3 notations/rotations

An Experiment in Concrete Poetry by Octavio Paz



Octavio Paz created TOPOEMS and DISCOS VISUALES in 1966, works that are now virtually unobtainable. They were his first experiments in concrete poetry. In 1972, Robert Gardner, Director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard, produced NOTATIONS/ROTATIONS yet another such experiment. It is composed of four rotating panels each gradually revealing the four haiku-like poems by Paz as they are rotated.

3 Notations/Rotations was published in an edition of 1,000 copies. 150 were boxed, numbered and signed by the poet and the graphic artist, Toshi Katayama. An additional 26 copies lettered A-Z, signed by the author and artist, were ‘hors de commerce.’ Examples of this work are extremely rare.

The few remaining copies of this project may be ordered from Studio7Arts.

Agni 68


This issue of AGNI Magazine was an effort to take note of the work of an important visual artist by the name of Michael Mazur. Its singularity was that it contained a DVD of a short film by Robert Gardner made about Mazur called Good To Pull. This important literary journal is published at Boston University and is made available here.

Agni 75


This 40th anniversary issue of AGNI is largely devoted to the life and work of the poet Robert Lowell. It contains a portfolio of thirteen black and white photographs chosen from over one hundred taken of Lowell by Robert Gardner. The photographs were developed and remastered by Simon Malkovas and appear in lustrous fashion as a result. This important literary journal is published at Boston University and is made available here.

Beauty Contest


This limited edition book is composed of words taken from a journal kept in 1978 by Robert Gardner while he was making the film Deep Hearts and a series of Polaroid SX-70 portraits he made of Borroro dancers’ faces to see if there was any agreement as to what constituted the looks of a perfect male Borroro. Over 100 images were made at the time and yet only a handful were kept by Gardner: the men so desired to posses images of themselves that it was nearly impossible for him to retain them.

32 pages, 6 1/2 x 8 1/2, foil stamped recycled paperboard perfect bound cover with large folding inside flaps. First edition of 250 copies signed and numbered by Robert Gardner, designed by Fogelson-Lubliner, printed February 2009 by Meridian Press.

Additional Information

An online exhibition of these images can be seen at www.luminous-lint.com

Columbus Ave

The Early Photography of Robert E. Fulton III

The book includes 74 black and white remastered photographs that Fulton took in Boston in the early 1960s.

Robert E. Fulton III (1939-2002)
An insightful and skilled photographer, Robert Fulton graduated Harvard in the 1960s and merged his passions for flight and photography to design a camera system for his single-engine Cessna which enabled him to pilot the aircraft while operating a wing-mounted 35mm Arriflex camera, capturing incredible aerial images. He won an Emmy in 1997 for Denali: Alaska’s Great Wilderness. His last major aerial photographic work was released in 2000, the result of a year’s filming for the BBC Natural World series Andes To Amazon. In addition to his work on nature documentaries, mainstream features and music videos, Fulton made many short 16mm films (many available through Canyon Cinema), and worked with his close friend, documentary filmmaker Robert Gardner, on several projects, including Ika Hands (1988).

On May 30, 2002, Fulton died when his Cessna A-185-F crashed in Pennsylvania, an accident caused by a freak combination of thermal forces that, despite Fulton’s high level of skill as a pilot, caused the plane to break up in the sky. At the time of his death, Fulton was planning a film project with the BBC which would have involved flying around the world to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first manned flight.

Coming and Going


A limited edition flipbook of a sequence from Robert Gardner’s PASSENGER, a video about Sean Scully in his Barcelona studio in 1997 creating a painting of that name. The flipbook is a sequence documenting Sean Scully’s ‘kata’ or personal karate routine. Sean Scully is a black belt karate adept.

This flipbook is signed and numbered by Scully in an edition limited to 100.

Gardens of War – Life and Death in the New Guinea Stone Age


Robert Gardner and Karl G. Heider, introduction by Margaret Mead

“Always the least didactic of sciences, anthropology speaks to the heart as well as to the mind of man. It treads a careful path between those who ridicule it as “unscientific” in its humanism, and those who, mistaking sentiment for truth, reject the methods of science in the their search for the nature of man. The best kind of anthropology, – scholarly, comprehensible and extraordinarily evocative – is to be found in Gardens of War. This superb literary and photographic essay is, in some ways, a monument to the Dani people who are its subject; more than that, however, it captures the eternal poignancy of the human paradox. War in Eden, cruelty and gentleness, love and hate; death and life.”

