Candela Books was founded in 2010 to produce a book featuring the work of New York photographer Gita Lenz, whose striking imagery had been all but forgotten since originally being produced in the 1940s and 1950s. Lenz’ story is a compelling one. She had been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and elsewhere, but her career was cut short due to the inherent challenges facing most anyone making a career in photography in the mid-20th century. Though Lenz had many noteworthy accomplishments, and her work is represented in both public and private collections, no book existed to document her life’s work. So in an attempt to augment the legacy of this talented photographer, Gordon Stettinius created Candela Books and published Gita Lenz.
Candela Books’ second book, Salt & Truth with photographer Shelby Lee Adams, coincided with the opening of Candela Gallery in downtown Richmond, Virginia in December 2011. The gallery exists in a renovated historical building and includes a rear working studio space and darkroom.
Since opening its joint doors Candela Books + Gallery has exhibited the work of Shelby Lee Adams, Gita Lenz, Julio Mitchel, Linda Connor, Maggie Taylor, Courtney Johnson, Susan Worsham, and Chris McCaw, whose work is the subject of our third book, Sunburn. Black Forest and Mangini Studio came out in November 2014 and Direct Positive by Willie Anne Wright was published in 2015. We have also initiated an annual summer juried invitational exhibition called UnBound!, which is designed for the sole purpose of supporting fine art photographers by raising funds with a fundraising gala event and then purchasing work from the exhibition with those proceeds. The Candela Collection will, one day, be donated to a significant permanent collection.
As a publisher we are committed to the quality and design of the printed medium. Partnering with D.A.P. for our distribution, our books have a great reach, in hopes that each of our books will contribute to the history of photography. As a gallery we exhibit established and less recognized photographers alike, the emphasis being on work that contributes to the discourse of photography as a fine art medium.