Prints in the digital world

In this fast paced world, images are presented to us in a flash. Whether it be a billboard, a TV commercial or the litany of images on social media. Our eyes being constant prey of the attention seeker. It really is overwhelming if I’m being completely honest. To me, it is mesmerizing the amount of creativity that is out there. At the same time, it saddens me that most will never be seen or quickly forgotten. Lost in the digital sea of the internet, only to be remembered by the creator or few others. When I say the word “sea” I mean a literal endless digital body where things get forgotten and lost.

Let’s look at some statistics from Instagram. Roughly 95 million images and videos are shared on Instagram per day…yes, I said per day. Over 40 billion images and videos have been shared on Instagram since its launch in 2010. That is just one social network! Take into account all the websites hosting images, other social networks, images sent in text or email…the list goes on. You can see how quickly your image is lost in that mess.

Camera in your pocket

The smart phone has revolutionized the way we all access the internet, communicate and take our personal images. We have endless frames and automatic cloud storage so that we can snap an image of something we see interesting or important to us and move on about the day. Compared to computers of the past, our phones have more computing power and more storage…all in our pocket. I truly is amazing. However, it is a sea in its own right, living within our own digital ecosystem.

I’d like to pose a couple of questions to my readers. How many times do you look back through the thousands of photos on your phone? Do you ever sit around and review images with family that you took 6 months ago? A year ago? If you’re like me, probably not much. What would you do if your phone was lost and let’s say, not backed up? All those images, lost. Look, I’m just as guilty as the next person and I probably think about photos more than the average human being. My point is, the connection with images taken haphazardly with the camera in our pocket seems similar to a social media feed of images. They just get lost in the shuffle. I do not think this is intentional but it is something that concerns me, which is why I advocate for prints. We are all overwhelmed by imagery all around us, busy schedules and endless information at our fingertips. But let’s face it, no one in the future will accidentally run across an iPhone from 50 years ago and sit down the review images. No one will run across your cloud storage account to review your images. Electronics have a finite lifespan and once that comes to an end, data is lost forever. However, a print that is taken care of will last up to 200 years. That’s 2-3 lifetimes and let me tell you, those printed images are more likely to make it far beyond your iCloud or Google account.

The Power of Print

For those who can remember the stacks of photo albums in your house or grandparents house, you know the power of print. Everyone would gather around to see a personally curated selection of images. There was laughter, smiles and stories to go with each one. We had a serious emotional connection with the printed image. There is something about seeing a print that means something to you. You can see it, touch it physically and you slow down to remember the moment. It’s hard to describe the feeling to this throw away, scroll on generation.

I can’t tell you how many clients just want “the digitals”. Listen, I’m perfectly fine and aware of how important those digital images are to clients. They want to send them to family and share them on social media for all to see. I’ve always struggled with how to get my clients to print more. Mainly, because I know the digital image gallery that they downloaded will most likely never be looked at again or even lost. I do try to offer affordable prints within client galleries so that people will actually get their images printed. Maybe some do take them to get printed, which I certainly hope. Physical prints are a slice of our legacy and the gateway to future conversations within your family. Don’t doubt the power of printing your images.

Better Late Than Never

Start an album or even a box that you can store your printed photos in. Get a canvas to put your image on display so it can be appreciated for what it is, a proud moment in your life. Not only will it look good but it’ll be a conversation piece with family or guests. Order a photo album for the special set of images. You’ll thank yourself decades from now when you open it up to carefully review each page, feeling the power of each image. I offer software tools to help with album design and wall art for my clients. For me, it really helps the client visualize how an album or a collage of prints on the wall will look.

I always try to offer the best print products to my clients. My prints are of archival quality (100-200 years) and will last you a lifetime. Yes, it may cost you a little more but the years of satisfaction you’ll get from that small purchase will be worth more than you can imagine. Something that should be considered for the future as you document the years through photographic sessions. Sound off in the comments below.

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