While I was designing my book, I also was dreaming of Press Day.
On that magical day, presses would roll, and, a few hours later, large stacks of paper would result. Those stacks of paper would then be bound into finished copies of City Nature.
Turned out that first phase of book production was a process that lasted much longer than a day. Think of an entire week – and then some – and you have the idea.
During this phase, AZ Litho printed the City Nature cover and the book’s inside pages. AZ Litho is a Tucson-based printer, and is one of the largest, oldest, and most award-winning printers in this state. It’s a huge operation – with a plant that spans several city blocks – and it was my home away from home on Monday, February 27 and Tuesday, February 28, 2023.
I brought my camera to document the printing process, and let’s say that this photo shoot was quite different than the nature and event photography work I’ve done recently. For one thing, printing plants are full of fast-running machinery, and they’re LOUD. So, it was up to me to watch where I stepped and be aware of what people around me were doing.
Pro Tip: If you see someone coming at you with a forklift, get out of the way and don’t move. It’s okay to smile and wave at the forklift driver – AZ Litho is a friendly place – but keep your feet stationary.
For another thing, printing is a manufacturing process with a fixed production schedule. Before any of my material got anywhere near that big, four-color Komori Lithrone S40 offset press, I had to sign off on every four-page proof.
This meant that I had to carefully review each big proof page, then fill in every line and check every box on the proof’s approval form. That took the better part of a weekend, and, since printing is a manufacturing process with a fixed production schedule, goodbye, relaxing weekend. It’s time to get to work.
Although printing is is often associated with big presses that go ‘round and ‘round, the Komori Lithrone S40 doesn’t make the actual printing process visible. However, the printed output is quite apparent, and it is checked and double-checked for quality control.
Another Pro Tip: View my book printing photo gallery here.