The Archive of Bernard Taylor

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Presentation by Understory:

" In his preface, filmmaker Peter Ward describes acquiring the archive of Bernard Taylor, an enigmatic former resident of his suburban New York village. Ward selected and edited this group of Taylor's papers: intimate worksheets that combine a series of photographs, maps, and postcards with illusive short texts that were clearly created for Taylor's private study. Ward’s editorial interjections – all relating to local history – punctuate the book, and blur distinctions between fiction, biography, and reportage.

An afterword by The Publisher contextualizes Taylor's worksheets, critically re-examines Ward's editorial practices, and describes the agonizing process of preparing this edition.

The Archive is equal parts photographic narrative, fiction, puzzle and mystery – an obstructed view of an inward journey that explores the outside world. The questions and answers remain with the reader to piece together. "

The title page of this book states « Second Edition », but the book is indeed a first (and unique!) edition... this mention adds an element of fiction, and is also a reference to an edition of 50 copies that Peter Ward had previously self-published. Additional contextual information about the discovery of the archive, and the work of Peter Ward (including a short interview with him) is available in this C4 Journal article. The article indicates: « Ward spent several years putting the archive into order, adding his own editors' notes, eventually publishing it privately in a small run of 50 copies which were given away to family and friends. The present book is a facsimile of Ward's original publication. »

As an additional option to the purchase of the book, we are offering a few copies of the sister publication to the project (also published by Understory) titled Hillside - Further Selections from The Archive of Bernard Taylor. This title comes from "Hillside Woods and Park" in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York state, where Bernard Taylor lived, and where the story takes place. This booklet (32-page stapled softcover - format 12.7 x 20.3 cm) includes 3 poems by Bernard Taylor, 15 photographs that do not appear in the book, and an short history of the Hillside area.

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure to select your option (book alone or book + booklet) under the price before adding the selection to your cart.

144 pages - Hardcover

Understory, 2021 (500 copies)

Format : 20.3 x 25.4 cm

New - Mint condition

Warning: Last books in stock!


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This generic "author" is created for photobooks that are based on thematic archives, archives based on several artists' works and / or archives of various media collected or assembled either by established artists or in vernacular fashion. © The first image ever captured: "Point de vue du Gras" by Nicéphore Niépce (1827)