> Photography / Folio #1 - Venetian Abstractions

Venetian Abstractions

This project was my first attempt to create a (port)folio as an alternative to a photo book. A photo book requires a certain minimum amount of photographs (somewhere from 20+), but often there is just a number of photos about an interesting topic, so I got interested in trying out the folio concept. The idea and inspiration came from Brooks Jensen, the publisher and editor of LensWork magazine.

The photos shown here were created in 2015 and 2016 and have been made with Leica M-P and Fuji X-Pro2 cameras and various Leica M and Fuji X lenses. The photos were printed on an Epson Stylus Photo R2880 inkjet printer with pigmented inks on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta, glossy, 315 g/m2. The folio cover consists of coffee-brown dyed photo carton, 300 g/m2, designed, cut and folded by myself.

Finished folio #1
Finished folio #1

Sheets of Folio #1


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Translation of the cover sheet:

Venice - a unique city in a large lagoon in the north-east of Italy. As the capital of the Veneto region, it bears the nickname "La Serenissima" - The Most Serene. Its historical center, centro storico, lies on one of the larger islands in the lagoon. The total area of Venice is 414.6 km2, of which accounts for 257.7 km2 of water. In 2015 there were 58,901 residents in "centro storico".

My first trip to Venice was in November 2015. I was very skeptical at that time. So far I saw in Venice something like a mixture of an antique Disneyland--a veritable tourist trap. Once there I had to realize very quickly, that was an abundantly stupid and uninformed assumption.

Well, Venice is the largest part of the year full of tourists from all over the world, but it is also a more than 1700 year old city, full of history, traditions, wonderful architecture and culture. It is like no other city on this planet. Instead of streets there are canals, instead of wheeled vehicles, boats, gondolas and ships are used. Of course you can also walk. Yes, it is one of the most beautiful cities on this planet. You can't get lost, for you either end up in front of a wall or fall into a canal.

Venice is one of the most photographed cities in the world. So why make more photos of it? When I was there, I quickly realized how diverse this city is, how many details, individual aspects and subjects there are. To prepare myself I had already provided me with literature about Venice, because without some preparation you'll pass by many places without realizing that they are there. I always do this kind of homework, because it increases my anticipation.

Those various Venice photo-books, which I looked at before the trip, were mostly beautifully made , but thematically almost identical. The same is true for many image sequences that can be found on the Internet.

With such an abundance of interesting places, architecture, nature, culture, history and people, as they can be found in Venice and the surrounding islands, one is initially overwhelmed. It really helps me to bring some structure into the photo trip. 

After initial exploration during the first days, I try to find a theme and then follow this subject to photograph. There can be, of course, several topics to work on simultaneously. Become a "hunter and collector" with the camera. If you have a good selection of topics, which are as far away as possible from the usual "cliché themes" of the place, photography is twice as much fun to do. So, this is a folio with 16 pictures--actually my first attempt to make one.

As far as Venice is concerned, I also made three photo-books: One about the cemetery, a second one about the cisterns and a third one about the street altars.

The topic "abstractions" is a little exaggerated, but I chose it because it is my first folio and I wanted to see the idea and the concept implemented, as something to take in to the hands. Abstraction is to be understood as a mild abstraction. I do not like it when it becomes too unrecognizable.

The folio concept is an alternative to the photo-book. It contains fewer photos and is therefore very good for "bounded" topics with small picture number. In addition, this Folio is a prototype. I am anxious to see what will happen in the future.

In October 2016 I was back in Venice. Apparently, I've fallen in love with the city ... Now I'm looking forward to autumn 2017 when I'll be there again and I'm afraid it will not be the last trip to the old city in the lagoon.

Frank Neunemann

March 2017

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