Letterpress printing near death of a trade

Photograph: Courtesy, Star

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Photograph: Courtesy, Star

The sound of printing in a letterpress machine has a sure rhythm to it. The ink, which is evenly unfold on the platen or the flat platform of the press; the wheels working whereas copies of a picture are produced by repeated direct impression — all have a nostalgic pull to this close to out of date expertise.

Halim Hossain’s “Ekota Letter Press” on the darkish, dingy floor flooring of Banija Bitan Tremendous Market in Nilkhet, might be one of many previous couple of letterpress machines in operation.

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Hossain has been within the printing enterprise since 1989. He initially labored in the same press at Lalbagh. When he determined to start out his personal enterprise, the machine he works with now was purchased some 20 years in the past from a second-hand supplier with an funding of Tk 70,000.

Photograph: Courtesy, Star

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Photograph: Courtesy, Star

Within the dimly lit small room that homes the outdated letterpress, there’s hardly any area to manoeuvre and Hossain is the one man working. He realized all of the nuances of the printing commerce when he got here to the capital as a teen.  In the present day, he’s so expert that the printer even does all his sustaining and repairing work himself!

“The enterprise of letterpress printing was booming up till there got here some extent the place expert printers like myself grew to become redundant and had been changed by folks — irrespective of how unskilled — who may run automated photographic and offset press,” Halim says.

His main purchasers had been banks and NGOs however the pandemic made him lose large contracts. He couldn’t get well totally.

Photograph: Courtesy, Star

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Photograph: Courtesy, Star

“I do print cash receipts, visiting playing cards, query papers, and guarantee playing cards however orders are few and much in between. At one level I used to be printing not solely books but in addition cigarette labels, election posters, and extra.”

For me letterpress means posters for liberation from the British or the Pakistanis; it means posters of Ekushey February. Proper now, Halim must be recognised as an artisanal printer as a result of letterpress printing is extra of a utilitarian artwork, commerce, or craft.

Photograph: Courtesy, Star

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Photograph: Courtesy, Star

Such prints do add an old-world appeal and individuals who can afford and lean in the direction of the retro really feel could make distinctive wedding ceremony/gaye holud playing cards; advantageous handmade, limited-edition books; artists’ books; high-end greeting playing cards and single-sheet publications.

Giving Halim Hossain a number of such work orders can preserve his outdated commerce going and preserve the outdated machine working.

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