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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Small Prints

I have generally tended to make large prints of what I consider to be my best images. But, I have come to realize that there is a problem with this method of sharing one's work. For one thing, there is always going to be a limitation in the amount of available wall space in any one location. Secondly, any image that is printed large and framed needs to be a '5 star' image in order to merit that sort of treatment and stand on it's own. Finally, unless one is dealing with a rather large gallery space or display area where multiple large images are hanging, the image itself tends to 'live' in isolation.

I have come to realize that I have many photographs that do not merit this sort of large scale, isolated display but are still one's that I think deserve to be looked at, if not in isolation than as part of a series designed to give an overview of a location or topic. Somehow, an 8 x10 or 11 x 14 image that can be hand-held and appreciated without necessarily being matted, framed, and hung seems to fit the bill and allows one to appreciate this type of artwork, which is to say high quality images that fit together but may not necessarily be part of a 'best of' collection.

As an example, take this image from the workshop I attended in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. Provincetown is an interesting mix of beauty and serenity with a touch of eclectic wildness. Part of the Cape Cod and Provincetown experience is not just the ocean, but also the beauty and quirkiness of the towns themselves. One thing that I was drawn to in Provincetown, believe it or not, was the signs. So many of the signs seemed to be colorful pieces of art in and of themselves. Take this one from the Land's End Inn for example:


Land's End Inn
Copyright Howard Grill

This image would not fare well printed as a 22x28 inch framed photo. There simply isn't enough to it to have it hanging on a wall at that size. And yet it does convey a what I found to be an intriguing part of the Provincetown experience, along with the lighthouses, beaches, and sand dunes.

Of course, this idea is nothing new. Lenswork editor Brooks Jenson has long advocated special treatment for these types of photos and has, in the last year or two, made it a reality by producing the now well-known Lenswork Folio series. For those not familiar with the folio concept, who could explain it better than Brooks Jenson himself, who states the following on the Lenswork website:

"What is a folio? Think of it as a hybrid between an individual print and a book. It’s a collection of unbound prints – book-size rather than wall-size prints. Because they are unbound, they can be handled individually, are meant for viewing by hand, but can be matted and framed if you choose to. The prints in a folio are presented in an embossed and die-cut art paper enclosure, and feel more like a single collection than a random pile of prints. Like a book, they are typically monographs or thematic, and contain a number of prints that explore a photographic theme more deeply than is possible with a single “greatest hits” image."

I have taken an interest in the folio concept because I think it allows one to share their work in a very accessible fashion and have taken some early steps to learn how to make them. I anticipate being able to produce one at some point in the next several months. I hope this will make it easier to share a broader selection of my work with a wider audience both at home and at work.