Gomer Press has printed Now and Then, a retrospective book for the work of documentary photographer Daniel Meadows.
The book was launched to tie in with an exhibition of his work at the Bodleian Library in Oxford which started last week. This marks the donation of Meadows’ archive of work to Oxford University. Meadows rose to prominence in the 1970s when he toured English cites in a double decker bus, offering to take photos of anyone passing by, one the first times that working class people had been subject to professional photography. Twenty-five years later, Meadows revisited the places and tried to find the people that he had recorded first time around. That project became a book called The Bus.
Now and Then is built around this and other work. It is a case bound book comprising 176 pages and published by Bodleian Library. And it is increasingly typical of work that Gomer Press is taking on.
Earlier in the summer, the printer made waves when announcing it was to close its publishing arm. “That was only 8% of our business last year,” says managing director Jonathan Lewis, “so we decided to wind this down. Publishing in Wales is more and more difficult, so it makes sense to concentrate more on printing.
“We are printing high quality hard back book work and that seems to be going pretty well for us with publishers like the RA, V&A and Bodleian.”
This will involve the publishers visiting the Llandysul factory for press passes on its five colour Speedmaster XL106 LE-UV. Gomer has also invested in Kolbus perfect binding and case making. Folded sheets are then sent to the publisher’s production department for final acceptance.
“Our whole business has changed over the last five years as we have come to concentrate on book printing, helped by investment in in-house case binding. We still produce commercial print, but there is less competition in book printing than commercial print.
“We are fortunate that there are customers who want to keep work in the UK, where we can turn a book around much faster than the four weeks needed for a book to be delivered from China. We are concentrating on shorter run production which is working for us.”
Now Gomer is about to embark on its first participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair, having participated in the London International Book Fair on the last three occasions.
By Gareth Ward
Daniel Meadows documented ordinary life, first in the 1970s, then 25 years later. And last week to mark the presentation of his archive to Oxford University, those subjects were invited to an exhibition and book launch at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.