Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Leaving ones print

I come from a family of printers, perhaps so far back as Caxton, but certainly so far back as my grandfather and my father. That my alcoholic father had a severe case of lead poisoning from working with the hot lead type of his profession might prejudice me against some aspects of printing, i.e. actual printers, doesn't diminish my love of the actual printing process, i.e. the machines, the type, the fonts, the paper, the ink, the readers themselves. I love printing presses. I love Gutenberg and Caxton, and I love Luther and Tynedale. I love the Internet. I love the freedom one can attain because of reading, and the machines, even the men who make it all possible.

In a short walk to the bakery to pick up a slice of chocolate cake for dessert I poked my head into a small space in a doorway and saw, to my surprise, a working print shop.

[Print Shop, Arequipa, Peru.]

I can't identify the press itself. I would guess it to be some Heisenberg press, but another could say more and better than I. I like it just as it is, regardless, because it brings information, i.e. freedom, to the masses, for good or ill.

Men such as my family, and me too, we had California Job Cases full of lead bits, of types of various fonts, of slugs, and so on, and from those cases and into boxes went words, all backward, images, backward too, and then on to the bed and under the press to print.

[California Job Case.]

I have endless evil memories of lead poisoned lunatic alcoholics, but that is a personal story, and the story of printing, of literacy, of thinking, of learning and exploring, much of it is universal and available to all of us if only we care to sit down for a bit, to let the world rotate in its natural course, and we can read and maybe gain a bit more from life thanks to the efforts of others who might not, like my family, have any respect whatsoever for the product itself.

[Old man sitting in the sun, reading, Arequipa, Peru, 2011.]

Printing. Oh, I sometimes just laugh out loud when I realise how fortunate I am to live is such a world as this.

No comments: