My grandparents holding my father ~ photo circa 1922.
For me, physical prints are all I have left of the majority of my family. My parents and grandparents are all gone. When my mother passed away, I came into possession of all of the photo albums. There’s something magical about so many years later holding a piece of my family’s history in my hands.
You don’t get that with digital images.
Photography as an art form has only been around for about a hundred years. Over that time there has been an estimated 3.5 trillion (that is nine 0s!) images captured and currently Facebook hosts over 140 Billion of those images, which is approximately 4% of all the images ever taken.
Have you ever had a hard drive crash and all your files erased? Or somehow had a social networking account deleted for whatever reason? If so I’m sure you’re more than aware to what I’m talking about.
Printing your photos is another source of back up and you can never have enough copies of something valuable, whether it’s a prized piece of planned out photography or a slightly blurred yet memorable family snap. Yes, physical copies are not immune to damage and they can still get lost or destroyed, but for the most part it’s a fairly solid backup – plus you can touch it – and that’s a sense of connection that a digital photo cannot give.
A lot of people have told me they don’t print their photos. That is completely fine! There are some photos you may not want printed (like the 35 outtakes of your kid eating a watermelon still sitting in your photo gallery on your iPhone). But there are some you might really regret not printing later like special events, family memories, and anything taken by a professional.
I’m not saying this as a photographer, an artist, a businesswoman or any other reason you could associate with above, but as a person with memories!
Now I am not a doomsday believer, but just imagined what would happen to our visual history of the last twenty years if our whole modern infrastructure crashed? I am not advocating that everyone should print out every image... but seeing your best images hanging on a wall in a frame is so much more satisfying than occasionally seeing it on a screen when scrolling through all the other images on a screen. As far as sharing images goes, giving someone a printed image actually means much more than sharing or emailing the same image.
A print, an album -- they are tangible products, real things that can be touched and held, not just a group of pixels that may be unreadable in a few years time.
Think about printing your photos.