Twin Palms Publishers - TwelveTrees Press

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Twin Palms Publishers and Twelvetrees Press produce some of the finest art and photography books available. Beautifully designed and printed, the books have never ceased impressing viewers, either for challenging and provocative content, or for their sheer beauty as objects. We hope to present an artist's finest work in books whose beauty will be evident to those who appreciate the art of fine book making. We feel the books have a look and feel that makes them unique. High quality papers and printing, small print runs, and award-winning design assure the long-lasting value and collectibility of each volume, and as the only publisher using the sheet-fed gravure process, the velvety richness of our black and white photography books is unmatched.

We often receive comments about the unique look and feel of our books. Part of the difference is a design sensibility which is tradition based but remains fresh and unfettered by the usual "design by committee" approach of most publishing companies. In many cases though, the sheet-fed gravure printing process is responsible for these remarks and queries. Gravure is an archaic process in which an etched and inked copper plate is pressed directly onto the paper to create the image. For the most part, the gravure machines still in use date from 1900-1930, and the process was widely used before WWII. After the introduction of "offset" printing (In offset printing rubber rollers transfer inks from the plate to the paper allowing machines to run at much higher speeds -- "offset" includes four-color, tritone, and duotone printing) gravure became nearly obsolete as printers replaced their aging machines with bigger, faster offset presses. The gravure process is painstaking, labor intensive (and therefore more expensive), and allows much more ink to be transferred than rubber rollers. It provides rich, full blacks even when printing on uncoated, archival papers. Only Nissha Printing Company, of Kyoto, Japan has maintained their gravure press and continues to offer sheet-fed gravure services to publishers overseas. They have produced all of our recent gravure books.

Begun in Los Angeles in 1980 by Jack Woody, the press has published over sixty titles, covering a wide spectrum of visual culture, contemporary art, photography, and historical monographs. Our first book, George Platt Lynes: Photographs 1931-1955, was immediately recognized as a classic monograph on this long-forgotten artist. In the eighteen years since its publication, we have undertaken many equally significant projects. We were the first to present monographs on the work of Joel-Peter Witkin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Matt Mahurin, Herb Ritts, and Bruce Weber. Our list of titles also includes books by such notable artists as Horst P. Horst, James Herbert, Ellen Von Unwerth, Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, F. Holland Day, Allen Ginsberg, and Duane Michals.

In addition to producing books which have forced photo historians to reassess the work of photographers like Platt Lynes, F. Holland Day, and Herbert List, in the last few years Twin Palms has been instrumental in bringing recognition to the work of several noted contemporary artists; Nancy Burson, Robert Flynt, John Dugdale, John Patrick Salisbury, Michael Light, and Pablo Ortiz Monasterio. At the same time, we undertook to publish the contents of several haunting archives; Harms Way includes images from The Kinsey Institute for Sex Research, and turn-of-the-century crime scenes from the New York City Police Department. Photographs from The Burns Archive have been included in Masterpieces of Medical Photography, Sleeping Beauty, and Harms Way. In 1996 we published The Killing Fields, which features portraits from the secret archive of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, and was selected as Photography Book of the Year by The International Center for Photography and by American Photo magazine.

Recent releases include a re-release of Danny Lyon's long-out-of-print "The Bikeriders," a seminal work of documentary photography reprinted here on sheet-fed gravure with a new introduction by the author. In addition, look for "A Morning's Work," a stunning historical overview of medical photographs selected from the Burns archive, and the intimate portraits that make up Kurt Markus' "Boxers."

Each year our books are recognized as some of the finest published in the field of visual arts, and receive numerous awards for design excellence. We hope you'll find our publications of interest and add them to your library. If you have further questions about our program please use "web site comments" to let us hear from you. Thank You.

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