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A photographic exploration into an industry-turned-craft — Letterpress
by Catherine Adam.
Letterpress: A mechanical impression-based printing technique from a bygone era that utilizes raised metal and wooden type to imprint words on a page.
Johannes Gutenberg perfected the practice of letterpress in the fifteenth century and from here it became the primary form of printing and communication for more than 500 years. But then some thirty years ago this method of printing came to an abrupt end with the invention of digital printing technologies.
Today, letterpress has evolved into an art form, rather than a standard printing practice. It can’t compete with digital printing in terms of speed of production, but for many enthusiasts the world over, myself included, pushing pixels around the screen just doesn’t have the same satisfaction as working directly with ink, wood, metal and paper.
This project combines two of my passions, typography and photography. It is a visual documentation of New Zealand’s Printing Museum in action. Thank you to the team of volunteers at the museum for welcoming me, my camera and my many questions into the museum.
Catherine Adam is a freelance graphic designer and photographer based in Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast.