“Offset Work” – 35mm black and white photo-essay

Nearly a year ago I spent some time with a press crew of five as they printed a newspaper on an old Goss Community offset press. The job was one of the crew’s last to operate on the 70-year old machine, as they would soon move to a new facility equipped with a fancy new press that, despite its efficiency, provides none of that Mad Max charm.

The old Goss works reliably but depends upon the crew to see to her needs.  Members joke and laugh when the web stops rolling but in operation, they enjoy very little time to interact – the needs of the press, as well as raw labor required to sort and stack the paper fruit of this greasy anachronism, demand great attention.  Printing a newspaper to professional standards takes a lot of work.

Utilized were two 36-exposure rolls of Kodak T-Max 400, which I pushed to 3200 to combat the darkness of the printing facility.   I had never pushed T-Max this far, and my interest in seeing how far the film could spread played a part in the massive push.  Only about half of the exposures proved viable (not helped by a slow lens), but they provide a gritty reflection of a gritty machine that hasn’t stopped in decades.   See the photo-set here.

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