Making the Case or How to Stuff a Portfolio

Disco, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

This weekend I decided to turn my attention to cases. Now, I know this does not sound like a big deal, and it isn’t or, at least, it shouldn’t be really, but, sometimes, yeah, it is. It’s hard to find a case for your portfolio.

For starters, I would love to have a really handmade custom case, a clam shell type box really, that reflects my work. It would have to be 13×19 inches or actually hold prints that size. I want it to have a really nice cover, and resemble something more like a handmade book rather than a portfolio case. Ok, so they don’t sell those and, in fact, it might be best to make such a beast for myself or try to find a local book bindery to make a custom solution for me. That’s one option. It’s always available, not too cheap, but it would make a great first impression, not to mention it would be unique and totally “me” since I could have it custom made and I would get to call all of the shots in the process.

Then, I started looking at metal boxes, since I think something sleek and aluminium might fit my needs. I started envisioning those sleek metal cases, with little latches that open up to hold my work. Since my work is a bit unique anyway, this sort of fits-everybody else probably has the black clam shell box with a pretty lining and I could try something a bit more unexpected. The metal case seems like a good idea but it’s not too personal and it doesn’t (or wouldn’t actually) have the same “wow!” factor as a handmade book from a book bindery but it would be more easily reused and could easily hold a variety of work. Not to mention I would not feel totally crushed if somebody accidentally spilled their coffee on it or it somehow got “lost in the mail” as these things sometimes do.

I started surfing websites devoted to this. There’s Lost Luggage, a portfolio showcase site and House of Portfolios a custom outfitter in New York City. There’s also an outfit called and even a fine art photographer Alain Briot who offers a DVD on how to make your own custom clam shell box. I found the Canden archival aluminium presentation box was closest to the “sleek metal box” that I was thinking about, but I’m still not sure. I will probably end up contacting a local Austin book bindery to mull over some additional options. Then again, the metal case is not too expensive and it might be handy to have one of those anyway, so I might just go ahead and order one of those (so I have it) while researching (and possibly purchasing) the other styles of boxes.

Decisions, decisions….

I’d be curious to hear about your portfolio options. Have you done something like this before? Want to get a really nice case? Don’t think it’s important? Thought about it but don’t know where to begin? Aren’t at the portfolio stage just yet? (It can really be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before.) Too cheap to spend any money on this type of a solution? Prefer to “go green” and do everything electronically anyway?

If you have any preferred suppliers or vendors I’d be happy to check those out as well. 

Until next time…

1 Comment

  1. mythopolis
    September 7, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    To each his/her own, I guess. The main thing is the work. I've tried several portfolio styles over the years. After awhile they all look corny and pretentious. But, if you've got the work, you can roll it loosely, put a rubber band around it, and make your case be it for a proposed exhibit or show, or a proposal for funds to do some next thing. The work trumps presentation. Also, your belief in your self when laying it out on the table. That's my simple-minded take.

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