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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Folio Fine Art Albums

I am a great believer in the printed image - even more so since digital photography has led to so few photographs seeing the other side of a digital screen.  So when I set up  the business an important stage was choosing which album and frame suppliers to work with.

I will always remember the first time I saw a Folio album - it was instant love and a heartfelt recognition that I had found an album that would perfectly suit my work - I loved the square format, the beautiful leather cover and most importantly the fine art, matte, archival paper.  It turns out that this album was a prototype and so when I tracked down the company I discovered that the albums had not yet been launched to the industry.

It turns out that I already knew the creator, Stewart Randall, who was a fellow photographer.  He had begun a journey of album production because he couldn't find what he wanted for his clients. Since then Folio albums has gone from strength to strength with Julia (Stewart's lovely wife) helping to run and grow the business with their dedicated team in Barnsley, Yorkshire.

After catching up with Folio at SWPP in January I ordered some new sample albums for weddings, portraits and boudoir and suggested to Stewart that I came to pick them up - because I wanted to see the production process in practice.

Pick up day was yesterday and I was really blown away by the experience.   I have been recommending Folio to fellow photographers for some time with total confidence but I have a whole new perspective on them as a company after my visit.

Because this is a company who cares deeply about their product and their service.  I had no idea just how 'handmade' these albums are and most importantly how much potential there is for mistakes to be made or quality to slip.  That's just the nature of printing images on archival paper and then binding them by hand into leather, silk and cotton canvas covers.   The team check, check and triple check to ensure that the high standard that they are known for is consistently delivered.  Many of the processes are performed by hand and use historical book binding techniques and machinery.   Although I have to admit to also being transfixed by the laser printer that allows for the beautiful cover engraving. 

I was even allowed to have a go at leather skiving  - on a leather off cut thank goodness because it is a skill that takes practice to perfect. I watched Stewart bind 2 of my albums into their covers and I look at them with fresh eyes and respect for the work it has taken to create them.

Folio have not asked me to write this blog post - I have chosen to do so.  Thank you team Folio.

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