Photographs by Laszlo Layton.
Nazraeli Press, Portland, 2012. 60 pp., 58 color illustrations, 11x14".
Laszlo Layton’s artwork comprises modern images that evoke 18th and 19th century natural history drawings. To create his work, Layton first photographs a museum specimen using a restored 11x14-inch mahogany Deardoff camera, fitted with vintage Pinkham & Smith lenses. After making a cyanotype of the image, Layton then painstakingly hand paints the resulting print in subtle hues of color. Each print in the edition is therefore unique, and as much an object as a photographic print. Layton’s work makes obvious reference to naturalist John James Audubon and his majestic illustrations in Birds of America. However, his photographs owe as much to John Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement’s emphasis on naturalism and craftsmanship. Although Layton’s work operates at the intersection of science and art, it is a call to beauty, not a diagram of reality. Laszlo Layton’s work is widely exhibited and collected. It is included in such permanent collections as The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; The L.A. County Museum of Art; and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Pictorial Zoology is his first monograph. It is printed on lush Japanese art paper in an oversized, 11x14-inch format allowing the original artworks to be reproduced at full scale. This first edition is limited to 1,000 casebound copies.