The Importance of Print
This post is dedicated to our dear Nan Pam who passed away this week (15th Feb 2018) - who will always be remembered and photos will be cherished.
The Importance Of Print
My Nans photo collection.
The importance of printed photography in a digital age.
Digital technology with limitless storage capabilities are practical tools for photography, but print has always been close to my heart. I will always remember the shoebox in my childhood home, weighty, musky and containing hundreds of small rectangular glimpses of weddings, birthdays and Christmas. The images of my siblings and I, grinning on special occasions surrounded by a plethora of party food have never failed to amuse me and I still smile when I take that same old box from the shelf of my home today. I have been told before that print is dead, but I sincerely disbelieve that. But why is print so captivating?
Printmaking: There’s art in analogue.
It is said that art imitates life, and print photography is a testimony to this. Throughout our lives, we are captured in many photographs. But there will always be those rare few images that are so filled with sentiment, they have the power to whisk you back to the day they were taken.
You can encapsulate a moment; a kiss between husband and wife on a wedding day or the birth of a child through a photograph - but you can enshrine them with a print. By displaying those moments you most treasure, you are displaying the beauty and art in your life.
Permanence of print photography.
Whilst USBs and online drives may seem like they’ve been around forever, it is likely that the USB will go the same way as the floppy disk or that the SD card will fade into relative obscurity with the CD-ROM.
This cannot happen with print. It is timeless, you will never need to worry about having the right technology to open a file, or whether your hard-drive has been corrupted as it is always there, ready to view.
My Dad and I at my grandparents house 1988 I think
“Don’t you look just like your grandad?”
Do you remember visiting your grandparents’ house and peering at the photos adorning the walls and mantles? Or when the photo albums were passed around and you could look into the little windows of a world you were too young to have experienced?
My Grandad and I in his garden - 1990.
The little debate about what year the photograph was taken, and where is was taken? The small card is delicately lifted, with great care not to leave marks on its glossy front, to reveal the handwritten markings - Stokes Bay July 1955.
My Uncle David and Aunty Jill enjoying life!
It’s strange to look back at photos from years ago, when your parents or grandparents were young. You see them, around the same age as yourself in a time you do not recognise and wearing clothes you would not wear. And you become struck with the almost uncanny notion that your past extends so much further than yourself.
My Grandad in his RAF uniform and my Nan being used as a climbing frame!
Family photos are family heirlooms.
A family sat drinking tea, passing around photos and sharing memories and anecdotes is a traditional experience. It is precisely this that gives print photography the same power as an heirloom.
A well-bound album with archival grade paper will resist fade and last over 100 years. But it is not only the photographs that can be passed down, it is this feeling of connection that you want your children to inherit. This feeling makes you aware of, and connects you to your roots. If you share your history with them, you can give them a part of you that they can keep forever.
My Nan's Brother John keeping in touch post World War 2.
The power of paper.
It has been found that print has the power to evoke much more emotion than when experiencing digital media, and information displayed in hard format is more easily absorbed.
What makes print so special is that it stands apart from our day-to-day consumption of media. Despite tablets and smartphones, it resonates with that nostalgic part of us that craves physicality, a link to a memory that you can touch.
After all, it is more than just media. The printed memories are immortalised because they are more than just snapchats and selfies. The ones that we decide to keep are kept because they display moments of love, passion and unbridled joy. They are a tribute to the people in our lives and a celebration of all their quirks and foibles.
And of course the standard naked baby photo of yourself.
Here is our collection building nicely.