Warsaw was founded in the 13th century and by the 16th century became the seat of the Polish king. But between 1939 and 1945 more than 80% of the city was destroyed. Ever resourceful, the Polish people depended partly on a series of beautiful paintings by Bernardo Bellotto (an 18th century Venetian painter who was the nephew of Canaletto) to faithfully rebuild the city. This is Old Town Market Square in 1993 from Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my book about my parents’ story of love and survival during the Holocaust.
Three weeks after being on press two advance copies arrived. Seeing the images as prints and back-lit on computers, and reading the text on paper, cannot compare to the experience of holding my first book in my hands…a truly singular moment.
Despite the recent heat wave in Europe, the presses at Damiani Editore outside Bologna were humming along when I was there July 1 and 2. It’s difficult to describe the emotions that I felt when the first sheets came off the press, but with only subtle changes to some of the images—bumping up the black to gain contrast or pulling back on the second color, a neutral gray—the scans I made years ago on a Nikon coolscan 9000 proved to have been the right decision.
After more than 20 years, seeing these images printed for the first time is like having life breathed into them. The book was printed on GardaMatt Ultra, a beautiful Italian coated paper with a rough matt surface that will only add to the tactile experience of holding and reading this book.