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Deeply Game Publications ~California
(Sara Press)

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Sara Press: "My book projects have differed outwardly from one another, but share a common goal: to parse human behavior, particularly in our relationship with the natural world. Our response as a species and as individuals to the raw substance of nature – whether we are breeding dogs to suit specific needs, evolving our brains, or trying to cheat death – has provided me with rich material to mine for my work. The book form has allowed me to imbue my projects with conceptual and intellectual depth at the same time as I indulge my love of fine craftsmanship and beauty."
Krahn & Press: Collaboration with Tiana Krahn  

Girls Vs. Books
By Sara Press
Sebastopol, California: Deeply Game Publications, 2022. Edition of 15.

10" x 8"; 66 pages. Illustrated pastedowns and free end pages. Printed with rubber stamps & pigment ink. Images printed with Indigo Electroink on Mohawk Superfine paper. Font is Cochin. Photography by Sara L. Press. Bound in illustrated paper covers with cloth spine. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Sara Press: "’Girls vs. Books’ is an artist’s book made from my Storied Books* photographic series about vernacular altered books.

“The extra-illustrated books in this photo-based project were grangerized, stamped, and drawn-in between 1865 and 1980 by young women who didn't think twice about violating the sanctity of the printed page with their own editorializations. "My photographs, portraits of transcendent everyday objects, cherish the forms and textures of books. Beyond simple lyricism or nostalgia, however, the images celebrate the active consumption of information. They encourage us - even digital natives - to question, enhance, and transmute our received cultural mores.

"In a nod to tis content, this edition was printed (on Mohawk Superfine paper) as machine-bound books that I then cut up, rebound, and titled with rubber stamps."

*Sara Press, Storied Books: “Books act upon us, changing our minds and lives. We act upon them by turning pages, by dog-earing or underlining important passages, and by passing them around. Certain books bear the marks of more aggressive interaction, however, and this is what I have been documenting with my ongoing project in three parts, Storied Books.

“While engaged in the daily struggle to protect my own books from the ravages of little hands, I noticed that many of the crayon- and pencil- marks made by long-grown children have now matured into enhancements. I began photographing volumes that had been ‘defaced’ long ago by a persistent series of girls and women who have talked back to their books.”

Girls vs. Books
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Cartoon Physics
Poem by Nick Flynn Photographs
[Sebastopol, California]: Deeply Game Productions, 2019. Edition of 40.

8 x 6.25"; 48 pages. Printed with letterpress text in Twentieth Century type. Indigo Electroink images. Printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. Book design and binding by Sara Press. Signed by the poet and the photographer. Numbered.

In short, this book demonstrates how potential cataclysm does not negate our human scratchings but makes them more significant, perhaps turns some into art.

Sara Press: "In light of the vastness of time, space and the potential for human suffering, this artist’s book confronts impermanence and vulnerability at the human scale — and at other orders of magnitude.

"As each of us gains personal & scientific understanding of our place in the world and in the universe, this clashes with our emotional investment in the details of our own life. We know both that nothing matters and that everything does.

"At the core of this book are two photographic series, interwoven. On the white pages, images of modern childhood in all its fragility, awkwardness, & ambiguity conjure loveliness with all its potential for heartbreak. Layered with these are cameraless images of light itself, which has crept through a stack of sensitized paper. Transcending scale, they might be wildfires, supernovae, or solar flares. Dispassionate foils to our human conceits, the timeless principals of physics contrast with the flickers of human joy and sorrow.

"Nevertheless, the human scale holds its own in this balance: what we stand to lose is still important, even if only to us. Like all books, this book is an ark. These tiny, overlooked moments of human experience are fragments, shored against ruin.

"The photographs comprise an inner book, wrapped in a soft cover that can be peeled away to reveal the spine’s stitching (the book’s own vulnerability). Encasing this is a folio featuring Nick Flynn’s eponymous poem, 'Cartoon Physics, Part 1', a bittersweet meditation on childhood and scale, obliviousness and oblivion. The poem is another stab at grasping the ungraspable, intended to be read separately and then held in mind while looking at the photographs.

