Here is the press release:
“Editions Fifty Fathoms”
“Fathom” is a unit of length used as a depth measurement in English-speaking countries. A fathom corresponds to a depth of 1.829 metres. Fifty Fathoms amounts to 91.45 metres – the exact depth one can reach with traditional diving equipment. It was therefore logical for Blancpain to give this name to the first diver’s watch in watchmaking history. In tribute to Blancpain’s achievements in this field, this famous name now appears on the cover of the most prestigious magazine ever dedicated to the underwater world.
The symbolic numbers of “Editions Fifty Fathoms”
It is hardly surprising that the appearance of “Editions Fifty Fathoms” should be linked to traditional values. The emblematic numbers 1.289, 50 and 91.45 are echoed in almost all the dimensions of the magazine: the width of an open double page corresponds to exactly one fathom. The 50 double pages of the magazine are exactly equivalent to the maximum depth of the legendary diver’s watch. And since this magazine is dedicated to the art of photography, the portfolio features exactly 50 shots – one per page – calculated on the traditional photo formats of Leica (4:3) and Hasselblad (6 x 6) cameras.
Printing techniques that push the limits of feasibility
These days, printing is digital, as is photography. Nonetheless, since traditional hand-crafted work is indispensable for a magazine of such superior graphic quality, we have explored uncharted territory in terms of reproduction techniques: a specific printing process is defined for each artist. For the very first time, an art magazine combines hexachrome or six-colour printing process, daylight conditions and special tones, some featuring three layers of lacquer, on a paper featuring a thickness of up to 300 grams. In addition to their peerless optical quality, the photographs feature incomparable sensorial power. Observers find themselves not only wishing to contemplate them, but to feel them physically, so that leafing through the “Editions Fifty Fathoms” becomes a pleasure for each of the senses. Reflecting the proverbial quality of Blancpain watches, the high standards set for the “Editions Fifty Fathoms” far exceeds reasonable demands and boldly aims to be the world’s best photography magazine – an objective of excellence that Blancpain has long since achieved with its timepieces.
Strictly limited print runs
Like the model presented for the 50th anniversary of this exceptional model, the “Editions Fifty Fathoms” are to be issued in three series. Strictly limited to 50 copies, series 1 will be delivered with a special edition of the diver’s watch. In a print run of 1,829 copies, series 2 will be available from Blancpain boutiques worldwide; whereas the 1,000 copies of series 3 will be available exclusively via the internet (www.edition-fifty-fathoms ) as of June 2008 at the price of 50 euros – an amount well below the actual cost of producing the various issues! Whichever the series, each magazine will be individually numbered and may be signed by one of the photographers at the private viewings of the exhibitions organised in Blancpain boutiques. A large-format art print of each photograph will also be produced using the same printing process as the magazine, designed so as not to be replicable. The print-run of these incomparably high-quality art prints is limited to 5 worldwide.
The photographers, the portfolio, the publisher
The work of world-famous underwater photographers is highlighted in 2008 for the first issue of the “Edition Fifty Fathoms” which will comprise twelve issues in all – one for each letter of the name Fifty Fathoms. By the end of the series, 50 photographers will appear in the “Fifty Fathoms Hall of Fame” which will thus incorporate the world’s 50 finest underwater photographers. This year, we have chosen masters of their art with very different orientations.
Ernest H. Brooks II
Ernest “Ernie” Brooks is the main photographer of this first issue. In addition to his 14-page portfolio, he also shot the “Fifty Fathoms” model from the current collection, which appears on the cover page and the last page of our magazine. Ernie Brooks, who until 1990 headed the famous “Brooks Institute of Photography” in Santa Barbara/California, is considered as the Ansel Adam of underwater photography. You can admire his superb black and white picture in our first portfolio.
Maurine Shimlock & Burt Jones
Among the great underwater photographers, these two natives of Texas are tireless globetrotters. For their exceptional portfolio in the “Edition Fifty Fathoms”, they have put together the finest shots from their famous “Secret Sea” book together with recent photographs from the “cradle of life”, taken in Indonesian Papua. Discover the art of underwater macrophotography as well as living creatures that hardly anyone had ever glimpsed before.
Udo Kefrig is undoubtedly one of the best-known German underwater photographers and his photos of shipwrecks have earned him international acclaim. For his underwater adventures, he partners with Claus-Peter Stoll, who is in charge of historical research aimed at retracing the history of sunken ships. In the first issue of Fifty Fathoms Publications, relive the historical air battle around “Truk Lagoon” and immerse yourself into the mysterious world of shipwrecks.
Dividing his time between Chicago and Miami, the great German hotelier is not only a patron and a collector of black and white photography; he is also a passionately dedicated underwater photographer. His favourite subjects are human beings. For the Fifty Fathoms Publications, Helmut Horn presents his “Liquid Form” exhibition in print for the very first time. He has also brought together his favourite photos from the “Black Velvet” and “Fairy King’s Daughter” series to create a unique portfolio.
Dietmar W. Fuchs, editor in Chief and Art Director of Fifty Fathoms Publications
For over 20 years, Dietmar W. Fuchs has served as editor in chief for several international diving magazines. He has become an inescapable authority in the field of underwater photographs. For the first time, a worldwide acclaimed press professional has brought together the finest photographers to give underwater photography the place it deserves through a blend of documentary testimony and artistic achievements.