The folio concept puts some constraints on a presentation that at first I found frustrating but later I regarded as beneficial. If you custom design a folio enclosure and cut it out of paper stock yourself, one at a time, there is more flexibility in the folio approach but a lot more work. I searched online for a source of pre-cut folios and the only one I could turn up that fit my needs was a very elegant line by Dane Creek Folio Covers. I have to work within the limitations of Neil’s design, which is for 8.5″x11″ prints. The folio thickness means each one will comfortably hold up to maybe 15 prints, more if using lighter weight paper. His simple design includes a front window with a debossed decoration surrounding it.


I was OK with the print size, but wanted to cram in about 20 pages for the first set of pictures I wanted to produce in this format. I didn’t want to use thin paper, so I pared my selection down to 15 pictures, with a cover sheet and that worked out better than I though. Who ever wants to edit their masterpiece down? And what masterpiece doesn’t usually benefit by a little judicious trimming? Discipline has its benefits.

When I started in on producing something from my travel shots from long, long ago, I at first thought I could pick out a dozen of the strongest pieces and be happy with it. Quickly, as I got wrapped up in the process, I saw that while 12 pictures at a time would work fine, they wouldn’t encompass a complete survey of the material I had at hand. Easy enough to fix; multiple volumes would do the trick-three, as it turned out.

Every Picture Tells A Story became an absorbing project during a slow period at the studio this past summer. I produced two other unrelated folios and refined my concepts of thinking in the mode for a folio presentation of work. Talking to clients and showing them these samples reinforced the idea that many people would find this a worthwhile way to present their own work, one that served to fulfill a number of objectives. Folios make a great way to sell work as an option to larger, expensive framed pieces. They make great gifts or mementos. A folio can also be a portfolio, the distinction being that a portfolio is often created to present work for consideration to a gallery or as part of a job application or other commercial venture.

Although I was used to 13″x20″ and larger as my standard print size, the 6″x9″ image size I chose to print on letter sized sheets for my folios turned out to be an aesthetically pleasing “limitation.” For one thing, printing these old negatives, often Tri-X push-processed, mis-processed, shot with a funky (cheap) lens, made large prints a dubious choice. In a small size, they actually seem “sharp.” Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem with most of the work, but a few favorite shots fell into that category and I mind less presenting them printed 6″x9″ than I did when I tried something more appropriate for hanging on a wall, surrounded by work that was actually sharp!

The smaller image size also left room for some additional text on the print, something I would never do on a big print, other than my penciled signature, but something I felt appropriate, maybe necessary, on this production of selected images. Keeping in mind that folio prints also lend themselves to be selected out and framed, if desired, there was plenty of room to crop out the text with a mat window when framing a particular piece.


I also realized that as a collectible art form, there is something peculiarly satisfying about viewing a small collection of work. In the elegance of a folio presentation the prints take on a jewel-like quality. They can be enjoyed in a straightforward manner and there is a pristine simplicity of admiring an image with nothing added to its presentation. No questions of mat board color or whether or not the frame is right. And no glass in front with its glare or coloration. The print stands or falls on its own merits.

For this particular three volume folio, as its title announces, every picture has a story. So next time I’ll talk about what the ability to have a page or more of text included gives to a medium that at its base, is visual.

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December 2021
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