The Portfolios of Brett Weston:
Volume 1: San Francisco.
Photographs by Brett Weston.
Lodima Press, Revere, PA, 2005. 32 pp., 10 photographs reproduced in 600-line screen quadtone full size from 8 x 10-inch contact prints, 12¾x12¾".
Between 1939 and 1980 Brett Weston produced sixteen limited edition portfolios of original photographs. He believed passionately in the power of his original prints and chose the portfolio as the way to reach an expanded audience while still maintaining control over image quality. Today, Weston’s original portfolios are rare, expensive, and relatively inaccessible in museums, archives, libraries, or private collections. Most of the photographs in these new books have never before been reproduced.
Printing technology now makes it possible, however, to bring the Brett Weston portfolios to a larger audience in reproductions that, in their rich detail, tonal scale and color, surface quality, and aesthetic appeal, are almost indistinguishable from the original prints. Printed in Belgium by Salto2 in 600-line screen quadtone on heavy coated stock, the photographs in San Francisco, and in the complete series, have been reproduced actual size whenever possible.
To recreate the feeling of the original portfolios, great care has been taken not only with the reproduction of the photographs, but with every aspect of these books. Where there is text in the portfolios, it is reproduced in facsimile, and the color of each book’s cover has been selected to match the covers of the original portfolio cases.
The close friend of Brett’s and art historian, Roger Aikin, has provided an introductory essay for each book in the series, writing that sets the photographs in the context of Weston’s life and career. Dr. Aikin’s critical analysis comparing the photographs of Brett and those of his father, published in 1973, remains the finest analysis of its type we have seen.
Because a single book containing all of the volumes in this series would require 258 reproductions, and would weigh many pounds, and be prohibitively expensive, The Portfolios of Brett Weston will appear in nineteen volumes over the next several years, beginning with San Francisco of 1939 and continuing in chronological order at the rate of three or four volumes per year. This printing schedule will provide subscribers with one portfolio at a time and has the advantage of duplicating more closely the original experience of the portfolios themselves: each one can be studied and savored in its own right.
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