Book by Master Photography Printer Gifted to Fordham Libraries

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Susan Kismaric, an adjunct professor of photography, spent 35 years as a curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art before retiring in 2011. Students taking her courses, one on the history of photography and another on books of photography, have long been the beneficiaries from her strong connections in the photography world.

Now, the University is benefitting too; she recently helped procure a book of 200 photo-offset lithographs by master printer Richard Benson, a donation from Yale University that is one of a limited print run.

The weighty book was produced by the Gilman Paper Company under the direction of Howard Gilman, a descendent of the company’s founder and collector of rare photographs. Largely considered one of the world’s premier photography collections, the Gilman trove of 8,500 photographs was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005.

The donated book serves as an album of the collection’s highlights, said Kismaric.

Kismaric’s professional relationship with Benson, the former dean of the Yale School of Art, facilitated the donation of the book by Yale to Fordham Libraries. He is largely considered one of the best printers in the world, said Kismaric.

The lithographs are particularly significant, she said, in that they match not just the tonality and tone of the original prints, but also their finish as well. In fact, the reproductions are so convincing that MoMA mounted an exhibition of the originals beside Benson’s prints in a 2008 exhibition titled The Printed Picture.

Kismaric shows “Photographs from the Gilman Paper Company” to her class.

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