After being around for a few press runs I realized that I had to capture the relationships between the pressmen and their machines. Running the presses is an art form unto itself. They rely on tension and minute adjustments to achieve proper registration. Observing a press run is like watching an instrument being played and tuned at the same time, until it produces a pitch perfect note. These are video pieces I have made at each Printing Company I have photographed. My intention is to have these pieces be an accompaniment to a photographic exhibition. I let each new angle of the presses linger for an extended period so you can get a sense of the movement of each part of the press line. In addition to the footage many of the pieces include interviews with the Ownership and the Pressmen themselves.
Fricke-Parks Newspaper Printing
Fricke-Parks newspaper Printing is located in Union City California. This video shows the inner workings of the presses and is accompanied by an interview with Dave Brown who is part owner and manager of Fricke-Parks. Dave is realistic and insightful in his assessment of the current state and future of the printing industry.
Howard Quinn is unique among the Printing companies I am visiting for this project. It was in business in the same location for more than 50 years, one of the last union shops in the Bay Area. I tend look at the larger effects of printing presses on society but print companies are focused on the job of printing. Howard Quinn took pride in servicing their customers, meeting deadlines, and providing a superior product. One thing that is hard to convey in pictures is that the printing industry has supported many families and individuals for many years and its decline has a human toll. With job insecurity at an all time high Howard Quinn had been there for its employees over the years, something few companies these days can say. Howard Quinn Company was an amazing treasure and a part of San Francisco history.
Interviews Part One
Interviews Part Two
Making of the Press Tabloid
The Vacaville Reporter
The Vacaville reporter is my hometown Newspaper and the starting point for this project. Her you can see the adjustments required during a daily press run. Sometimes we take for granted the work which goes into each paper we read.
San Francisco Newspaper Printing Company
Located on Evans street in San Francisco this is the last of the Daily printers still doing business. SFNPC is the largest of the printers I have visited. They print a wide variety of weekly and also the San Francisco Examiner. I show two different facilities in these videos both owned by SFNPC. I was immediately struck by the large space which houses these presses. The warehouse is still turning out considerable product, but you can see the traces of an even more robust past. I have come to learn that dirty presses are busy presses and it is really a badge of honor and productivity.
Printing at Evans Street
Printing at the Warehouse