Up to 20 years ago printing was the only way to go. I know for many children now this doesn’t make sense, but that was our reality. We never kept negatives in drawers without developing them. Actually, not sure about your family, but we were always super excited to finish a roll and get it printed. In the early days, you had to wait a few days, then the next day and then the one hour service became available. That was very exciting and surely a game changer!
As a teenager, I grew up with a film camera. School trips, evenings with friends, small concerts were all documented on films and then who knows if that moment was turning out as you planned to!
Photography has always been a part of my family’s life. I think we had quite a good amount of photos as a family, holidays, childhood, birthdays . . . and that’s what I love when I go to my parents’ house- going through boxes of old memories.
I was taught to be careful of what I was taking a photo of. Firstly, there were only a certain amount of exposures in a roll so I didn’t have infinite goes. Secondly, it was expensive to develop them and it was the only way to see if they were decent or not!
I remember one time, I’ve been to a music festival with many different singers. It was exciting and I shot 36 images of the stage. I was not too far away but not too close either and I could see well from where I was standing. So I was super excited to see the printed photos and have photos of all the singers. But the camera didn’t have a zoom lens and all the photos looked pretty much the same. A bunch of people’s heads in front of me and far away, a stage with lights and a small silhouette that could be anyone!! I remember I was so disappointed! Not to talk about the waste of money when I came back home and show them to my parents hahaha
That was a long introduction . . .
but the point is that the printed photos were the normality back then.
In the digital world, we are all guilty of not printing anymore. And I include myself too here! I love printed photos, albums, photos on the wall, but I don’t print all the photos sitting on my phone. Actually, I print a very small part of them. I always print the photos I take with my professional camera, photos that will be then edited and were more curated, but I’m surely guilty of not printing the day to day life. What’s on my phone.
And social media made it all very simple for parents to snap a photo, apply a filter and post it or send it to the grandparents. It’s all here and now. Very immediate. And as a photographer I love social media to show my work, to show where I am to my family and so on. But nothing of that will remain if Facebook or Instagram will shut or delete your account. And then what?
The most photographed generation won’t have any actual photos of themselves!
I have thousands of photos on my phone like you. Every so often I download them on my computer so they will be sitting in a folder somewhere. And from time to time I clean and purge my phone and delete some, maybe duplicates, photos that I downloaded already . . . if I see an image that really matters to me I get it printed though! Do you know why? Because I know I won’t see it otherwise. Those photos downloaded on the computer could die any minute if the hard disk gets damaged or corrupted. But even if the computer will live forever I don’t think my daughter one day will sit and look at the thousands of photos in there. But I’m sure she will sit to look at printed photos that will be there on a shelf or in an album. It’s easy and it’s quicker.
What does it happen when we lose someone we love?
Well, we all do the same right? We look for their photos and we print them if we haven’t already so we can have them around us. But why wait for someone to pass away then?
Unfortunately, we give value to photos when the person is not with us anymore. I wrote a post about the value of a photograph.
If we ask most of the women why we don’t like to be in photos we’ll find that most of us will complain about our physical appearance or about how we feel in our body: don’t like the new haircut, we feel overweight, have nothing to wear, don’t like the nose and on and on.
But let me ask you something else? Do you have printed photos of previous generations in your home or your parents’ home? Yes right, or most of us do!
When I look at my grandparents or great grandparents photos I always comment on the quality of the photos, those black and white were just divine. And then I talk about how elegant grandpa was in that photo, kind of looking like an actor. Or how much I look like my grandma in that portrait. I never think ‘I wish grandma lost a few kilos before taking this photo, she would have looked better.’ Or ‘why didn’t grandpa cut his beard?’ I only see their beauty and I’m happy to have those photos, to understand how they look when they were young. To see where I come from!
And yet we make so many excuses all the time not to be in photos, and when we are we don’t want to print them.
So how do we pass this message to our children? We say we love them for who they are regardless of size or appearance but then we do the opposite with ourselves.
And most importantly.
How can we show them how beautiful they are if we never print their images or ours?
Another curious thing is that in case of a fire or natural disaster, it’s proved that people tend to grab photos and important documents. My brother is a fireman and after earthquakes apart from looking for people trapped, people always ask him to look for photos, albums, wall art. Why? That’s their life history.
So as a photographer my job is not only to capture the existing life as is now but to preserve it for the next generations with beautiful albums and printed photos. Because how are they supposed to know who they are if they didn’t know who they were?
And I get it! You think you can’t afford to order prints from your photographer or order a gorgeous album that will be your family legacy one day. The problem is that you don’t value it at that time. But I am sure you can afford it. And if you look around you, around your house you will find plenty of things you wasted money on. Maybe the last TV model, surely the last iPhone, not to talk about new shoes and clothes and the daily coffee. All things that will eventually be dismissed soon. All things that won’t have value and won’t matter tomorrow.
But that frame on the wall or that album that costs like a new TV or less will actually gain value with time.
If you are reading this post, I would like you to reflect on this. Think about the value that a printed photo will have in time.
And today have a look at your phone. Select your favourite photos and please print them. Do a favour to your children and create their legacy. They will thank you and one day even those photos of you with no makeup on, that photo with some extra weight guess what? They will be precious and the only tangible memories they will have of you.
I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you need help to capture a moment and create a long-lasting memory I’ll be happy to serve you!
You can see my work on the website
Are you interested in one of my services? Get in touch and have a chat!