I recently published and started distributing my first Edition Folio, Foundations, as a retrospective collection of my landscape photographs from 1975 to 1985. I want to reflect on what I have learned during the development of this Editioned Folio.
First was my intent for what I wanted to accomplish by completing the Edition Folio of prints. I have a body of natural landscape photographic work that I had completed between 1975 to 1985 that were singular images. At that time that I made these, I did not work on any specific themes or subjects per se other than my strong interest in making natural landscape images and working with the black & white photographic medium. After my interview with Brooks Jensen last November, I realized that a Folio, also called a portfolio, would be an ideal way to assemble and create a unfied body of work that would represent my photographs from this period of time.
Much like the portfolios of Adams, Caponigro and other photographers. I have not felt like this earlier body of work needed to go into print as a book, as my landscape photographs did not bring anything really new to the world. They were my collection of wonderful landscape photographs and they represented my early developmental period for me, both technically and creatively. So that was my intent, to create a collection of Singular Images from a specific period of time, which I have explained in more detail in the Folio Introduction, which you can find here.
The Folio structure essential came from the Brooks Jensen Folio design, best discribed by him here and my short take is here. I really liked the idea of the loose prints inside a soft Folio cover, rather than having the prints mounted and matted. It seemed that the loose prints would have more flexiblity for handling and use by a collector. And I did not have to worry about the binding, mounting and matting options and the whole collection would be smaller to carry, hold and store. Nice.
I did implement some changes to Brooks concept, first being the heavier and more durable archival folio cover that I purchased from Light Impressions. I was having some issues with the lighter folio cover that Brooks designed and I was concerned about the durability of this cover design over time. I spent time developing the die cut design for my own cover, but then the die cost and minimum order quantities started making the more expensive Light Impressions archival folio cover a lot more economical for the small quantities I wanted to work with, e.g. 10 to 15 at a time.
Second, I designed one page in Word as a pictorial index, which are thumbnails of the images, that I then printed on the reverse side of the Cover page. Since I wanted to keep all of the Folio contents as archival as possible, I used a double-sided 190 gm Moab Entrada, Bright White, a archival rag medium. A little more expensive ‘paper’, but it provides a very nice appearance for the image index.
The Folio is Editioned, and again, using Brooks idea on Editioning versus Limitied Edtions, which he explains here, and my short take is here. Bottom line for me in making this decision; what is possible tomorrow may be much better than what we have today. My digital prints from film that are in my folio are much, much better than what I could achieve in my earlier wet darkroom. And when I purchased my Epson 4800 printer over a couple of years ago, the matte rag medium was the best in class and the newer ‘near photographic’ F luster medium was not available yet. Thus I had dedicated my Epson printer to the matter papers, but today I would want a printer that could instantaneously switch between matte and gloss/luster, like the Canon and HP printers can. Likewise, what I can do now with Photoshop CS3 is amazing compared to the limitations of the previous Photoshop 7 and even earlier when I worked with the very first Photoshop in the 90′s. So what does the future hold? I don’t know, but if it is like anything that has developed over the last five years, it could be pretty exciting. And why not take advantage of those improvements to perhaps create even better images and more exciting prints? Thus I have chosen to go the route of Editioning.
Regarding Editioning, I have chosen a first Printing of 10 Folios and one Artist Proof to begin with. I will retain the Artist Proof (A/P) as my reference as I continue to reprint this Folio, as well as using it to show perspective buyers or reviewers. I felt that 10 was a good number to start and as I had only a few buyers on my waiting list for this Folio and I would still have a small inventory of Folios after I completed the shippments.
As to the production of the Folio, it turned out pretty much what I suspected. The only glich was the slow rate of printing the 308 gm Hahnemuhle Photo Rag. Since I was using cut sheets and when I tried to make multiple consecutive prints on the Epson 4800, the medium would mis-feed. So I had to resort to printing one sheet per command. That made the Folio printing go a lot slooooower. Grrrr. So next time, I will look at going with roll stock, which should resolve the feeding issue and reduce the cost per print.
The archive Folio covers from Light Impressions were nicely constructed and nice to hold and use. The prints are very accessible and easy to handle with this folio cover. The 12 loose prints, with tissue interweaving along with the Cover sheet, Introduction, Colophon and the Certificate of Authencity are just about right quantity for this Folio cover, with just a little room to spare. I found that I could increase the quantity of loose prints to 15 with the 308 gm PhotoRag, and perhaps up to 20 prints if I were to downsize the prints to a 190 gm PhotoRag.
Bottom line, I like this Edition Folio a lot for what I intended it for. It does the job very well and provides an excellent presentation and should be great for archival storage and handling. The cost is reasonable and the process of completing it is not overly complex and entirely within my control. And I can forsee many occasions to use this Edition Folio design in the future for the other series that I have in progress. Very nice!
Best regards, Doug