"'Cartoon Physics' was conceived in the wake of the 2016 election, and created after a subsequent wildfire destroyed thousands of homes in my community."

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The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep
Story by Christina Lauritsen
Images and book design by Andy Rottner and Sara Press
[Minneapolis, Minnesota]: Deeply Game Publications/ Super Classy Publishing, 2012. Edition of 55.

6.75 x 8.75"; 52 pages includes two foldouts extending to 26". Codex bound. Letterpressed on to giclée backgrounds, which are digitally printed on Epson 3880. Fonts: Garamon and Bembo; Title: Watson. Paper: Moab Entrada. Photos depict pages from The Complete Anderson (NY: Heritage Press, 1949); and The Book of Fables and Folk Stories by Horace E. Scudder (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1919). Line images drawn by Andrew Rottner. Bound in cut-marbled-paper and brocade-covered boards with paper title on spine.

Sara Press: "Andrew Rottner collaborated on this tribute to printing’s golden age. The story, by Christina Lauritsen, misremembers H.C. Andersen’s classic tale of the same name as a story of revelation and madness. The visual progression of the book mirrors the plot, pitting the beauty of the decorative arts against the intense and unpredictable messiness of human experience. This book confronts the inevitability of loss as well as bows to intellectual freedom and its attendant risks."

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Twenty Short Poems by Zoologists
By Sara Press
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Deeply Game Publications, 2005. Edition of 100.

4.5 x 6"; 34 leaves. Codex bound. Letterpress printed. Fonts: Tiepolo and Dalliance. Cloth covered boards paper title label inset on front cover.

Sara Press: "A small, full-cloth-bound letterpress book, of found "poems," which I have discovered over the years in field guides and zoology textbooks. These excerpts of unintentionally poetic language are delicious both linguistically and in the unbelievable-yet-true bizarreness of the creatures described. The volume celebrates the poesy and affection inherent in the supposedly objective scientific eye, and contains 4 letterpress illustrations of the hands and feet of different species of primates."

Text taken from Zoology - a Guide to the Animal Kingdom by Burnett-Fisher-Zim, Collins Gem Guide to Wild Animals by John A. Burton, Creatures of the Mangrove and Lions of the African Night by National Geographic, The Life of Vertebrates by J. Z. Young, and other zoology texts from the twentieth century (references now lost).

Molluscs are a diverse group
of over 45,000 species -
some beautiful,
some economically important
and some decidedly bizarre.


Twenty Short Poems by Zoologists book
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Collaboration work with Tiana Krahn.and beauty.

Inconclusive Manual for Unanswerable Questions
By Sara Press & Tiana Krahn
[Sebastopol, California]: Krahn & Press, 2022.
Edition of 20 + 4 hors de commerce.

5 x 7”, 84 pages. Letterpress (text) & Indigo Electroink (images) on Mohawk Superfine papers. Bound in gray bookcloth with title on front cover. Housed in 7.5 x 11 x 4.75” lidded storage box. Title inserted in metal label holder attached to box. Hand sculpture laid in box. Numbered. Signed by both artists.

Sara Press: "What if there was a standard-issue handbook that resolved grief, discord, paradox and ancestral trauma? As young artists, we dreamed of a world where there were no rules, but in this time of internal & external chaos, we wish there were more definitive answers.

“During a particularly difficult year, we traded sketchbooks back and forth, completing each other’s empty hands with objects that communicated our struggles and sought solutions.

“We know nothing is simple, but we indulged ourselves with the fantasy that things could be. We knew our drawings, born from questions, would contain all the answers if seen in the right combinations. So we indexed them with the moral authority of any other handbook grasping at truths, and solved all the world’s problems.”

Inconclusive Manual for Unanswerable Questions” contains 36 images of a hand holding an object. The artists divided these solutions into 21 problems/issues – from “To Deal with Intolerable Grief” and “maintaining Order in Your Household” to “How to Raise a Child” and “How to Let Go”. The table of Contents identifies each issue and the drawings they feel may help with a truth or solution. This being a ‘manual’ one can read from front to back or pick an item from the list and go directly to that figure for a thoughtful answer.