— Gloria B. Levitas

In a hidden valley of great beauty, beyond the framework of our modern sense of time, lives a people until lately touched by civilization, direct survivors of the Stone Age. Gardens of War is a moving pictorial record of the lives of the Dugum Dani, a tribe of Neolithic warriors, during two seasons of 1961, when they were studied by the Harvard-Peabody Anthropological Expedition to New Guinea. The Expedition’s visit to the Grand Valley of Baliem in the Central Highlands of Western New Guinea offered a unique opportunity, perhaps the last, for a first-hand account of a lost culture in all its pristine simplicity and violence. Sixteen pages of magnificent color photographs and 96 black-and-white illustrations are matched here with a fascinating and superbly readable text to record a primitive world most of us are unlikely to see.

Published by Random House (1969)

A Human Document


Published by The Gehenna Press, 1964

Illustrated with two woodcuts by Leonard Baskin; plus a orange colored woodcut vignette in the colophon. 9 1/2 x 6, original saddle-sewn gray wrappers with large folding inside flaps. 500 hand-numbered copies printed at the Gehenna Press by Harold McGrath.

Human Documents – Eight Photographers


“Human Documents is a book of stunning photographs which collectively show that visual art is more than merely illustrative.”

-Tracey Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

“Some scholars are remembered as having been pioneers in their fields. In the case of Robert Garder, an entire academic discipline, visual anthropology, came into being simply to formalize what he was already doing. This is a beautiful and profound book, as significant as any to appear since Susan Sontag’s On Photography.”

– Wade Davis, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow

Human Documents, a book showcasing the work of eight photographers – Kevin Bubriski, Robert Gardner, Christopher James, Susan Meiselas, Adelaide de Menil, Michael Rockefeller, Jane Tuckerman, and Alex Webb.

In this book Robert Gardner introduces the work of photographers with whom he has worked over a period of nearly fifty years under the auspices of the Film Study Center at Harvard. Their images achieve the status of what Gardner calls “human documents:” visual evidence that testifies to our shared humanity. In images and words, the book adds to the already significant literature on photography and filmmaking as ways to gather both fact and insight into the human condition. In nearly 100 images spanning geographies and cultures including India, New Guinea, Ethiopia, and the United States, Human Documents demonstrates the important role photography can play in furthering our understanding of human nature and connecting people through an almost universal visual language.

Author and cultural critic Eliot Weinberger contributes the essay “Photography and Anthropology (A Contact Sheet),” in which he provides a new and intriguing context for viewing and thinking about the images presented here.

Visit The Berkshire Review for the Arts to read Michael Miller’s review of Human Documents.

The Impulse to Preserve – Reflections of a Filmmaker


“What gives Gardner’s book its kick, its emotional and intellectual impact, are his meditations, short essays in boldface type, at the opening and closing of The Impulse to Preserve. Gardner allows us to consider that the worlds he has filmed so beautifully were disappearing as his camera rolled… Gardner has, as the poet Charles Simic says in his introduction, refused to accept the discord between reality and imagination. He has been in the real world fully imagining, and this book is part of what he brought back.” William Corbett, The Boston Phoenix

“Robert Gardner is an anthropological filmmaker who has for four decades balanced on a tightrope between the sensibility of the artist and the discipline of the ethnographer. This is his memoir of that extraordinary feat. . . . Turning the pages, we come across some of the iconic images in ethnographic film as well as apercu of light and line that hold their own artistic truth.” Arthur Kleinman, author of The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing and the Human Condition

Despite Primo Levi’s dire warning about the inadequacy of documentary evidence, Robert Gardner’s work shows that capturing the light reflected from actuality has its revelatory moments. Including nearly 500 photographs, The Impulse to Preserve contains the thoughts and images of a lifetime spent probing human experience in the world’s most remote corners. In each undertaking, an issue or condition common to humanity is intently observed. In Neolithic West Papua in 1961, it is ritual warfare and revenge; in Nigeria 1965, ritual pain; in Ethiopia in the late sixties, male supremacy; in Niger 1978, envy; and in Benares, India, 1985, mortality and its expression in worship.

“This collection of essays, meditations, edited journal entries, and photographs, describes the career of a notable anthropologist and filmmaker. Taken as a whole, it weaves a story that has much more to do with art than with any of the sociological disciplines . . . a fascinating, indeed spellbinding journey of the mind and heart.” Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

Download a PDF of Peter Loizo’s review in Anthropology Today (April 2008).