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Thread: format/media variation: good or bad?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    format/media variation: good or bad?

    My name is Percy (sort of ), and I am an equipmentaholic...

    Seriously though, I love making images; it is my passion in life and has
    been for more than 35 years. I have been obsessed with figurative representation
    of one sort or another since the age of 4; first with pencils, pens, crayon, then with charcoal, sumi, watercolor, oils, acrylic, and now with 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 6x6, and yea, verily, the dreaded
    digital capture.

    My favorite images have been made with various and sundry tools; I love what I am able to
    do with an 80mm planar wide open on a 'blad. I love the tonality and shallow depth of field
    obtainable with and 8x10 and a 12 inch lens. The versatility and spontenaeity (spelling?) of
    a Fuji s3 and a zoom lens is just too much fun to ignore all the time.

    With respect to a presentation of one's work...will the aforementioned be a problem?
    Should everything in a porfolio be in b/w? 4x5 enlargements? 8x10 contact prints? I got
    the digital for bout that?

    If you managed to understand this nonsense...please, by all means...

  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    format/media variation: good or bad?

    You may get a wide variety of opinions on what should go into your portfolio, Percy, and what format or size is best. So, take what I have to say as just one of those opinions.

    The purpose behind a portfolio is the presentation of one's work. Sort of obvious, but that opens the questions of "To whom?" and "Why?" Thus, it may be helpful to start by determining answers (even if a bit fuzzy) to those questions first. In general, however, it's probably advantageous to keep prints about the same size, potentially even the same aspect ratio, and organized in a way that it looks organized. Different sizes of prints may shift the appearance of the portfolio toward the scrap book or home photo album end of the spectrum. Mixing color and B&W is probably OK, as long as the combination makes sense within the context of the intended purpose for the portfolio and its intended audience.

    Opinions on size of prints vary, too. For some, 8x10 prints are good, while others prefer 11x14s. If the work and the target audience is Fashion, then 9x12 prints are the expected norm. In contrast, for presentation to gallery owners, you might opt for 11x14 or larger prints in mats, carried in a presentation case. The message here is to research what the expectations are within the segment of the market for which the portfolio (or, "book") is tailored, and conform to those expectations. (Note that these expectations can vary by geographic area, as well.)

    If the objective is to present the work to art directors for the purpose of obtaining assignments (or similar persons of selection or purchasing authority), it may be a good idea to tailor the portfolio and its content to that specific individual. That is, don't include a series of landscapes when going after a commercial assignment. As a result, many people have multiple books, each aimed at different markets in which they work. Additionally, some carry smaller books, 5x7s perhaps, with them in their vehicles for use at opportunistic times - sort of like having business cards with you at all times.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    format/media variation: good or bad?

    Thanks for your input, Ralph.
    I was, however, referring to film format, as opposed to print format.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    format/media variation: good or bad?

    In a portfolio, a body of work should be presented as a coherent whole. It's more difficult to appreciate any one imageif all the images surrounding it are radically different in style or approach. Perhaps you have several different portfolios- each reflecting a different way of seeing, or a different film format/camera.

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