the pressroom where Damiani’s highly skilled printers were examining the first pages. They are checked to make sure the color plates are in register and to make adjustments in various inks to get the best colors and contrast.

Even though I spent decades in the newspaper business, this is my first book and I am the novice here this week. I am shown the first pages and they actually look fine to my untrained eye. But the printers tell me the images look flat and they are going to boost the cyan a tad which will add contrast and depth. The adjustments are made, new pages roll off the press and examined. Indeed, this batch sparkles a bit more and the images have considerably more depth.

Checking color registration for the book cover.

Checking color registration for the book cover.

As this process is repeated throughout the day, I am asked to approve proofs of the pages before they are printed. And with each set, I think I am getting a little better at seeing some of the very subtle differences once the fine-tuning takes place. In any event, I can tell my book is in the hands of skilled artisans who care and take pride in their work.

By the end of the day, half the book is published. The sets of pages are stacked on crates overnight. Tomorrow the pages will be reloaded into the press so that the other half of the book can be printed on the reverse side.

I end the day having dinner with Andrea and learning more about book publishing. I go to sleep tonight feeling relieved that I will not be responsible for reloading the pages into the press and making sure the photos are printed right-side up!

Buy your book now: www.Vietnam40YearsLater.com.

 

Andrea (left) and Johnny inspect the first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later.

Andrea (left) and Gianni Grandi inspect the first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later.

 

 

Davide Cornachini, a printer at Damiani. inspects page for color registration.

Davide Cornachini, a printer at Damiani, inspects page for color registration.

 

The Damiani printing team inspects the first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later for color, contrast and other details.

The Damiani team inspects the first pages of Vietnam 40 Years Later for color, contrast and other details.

 

 

Printers test the color in the photo after a through a laminate that will be placed on the book cover.

Printers test the color in a photo through a laminate that will be placed on the book cover.

 

 

As the day progresses, each set of eight pages is stacked on wood pallets. The finished pages will go to a book binder.

As the day progresses, each set of eight pages is stacked on wood pallets.

 

Sheets of book pages appear to fly through the press as the printing moves into full pace.

Sheets of book pages appear to fly through the press as the printing moves into full pace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Presses Roll for Vietnam 40 Years Later

  1. Toan says:

    I saw all the photos yours, it is very nice and wonderful. You have a Technical good skill. I really like it

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