Each book comes with a life-sized gypsum cement hand that cradles it for display in different ways.

Inconclusive Manual for Unanswerable Questions book
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Deeply Game Pub SOLD / Out of Print Titles:  
Evolve = unroll
By Sara Press
[Sebastopol, California]: Deeply Game Publications, 2012. Edition of 42.

l x 3 x 2.5" egg- shaped container with 24" shaped scroll ranging from .5 to 2" in width. Coiled, blind embossed, and letterpress-printed scroll. Rives lightweight paper. Laid inside snake egg felted by Laurie Whitehill Chong. Green thread and green yarn wrapped around egg. Numbered on tail.

Sara Press: "In Evolve = Unroll, I present and consider an idea that is currently under consideration in the anthropology community. Snake Detection Theory proposes that we humans might have developed our stereoscopic vision and complex brain structure as a result of our co-evolution with venomous snakes. People tend to notice snake-like forms first in a cluttered visual field, and often have a strong reaction when they do; therefore a viewer’s own visceral response (or lack thereof) to my bookform itself might inform whether one agrees with the theory described within it, or not. The text is letter-press printed on a modified scroll in the shape of a snake, blind-embossed on the back with an image of a snake, and curled inside a felt egg with red blood vessels inside (made for the project by Laurie Whitehill-Chong). The book perfectly embodies my strong belief that a book’s form should reflect its content.

"The project was inspired by my irrational fear of a ball python that was kept in my home for some years by a relative – a phobia I have since learned is by far the most common one, shared by a third of adult humans. In researching ophidiophobia, I stumbled upon the writings of Lynne A. Isbell and other anthropologists investigating Snake Detection Theory, and was captivated by the idea that our bodies and minds might have been so profoundly shaped by an 'evolutionary arms race' with another creature."

(SOLD/Out of Print)

Evolve=unroll book
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Our Specters
By Sara Press
Sebastopol, California: Deeply Game Productions, 2021. Edition of 20.

8" x 11". Inkjet prints of photographs of gouache paintings overprinted with letterpress symbols and text. Gouache paintings (then re-photographed) were based on spirit photographs by Ada Deane, William Hope, Edward Wyllie, and others. Blind-embossed and letterpress printed pull out. Fonts: News Gothic (1908) and Century Schoolbook (1918), designed by Morris Fuller Benton (American Type Founders Codex bound in blue and black bookcloth.

Sara Press: "’Our Specters’ is built around a series of psychological portraits, envisioned through the lens of early 20th century spirit photography.

“The book honors some of the demons we face individually and collectively during these trying times. It contains 19 archival pigment / letterpress images, and a fold-out, blind-stamped guide to our bedevilments. The guide is (intentionally) as difficult to parse as the human mind itself, an absurd attempt to map the experience of complex emotions and compound struggles..

“I photographed my original gouache paintings in light and shadow using (at times) selective focus, bringing them back into the language of photography. Letterpress text and symbols root the pages in the tactile, mechanical realm.

“A century ago, Spanish Flu & the Great War claimed 70 million lives. Spirit photographs – in which the Glorious Dead appear mysteriously next to the living sitters – surged in popularity. Spirit photographers passed their creative works off as documents of reality, and people willingly believed that a camera couldn’t lie.

“In the old spirit photos, I see sitters haunted by loss, enchanted by technology and manipulated at the hands of their own credulity. The ‘ghosts’ (now obvious as double exposures) are embodiments of the sitters’ grief and their longing for a gentler world.

“These paintings borrow compositions and colors from the old photos, but under my brush the original subjects have morphed into friends & strangers. The ‘luminous manifestations’ are our psychological haunts. As such, they are ever-changing.

“These images function as a mirror for the viewer: what you see are the concerns that you carry with you. I hope it will be of benefit to see it made manifest.

“Many of us are, individually and communally, ready now for an exorcism.”

Our Specters book
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Page last update: 03.19.2024



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