Why print your photographs?
When I uploaded the scanned photograph below to both my personal and public Facebook Pages to mark what would have been my father’s birthday, it provoked a reaction in some of my friends and “followers” that got me thinking. What is the true value of a printed photograph?
This particular photograph was taken in 1966 at my father’s wedding. I was four and a half, proud to be a bridesmaid and incredibly excited to have my own mummy at last. In fact, I believe I actually thought that was what the occasion was all about! I don’t remember it being taken, but when I look at it, I do remember how I felt and how his arms felt around me.
When you lose someone you love, these little things are important. I see this image every day, because it has been printed and framed. It reminds me that I was loved, on a day when my father was happy, when we became a family. I wrote about my dad on my project50 blog. He died too young, too sadly. I need photographs like this to remind me of happier times.
I also have a few – too few – photographs of my mother, whose life ended at 21, six days after I was born. Again, I wrote about her on my personal blog. All I will say here is that if these few precious images had been electronically captured in the late fifties/early sixties, it’s unlikely I would be able to access them today as technology has moved on so far
I hadn’t intended this post to be solely about loss and remembrance – sorry!
I am also surrounded at home by photographs of my four children as they grew up, of my daughter’s wedding, my grandchildren, spectacular views I have seen with my own eyes, scenes that I found to be beautiful. Memories, in other words, reminders of happy times that are part of my everyday because I have had the images printed and hung on my walls or taking pride of place on my mantlepiece.
This is a plea – please don’t opt for the digital-only option just because it’s “cheaper”. Before you commission a photographer (whether it’s me or someone else) think carefully about what you want from the experience. It’s good to flick through the digital files on your iPad, but do you also want to have your giggling toddler across from you as you cook the dinner? Or your partner making eye-contact from the side table in the lounge while he’s working away? Or a beautiful print of you from your boudoir session in your bedroom to remind you every single day how fabulous you look?
And please don’t just commission photographs of your children and grandchildren. As Sue Bryce, the award-winning Australian photographer says, we owe it to our children (and grandchildren!) to exist in photographs for them. We are loved and cherished too, and one day we will be missed. A good, professionally taken portrait is part of our legacy. Take a look at my 50 Facing 50 project – 50 portraits of men and women in their 50s. Imagine how the children of these folk will cherish images of their parents doing what they love in the years to come.
So please, PRINT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS. Trust me, one day you will be glad you did.
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