Why I Still Print My Photographs
It was 1am and I was digging around in the storage space under the stairs in my office.
Using the little flash light on my iphone, I was searching for a box of shipping envelopes. Yep, 1am and I'm searching dark spaces for shipping envelopes. It's the story of the work at home mom... anyhow, I was crouched down hoping my saw horses didn't fall on me so I could find those shipping envelopes and get my last task of the day done so I could crawl into bed.
That's when I saw the box.
The box of images from my childhood.
Prints upon prints of me at different stages of life. From gap toothed and awkward to curly haired, a couple years older and .... still awkward. I found mementos from old report cards, first essays and cassette tapes (yep!) of my Grandma's voice reading that past me a bed time story.
I stopped in my tracks as I had forgotten the box was stashed here. Stashed safely away till I had time to go through it again, and the box found me at 1am with an iphone flashlight illuminating all these moments from my life. Making me smile and shake my head. Making me wonder how I could have possibly thought that overalls with just one strap done, cut into shorts and rolled down socks could have ever been a fashion statement. Remember when I said awkward? Well... yeah.
It's these moments when prints are the most precious. Prints that, while bent and well loved through the years are still here and available for me to thumb through.
Stealing a moment while caught in the middle of another task. The cassette tape of my Grandma's voice got passed over, as we haven't had a cassette player in our home for some years, but the prints were able to bring me back in time.
Now, imagine you or your children in 20 years doing the same random task of life when they run across a box of their own.
But instead of a box that instantly transports them back in time to the years of their youth and awkwardness. Bringing a smile to their lips, as the use their phone flashlight to illuminate the dark space... Instead they find a box of hard drives, reminiscent of the almost useless cassette tapes of my Grandma's voice long gone.
They know what's on the drives, and the memory lane they could walk down. But, first they'd have to find that computer that still takes an old time technology of a USB, or that completely extinct technology of CD drives.
They'd have to hope that the drive their memories are on haven't been corrupted in years of sitting, storing and moving.
And once they took the two seconds of time to think about *possibly* walking down memory lane, they'd likely just shrug, set the box aside and continue on their original task.
They'd think about going through the hard drives every once in a while, but they'd likely just forget about the images, and all those memories would be lost, forgotten or completely fogged over.
Don't underestimate the power in printing the things that you want to remember.
In having something tangible to hold on to, to share and to pass on as the years go by. The digital world we live in makes us so complacent to our memories. We have Facebook and our camera roll on our phones. But where are the images that are from your phone three years ago? Let me guess.. a black box of a hard drive somewhere.... you're pretty sure you know where.... maybe.
While kids today are definitely the most documented generation in history, we risk that they won't actually have the memories from these moments we capture... as they'll be locked away on some drive somewhere... which may not even work on the computer of the day.
In light of those thoughts. Here are 4 great reasons to print your photographs!
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- Display : Walk into any home and see prints on the walls, and it instantly feels homier. If you have a couple moments of nothing to do, do you not find yourself looking at the images on the walls of the home. Learning of all their memories and the moments they treasure. Not only does it make it funner for the home owner, but it can be an amazing conversation starter. "Hey I didn't know you've been to Rome! What was it like?" "I didn't know you knew Matty too. What a small world!" "You looked amazing in your wedding dress." The possibilities are endless!
- To Pass On : Did you read the story above? It's the perfect example of why tangible printed images are so valuable. Not only for you remembering, but for your kids to remember as well. And for your kids to remember you when you are no longer here. It's immensely powerful. Passing on can be more immediate as well, when you think of the easy access you have to the images on your phone... do your children? They can't just pick up the phone and look through, but if you had a box of prints, or an album on the shelf, it would give them the power of looking through your memories and learning more about you as well.
- Sharing : Do you remember dropping your film off at the lab and the first question they'd ask you is if you wanted doubles? Before double was associated with shots of espresso, it was associated with getting two copies of prints from your roll of film. I can tell you after years of working in a lab, the vast majority of people said yes to those doubles, and shared those prints with their friends and families. They adorned fridges, bedroom mirrors, and albums to help share the memories made.
- The Ability to Last the Ages : Those images on the hard drive today, or the cloud, or your phone. Who knows where technology will be in 10 years let alone 20 or 30. To think you will realistically keep up with organizing and upkeep of the 1000s of images that we take these days (because when was the last time you edited out the crappy photos you don't actually want? Yeah, me either for snapshots). But those prints. Those prints will be here in 30 years. Picked up out of a dusty box, bringing a smile to you or your grandchildren. Nurturing the memories we created.
So I challenge you. Go order prints. Do it now and get it done. Future you will thank you. Even if you do nothing more than stack them in a box, at least they will be there.
If you have no current images of you or your family, hire a photographer to capture you as you are! You can send me an email if you'd like. I'd love to help!
You may not realize it now... But one late night when you are doing something else, you may find yourself side tracked and enjoying reliving the years of your life :)
But wait... don't know where to print? Well check out mpix.com .