Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brooks Jensen portfolio

Brooks Jensen portfolio.
I recommend downloading the PDF file. It's a beautiful collection, with nice and humorous captions.
I own his October Seas prints portfolio. Beautiful stuff.

I asked Brooks about his use of the term "folio" for these photo collections:

Dear Brooks,
The interview on the Luminous-landscape video journal is excellent.
I am a little confused by your use of the word "folio" for the picture collections you sell. None of the definitions from my online dictionary really fit:
"The noun folio has 3 meanings:
Meaning #1: the system of numbering pages
Synonyms: pagination, page number, paging
Meaning #2: a sheet of any written or printed material (especially in a manuscript or book)
Synonym: leaf
Meaning #3: a book (or manuscript) consisting of large sheets of paper folded in the middle to make two leaves or four pages."
Is it incomplete, or am I being dull, or are you coining a new use?
Oh, by the way: will there be a PDF version of the new Wakarimasen folio on your site?
Yours, Eolake

And he wrote me back:
Well, I have to confess I'm redefining the term a bit by adapting a bit of both definition #2 and #3.
Years ago, I took a couple classes in handmade artist's books to try to find a way to use gelatin silver prints in a bound book, but I never did find a usable format that was practical. I even visited the Center for Photography in Tucson to see the artist's books with photographs in their special collection, but most of the ones they had were literally falling apart from the stress on the bindings. Finally, I just threw in the towel on the whole idea of binding and settled on the idea of loose sheets. I especially warmed to the idea when I realized that this method gave people the option of viewing the prints either as hand-held objects, or they could mat or frame them if they chose to.

To me, a "folio" is a collection of loose, unbound prints defining a content that is more like a book than a random stack of unsequenced prints. In my folios, I use a title page to lead things off, then typically a statement about the project, the images pages come next, sometimes an afterword is appropriate, and the last page is a colophon. They are sequenced, like a book, but loose, like a portfolio. It's my answer to the problem of how to include original prints in a book without doing tip-ins. I can do this type of presentation with gelatin silver prints, photogravure, inkjet prints, etc. I can include a sewn text signature or French fold component. I can even include a CD if it's called for in the project. It's turned out to be quite a flexible design idea that allows all kinds of individual adaptations.

I'm currently using a folio cover that is die-cut with a hole that allows me to place a title page behind the cover, showing through. This allows me to produce a large quantity of covers (amortizing the costs involved), and make folios for any project from one copy to hundreds. Again, flexibility is the key to the design.

I've never actually seen anything quite like the folios I produce, so there really isn't a term for it. I've been forced to make my own definition. I even tried to find a latin root that I could adapt, but folio seemed the best. I've used this term since 1992 when I made the original Made of Steel folio.

Yes, we will have a PDF of the folio posted on the website tomorrow. We almost had it finished today, but we decided to add a video component to the website that shows the folio being opened and the individual prints.

Hope this answers your question! And, thanks for asking.

Brooks Jensen

1 comment:

Pascal the cosmopolite politely said...

Wakarimasen is a japanese word that translates as "Understanding".