To print or not to print photographs… that is the question.
Today I read an article that was shared on a LinkedIn forum from the magazine Amateur Photographer. The focus of the article was on whether or not we should print photographs. As a photographer the article certainly got me thinking. In short it highlighted the concerns that experts have regarding the lack of printed photographs that document our social history.
It began… “Photographers must print images they want to preserve, or treasured photos may be unavailable to future generations when digital storage media wears out or becomes obsolete.” When they use the term “Photographers” they are referring to anyone who takes a photograph whether it be with a smart phone camera, or a top of the range DSLR. Professional or amateur. Ultimately if you are the person behind the camera, pushing the button to capture that moment in time then you are the photographer.
As I said, the article certainly got me thinking about the work I do & the photographs I take (or those that are taken of me) that in effect document my personal life – the places I visit, family, friends & moments in time. My social history.
My home has lots of photographs of those dear to me on display, as well as framed photographs that I have taken. For the past 5 years I have created photobooks which include my favourite images from the year, as well as personal travel books documenting my holidays, or places I have visited. So for my part I certainly print photographs. But what about you?
For me, this is one of the beauties of photography. It has the ability to inspire such wonderful memories, draw a smile & remind us what our past was like. Those haircuts, the clothes we wore, our friends & the antics we got up to. It has the ability to document how our families grow, & how our lives develop over time. How better to see this than in a framed printed photograph, or a book full of photographic prints?
The first image below (sadly I don’t know the photographer) is of my maternal great-grand mother. My grand-father spoke so warmly of her, he clearly loved her very much. This photograph was taken circa 1904 & because of it I’m able to get a glimpse into her life as well as see the family resemblance that runs through our family today.
The next image is of my Mum, taken in 1964 – her engagement shoot photograph (again I don’t know the photographer). Had these photographs never had been printed I would never have had this insight. These are treasured photographs for me and always will be.
I will always be grateful that they chose to print these photographs.
These days we save our photographs digitally. They maybe on CDs, USBs, hard drives or up in the ‘cloud’. How many are password protected? Who else in your family knows the password? How else could those special memories be accessed? Could your relatives, current & future, lose the opportunity of learning from your social history? You may think it’s just be a snap shot but every image tells a story.
So next time you pick up your camera (smart phone, point & shoot or DSLR – whatever it is) & photograph your loved ones, get some of your favourite photographs printed. Pop them in a frame, create a collage, put them in an album, or create a canvas. Anything! Just ensure you print photographs – throughout your life they will fill you with warmth, love & happiness. For the next generation, they will do the same… trust me! So when faced with the decision to print or not to print photographs, choose print.
Let me know what your treasured photograph is & why you love it so much.
You can read the article in full at the Amateur Photographer website.