DANIEL SEYMOUR – A LOUD SONG
Daniel Seymour published A loud Song in Ralph Gibson’s Lundsrum Press in 1971. The visual narratives of A Loud Song focus on the emotionally raw and intimate facets of his relationships. Filled with all the important moments and dominating influences of his life, mostly famous personalities of the day, it is a document of the particular mix of politics, culture, art, film, and music that took place in late 60s-70s New York.
Founded by Ralph Gibson and funded in part by Danny Seymour, Lundsrum Press became one of the most influential independent publishers in the US. In the recent compendium The Photobook: A History, vol. 1 (Phaidon, 2005), historian Gerry Badger calls Lustrum “arguably the best of the small American photobook publishers of the 1970s.” It had an immediate impact on the photography scene with its striking and often provocative publications.
Gibson’s own work appears in the influential trilogy The Somnambulist (1970), Déjà-vu (1973), and Days at Sea (1974). In addition to A Loud Song, Lustrum also published monographs dedicated to the photographs of then-unknown artists Larry Clark (Tulsa, 1971), Mary Ellen Mark (Passport, 1974), and others. Later thematic titles bring together an extraordinary variety of photographers active during this period. Lustrum Press opened new possibilities in fine-art photography, setting a new standard of quality and pioneering an enigmatic mode of visual communication.
A Loud Song was a landmark book in the new personal documentary style: Tulsa, The Lines of My Hand, Vagabond by Gaylord Herron, Danny Lyon’s Paper Negative and Bill Burke’s books all owe something to A Loud Song.
In 1968, along with best friend, Spanish photographer, Francisco “Paco” Grande and his girlfriend, at that moment still actress to be Jessica Lange, took on a trip to Europe, bringing along an entourage of artists. Seymour rented a house in Spain.
The arid, rough landscape of Andalusia, dotted with small villages is rich in history and culture. It’s the cradle of flamenco, the music of Spain’s Deep South and the expressive voice, Cante Jondo, of the Gypsy community. There Seymour’s photographed, among others, the renowned flamenco singer Luis Torres “Joselero”.
Lange, Grande, and Seymour moved to New York, where they got to know aerialist dancer Batya Zamir and her experimental artist husband, Richard Van Buren, both deeply ingrained in the New York’s art scene of the moment. At the end of 1968, Seymour used some of his family money to buy three lofts at 184 Bowery.
Seymour took up residence on the top floor, Jessica Lange and Paco Grande on the sixth floor, and he gave the third loft to Swiss photographer Robert Frank. The building quickly became a magnet for young photographers such as Danny Lyon and Larry Clark.
Daniel Seymour bought a yacht to sail it to the Caribbean. He set sail on May 19, 1973, and was never heard from again. The boat was recovered, but Daniel Seymour disappeared and was presumed dead.
Formidable Mag would like to thank artists Batya Zamir and Richard Van Buren for access to their archive and library.