For those of you who have been here for any length of time, you will recognize the name, Flemming Bo Jensen. Friend, lover of Inca Cola, Fuji cameras, rental cars with good stereos and sleeping through visits to Machu Picchu. Flemming also makes books and magazines, as you should.
A few days ago the man with the telegram came to my door and handed me a package. It came from great distance. Denmark, which for those of you from the United States, is located near Machu Picchu. Anyway, inside the package was Flemming’s latest piece, a landscape designed portfolio in a portrait format package. We’ve talked about this before. Be still your beating heart. It works.
But why does it work? First, this is a tight edit. No fat. Same subject matter and a story he knows very, very well. Flemming was a DJ so he knows the industry, the mood, the players and understands what makes each artist who they are. Also, Flemming has been photographing music for YEARS, knows what he wants and knows how to shoot in what is a very tricky environment.
The magazine is about one thing, images. There isn’t a lot of overly designed spreads or massive blocks of copy. This is simply a testament to the work, something to be sent to clients or handed over to anyone who asks “Do you shoot music?” The idea this is designed to be held and flipped from a landscape perspective is a solid idea. This forces you to put your phone down and engage. If you think I’m kidding think again. Plus, it allows for full consumption of each image without losing anything to the gutter.
I love getting things like this in the mail. I really do. It proves my brainwashing is effective and something I should continue. But on a serious note, it means that others are getting to experience the enjoyment and empowerment of print. Well done FBJ.
It looks very fine, I’m a big fan of Flemming’s work. I like the idea of the horizontal format I just wonder whether clients would understand with the spine at the top. Maybe you could persuade your colleages at Blurb to launch the magazine with both orientations!
Not going to happen anytime soon. And yes, clients get it. This has been in use for decades and even at the very highest levels of traditional publishing. The fact it is different is reason enough. But, not everyone likes it and that needs to be considered as well.
Thanks to you I just watched the history of Inca Cola. I miss it even more now. Nothing beats pee-coloured coke! Well maybe pisco and a jumping spider in a canoe in the Amazon.
Thank you for featuring the magazine. As you say, it has one purpose, display a super tight selection of my work to clients and other artists. This is actually version 2 of the magazine, the first one looked great on screen but in print it was just too fat. No one wants to look through more than about 20 pages or so of pictures, so I made this version 2 even tighter in the edit. That is stuff that only shows up when you get a physical copy to hold and browse.
And Nigel, thank you as well – everyone I have shown the mag too gets the part about rotating it instantly. Not everyone likes it, but at least it is something a bit different to hold peoples interest too.
Taught you everything you know. Computers, Inca Cola, sleeping, deadly animals and how to terrify wildlife in the middle of the night in the middle of the jungle. You should come to New Mexico. There are so many animals we can scare
Gotta come back to New Mexico soon. There are animals to scare (that poor tarantula spider in the amazon must still be blind) but also in New Mexico there are some humans that scare me (for instance, that weirdo who likes people from Scandinavia and wanted to touch my thigh.) Good times!
He is still there and asks about you.
Yep, looks great. Happily brainwashed. Have always wanted to visit the Scandinavian fjords of Machu Picchu.
PS – Question for FBJ if you read this. I have years of music photos sitting in Lightroom / various hard drives. I’m a book/magazine late convert. Have any tips for…well, if you shoot something with a book in mind, organizing everything is fairly straight-forward. But I imagine you had A LOT of photos you had to go through when you decided to print a book / zine of your music photography. How’d you tackle that? (If any photographers are just starting out and reading this – make a plan early on to identify your portfolio / finished shots!)
Hi Scott. Using Lightroom is a great start, but as you say we still end up with many tens of thousands of photos and it would takes ages to find your 20 favourites for say a portfolio magazine. Here is what I do.
I use Lightroom Smart collections A LOT. As in all the time for all kinds of stuff. Collections can be manual where as it is literally just a collection that you manually drag images into. That can work just fine for many things. I often use Smart Collections because they update automatically depending on the search criteria you setup for this.
So the simple solution:
1. Create a normal Collection (not smart collection) in Lightroom called Portfolio
2. Start looking through your pictures and drag your favourites into this folder
3. Now this collection lives across all the folders in your Library
4. Do this over and over, keep looking through this, update your Portfolio, add new pictures, remove old ones.
I have done this with my Music Photography Lightroom catalogue for 8+ years. I have smart collections for all kinds of stuff and I have maintained the Portfolio collection all the time. I constantly have to deliver a set of pictures for talks, promo stuff etc so when someone says “can you send 10 pics to promote your talk etc” I can deliver them in a minute.
IF you have the files in many Lightroom catalogues you can also just keep one or several Portfolio folders on your computer and put full size jpegs or tiffs in here of your favourites.
I find it important to tend to this collection all the time. It is like a garden, I add new pictures, I cull old ones, it is a living breathing thing, and it also means I look back at my older work and learn from it, sometimes I can see things I have improved upon, sometimes I think “hmmm I used to do this so well, I got lazy” etc. Keeping a constant edit of your portfolio is a great helper for book making etc, and a great learning experience.
