Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Beautiful Book by Jack Smith,

first published 1962 by Dead Language Press (Piero Heliczer)

The Beautiful Book was advertised with a statement from the filmmaker Ron Rice: 'we studied these photographs with keen eye discovering new & more beautiful images hidden in every dissolve & curve of the draperies & silks which ran through these masterpieces like some long lost mysterious fume from byzantium.'


The book consisted of twenty hand tipped photographs made from contact prints (two and a quarter inches square) presented on yellow pages.  Nineteen of the photos (most of which had been shot over the course of the previous year) were by Jack Smith and the twentieth was a portrait of Smith by his former friend, Ken Jacobs, taken some years before on the steps to the walkway across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Marian Zazeela designed the silkscreened cover and appeared as a model in over half the pictures.


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