Photos – To Print or Not to Print?
I love the photography website Petapixel. It covers all sorts of fascinating stories from the photography world and recently there was one particular article, Print for your Children’s Children, that got me thinking about how my photography habits have changed since I started shooting digital.
I have a confession, prior to digital I was a mad printer, I passed hundreds of hours in a darkroom watching my photos come to life. I adored everything about the darkroom, the dark!, the quiet, the sense of meditation, being locked away from the world and watching my photos slowly appear through the developer. I had an 8 x 10inch obsession..(paper of course)..
When I no longer had access to a darkroom in Paris I would head off to the fabulous Toroslab in the streets of the 2nd arrondissement and Toros and I would hang out in the darkroom and once again my photos would come to life. As things changed in photography Toros too changed and moved his darkroom to the edge of Paris and from that point on my photos remained as negatives in folders.
She who was always surrounded by photos stopped printing.
Photos are our link to the past, the minute you hold a photo in your hand all of us have the ability to ‘read’ that language. Anyone who has ever had to go through a deceased estate has always been able to understand that persons life through an old photo album or a box of loose photos. I have treasured yellowed, ripped and torn photos of people I have loved that hold a greater value than any other object in my home.
As the wonderful Petapixel article says “If a person such as myself dies (and we haven’t been printing out our photos), we leave behind a box of hard disks and an online account of images stored in the cloud. I realize, in this situation, I’d no longer be on this Earth, but I still would like to refer to it as my “nightmare scenario???.
My closets are being cleaned out. My kids/grandkids ???nd a box of hard drives. What’s the most likely outcome? The garbage or another closet, attic or basement. Hard drives hold no emotional weight. There’s a good chance, in that situation, nobody will ever see, enjoy or discuss my pictures ever again.
The sound of a 3.5??? drive hitting the bottom of a trash sometimes keeps me up at night and it should keep you up at night too.”
All photos copyright Carla Coulson
Recently when I re-arranged my house I had a big throw out. I threw out hundreds of cartons of old rubbish but I balked at the photos. They were so easy to manage and they were all neatly stacked away in Ilford boxes and once I opened the first lid it was not ‘Pandora’s box’ but ‘Carla’s box’, a life in pictures.
I found hard discs that had connections that seemed like they were from the turn of the century and I asked myself would I even bother looking at the contents of the disc now? And I am a photographer! Scary..
One of the greatest moments of happiness in my photographers week is when I pack up fine art prints and send them to my clients tucked away in beautiful boxes, it feel as though my work is complete. A piece of their life has been recorded and the process of holding a print in my hands is such a wonderful feeling.
So last week I turned over a new (personal) photographer’s leaf and started printing again, those photos on hard discs that have never smelt the printers ink too are scattered around my house. Just the photos that move me, the holiday shots, of my family and friends and life’s moments that are part of my story. Some of them will end up back in the box and that is the point, the images as such will exist even if my hard discs no longer work one day.
What are you doing with your images? Have you stopped printing??
I would love to hear what you think about this subject..
PS: Please feel free to share with other photographers.