Hope this helps.
Same for me. Kidding. I know nothing.
That is very helpful! I’m about 30% there. I need to get more disciplined with the constant gardening you mentioned, and I need to start adding in smart collections. Thank you for that response. Another reason Dan’s site is a daily read for me.
To Flemming’s point. You get your system down and you stick to it. Like a trickle.
That is exactly my problem. I settle on what I think will be my keep it simple approach but then don’t maintain the momentum. And then I try something else. It covers me 70% of the time. I pulled that percent out of thin air. As I was typing I stopped and thought, wait, was the 80% solution a reference to Hitler’s horrific genocide? I know what I’ll be looking up later.
The comments section here is as valuable as the site. Maybe we are shifterers.
Dan preaches access, and the gospel is good. I have lived in Seattle four years. Love it. Probably not staying. I found the nirvana of local watering holes. Amazing staff that has stayed together in an industry with understandably huge turnover. They got used to my affinity for photos. Trust – they know I’m not a gotcha-ist social media poster.
I swear this is on topic with the FBJ post. I am going to give them a book with four years of photos. I have finally finished going thru the catalog, but I keep adding new ones. I am sure I have lost track of a few. I’m sure they were amazing. Let’s call them my Capa photos.
So, at long last, nearing the question. I am a few edits away from the ruthless edit. Any of you have thoughts on which Blurb product you’d use? I’m thinking a book. Some text. Try to get to 50 images, which will end up being 100.
Not suggesting, I’m telling you. You are going to start small. A “burner book” if you will but in this case, you will make several “burner books.” You will be the only person to see them but they will save you from yourself and will act as a roadmap for all subsequent books. Trade, Magazine, Photobook. Minimum page counts, test books. Inside you will put color, black and white, toned black and white or whatever else it is you do. And you will experiment with typography. You will choose a line of copy and run it at 8pt, 9pt, 10pt, 12pt, 14pt, etc. So that you can SEE what size copy will work moving forward. You will experiment with running images across the gutter, running them single, running a horizontal on a vertical page. Take chances, take risks, do strange things. Softcover, small, inexpensive in the short term but every so valuable in the long-term. 100 images is A LOT and more than most people will ever consume. Even fifty is a stretch. And to get fifty solid images on one project you would need YEARS to achieve. If you have it, go for it, it not…edit like your life depends on it.
Not suggesting, I’m telling you. You are going to start small. A “burner book” if you will but in this case, you will make several “burner books.” You will be the only person to see them but they will save you from yourself and will act as a roadmap for all subsequent books. Trade, Magazine, Photobook. Minimum page counts test books. Inside you will put color, black and white, toned black and white or whatever else it is you do. And you will experiment with typography. You will choose a line of copy and run it at 8pt, 9pt, 10pt, 12pt, 14pt, etc. So that you can SEE what size copy will work moving forward. You will experiment with running images across the gutter, running them single, running a horizontal on a vertical page. Take chances, take risks, do strange things. Softcover, small, inexpensive in the short term but every so valuable in the long-term. 100 images is A LOT and more than most people will ever consume. Even fifty is a stretch. And to get fifty solid images on one project you would need YEARS to achieve. If you have it, go for it, it not…edit like your life depends on it.
Great ideas. I’m going to do this. I won’t end up using 50, but I do need to try and get as many people who have been associated with this place’s run as I can. They have a stack of books in there that no one ever looks at. This will be added to the pile haha. (I have done one burnerish zine – Doggerland. I sent it to the address you gave me. It was amateurish, but you never forget your first!)
Was it a MagCloud Digest?
Glad to hear it was helpful, yeah the constant gardening is just to make sure the collection does not end up itself being 1000 pictures. It needs to be a manageable number of images, I mean you decide how many.
I also like Lightrooms filter functions. My main Smart Collection for Music Portfolio has about 200 in it from 8 years of work. I do not need to cull it down to 20, I need a reasonable amount in there because sometimes Fujifilm will need say “give me your 5 best but they have to be X-T3” – I then just filter the 200 down to just X-T3 pics. Also within my about 200 pictures, I just use stars to grade from 1 to 5 stars so the very very very best gets 5 stars etc.
Whatever works for you yeah, build a system, stick to it with every shoot.
I use lots of smart collections to quickly find good shots, for example a smart collection finding all 2019 images with 5 stars is an easy way to find my favourites from last year. And it updates automatically, so when I have done a shoot and that happens 2-3-4 times a week, I just remember to use stars for the ones that stand out and I add the keyword “portfolio” if it happens to be a potential portfolio shot. The Smart collections takes care of the rest.
I should make a youtube tutorial about this actually, so many people ask me.
What are you waiting for? Do it already.
I am ready, in my trailer on the set, costume and make up department however is saying it will take a long time to make me look decent for Youtube. It will happen one day!
We might not have the advancements to make that work but I just called NASA.
Love it. Daniel, you say you love getting mail. Where would we send you some?
Thanks for this site and for your videos. They are must read/watch for me.
Well, I’m in the middle of moving so I’m a bit unsure where to send things at the moment, until I get moved. Let’s touch base again in about two weeks.