Photographs by Frank

11 November 2018

Photographic Folios

Filed under: Landscapes — Tags: — Frank @ 12:00 AM

One of the definitions of the word “folio” is “an individual leaf of paper or parchment”.

Brooks Jensen, the editor/publisher of Lenswork, has written about the idea of photographic folios*, an unbound collection of small prints wrapped up in an elegant folder.

In the past, I have made folios consisting of 5″x 7″ prints printed on half of a letter-sized sheet of paper and wrapped up in a home-made cover folded from a single sheet of heavy, decorative paper. These were quite economical to produce and I was quite satisfied with the final product. However, I did feel that margins allowed in this format were somewhat skimpy and thus the images felt a bit cramped. (I don’t believe that I wrote about these earlier efforts so I can’t point to a previous blog entry with more detailed information… sorry.)

In pondering what to do with some of my photographs from our recent trip to the southwest, I decided to revisit the idea of folios.

This time, I decided to use a full letter-sized sheet of paper for each print and to incorporate generous margins (three-quarters of an inch on top and one and three-quarters inches on the other three sides); the printed images are 7.5″x 6″. The end result has a much more luxurious feel than my earlier, smaller efforts.

When making an artifact that is meant to be handled, the materials used are much more important than, for instance, a photograph destined to be encased in a mat and frame and hung upon the wall. In the former case, the artifact has to feel nice when you pick it up! Thus, the paper used for printing is a critical part of the experience.

For this project, I decided to use nice heavy papers and to avoid papers that have a plastic-y feel. Of course, as with almost all of my prints, I only considered papers with a luster finish… not too shiny, but not completely matte either.

I ended up using a different paper for each of the two folios I have completed. For the first folio (titled “Canyon Light”) I used Canson Baryta Photographique (310 g/sq. meter and alpha-cellulose based). For the second folio (“Puebloan Ruins”) I used Epson Legacy Platine (314 g/ sq. meter and cotton rag based). Both papers worked well, but the Epson paper, because of its cotton rag base, does have a nicer, very soft feel when you hold a print.

In addition to the prints, the other, equally important component of a folio is the cover… first impressions are important! Although, I am usually a do-it-yourself kind of guy when it comes to things like this, for this project I decided to save some time and effort by purchasing folio covers from Dane Creek Folios. They are high quality and reasonably priced. Highly recommended.

Well enough about the presentation… what about the photographs!?

Thus far,, I have completed two folios each consisting of ten black and white images. The first folio (titled Canyon Light) contains photographs of the Grand Canyon from river-level. These were made during the ten days we spent rafting the river. The second folio (Puebloan Ruins) contains photographs of the ancient Native American ruins at a number of sites in the four-corners area.

Clicking on the title of each folio (above) with get you an electronic facsimile (as a pdf file) of the folio. These are, in my opinion, a poor substitute for the physical  object. You will have to come for a visit to see the real thing!

* He has even produced a DVD workshop about his approach to folios. However, I must confess that I have not seen this video.

1 Comment

  1. Those folios do look really good.

    I especially like the light and shadows in the final GC photo. And I was interested to see all the Hovenweep and Wupatki photos. I’ve been to CdeC and MV, but not the others. One of my ancestors excavated MV for the Smithsonian.

    Comment by Pat Nelson — 11 November 2018 @ 12:34 AM

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