In today’s modern times we always have access to a camera—the phones in our pockets. We have thousands of digital images stored on our phones, on our computers, and in the cloud. We take pictures and feel like we need to do something with them so we share them on Facebook, Instagram or other social media and feel like they’ve served their purpose. Even when we hire a photographer, we expect them to give us the digital files and while we may print a few for the wall or for holiday cards, the images live digitally. In this digital era of ‘instant gratification’ where photography has become so accessible and a short-term consumable, we forget why we take photographs. We fail to realize that we are not taking pictures for today but in fact taking them for the future because ultimately, we are creating our family’s legacy.
Think about the portraits you have of your parents or grandparents when they were young. When you look at them, what do you see? What do you feel? Is it just a piece of paper with ink on it? I look at the almost 60 year old picture of my father when he was 20 and I don’t just see my father. I see who he was as a young man with his entire life ahead of him. I see his dreams, his struggles, his accomplishments—I see his legacy. Printed photographs are a testament to our lives and an affirmation of our existence.
“The idea is not to live forever.
It is to create something that will.”
But you may think, “I have all my pictures stored digitally so don’t need prints.” Fifty years from now when you are gone, how will your children or grandchildren access these pictures? Will they look for some outdated disk or through the cloud with thousands of files on them to locate the pictures? Will the quality of the photographs or storage mediums survive our fast paced technological advances? Will they look through our Facebook and Instagram? Will they even exist? And what if in the unlikely event they did have access to those digital files? Let me ask you this. Think about an inspiring piece of artwork that you’ve seen in person. What is the difference between seeing it on a screen versus seeing it in real life? There is power in the printed photograph. There is something about having a photograph that is tangible that you can hold and look at. High quality archival prints will last 100 years displayed and 200 years if properly stored. They will outlive you and your children and they will be treasured.
It is imperative that we print our photographs. We need to print them for our children and our children’s children so that your family can create a legacy that can be passed down for generations.