Posts Tagged ‘print’

We have plenty of photographs.  What we really need is a curator!

I was talking to my oldest brother, who is in these four pictures below with my Grandpop and Grandmom.  He was visiting my Dad’s house and going through some boxes and came upon these photographs that were in an album, and he texted them to me.

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They were fun to see.  I told him.  Then I asked if he had printed any of his kids’ photos, who are all grown and out of college now.  He said he had an iPhoto account with everything in there, plus three backup computer hard drives that he updates every five years, plus maintains the cloud, and he told me how they are making bigger and bigger hard drives all the time.

I said it sounds like a lot of work.  And I asked him in 50 years, who will be opening the box in your closet and finding that iPhoto account and those hard drives and have the ability to access your photos.  He assured me the photos aren’t going anywhere, and his hard drives can hold hundreds of thousands photos.

I asked who’s going to go through hundreds of thousands of photos.  And wouldn’t it be simpler to curate the photos for them?  You can do that by printing your photographs, the ones that are the best that show the family at various ages and places.  And the ones where you look your best.  This is how you will be remembered.

He said there’s no worry, he will always triple backup the photos so there’s no way they can get lost.  And he said film is ridiculous, it’s so expensive.

I asked why he thought digital was cheaper than film, considering the output of time to catalog the “hundreds of thousands” photos, and the cost of hard drives, computer upgrades, even new digital cameras.

He said film is a niche market at best, and that when the automobile came out, there was concern that the makers of horse whips in the horse and buggy days would go out of business.  I have no idea what that means.

Smart people print their photos, so that they can be found in a box on a shelf in 50 years.

Or under a desk at the New York Parks Department, as seen in their Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78.”

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Smart people spend less money on digital cameras (including phones) and cards, software, cloud accounts, hard drives and computers, and more time making photographs.  Less time in front of a computer, and more time with photographs in your home, living with you.

My partner, I gave her a film camera a few years ago for her birthday.  She took some beautiful black and white photos with it, and then, after a few monochrome rolls, I gave her a roll of color to shoot.  She went to an outdoor party, photographed friends and new people she met.  When she was done the roll I said, since I don’t process color film at home only black and white, that I could drop it off for her at the camera store in Boulder.

She said she was going that way, so she’d drop it off.  I said to her to write on the envelope DEVELOP ONLY and that I would scan the negatives for her when she got back.

She came back smiling with an envelope of negatives and prints.  I asked her why she paid for prints.  She said, “I have a bunch of small frames I picked up at yard sales and thrift stores, and now I can put these into them and give them to the people whose photos I took, and I’m done.  No scanning, no computer work needed.”

I told friends what she did and what she said.  I posted this story on Facebook.  People said, “Wow, what a great idea.”  This isn’t a new idea.  This is the history of photography up until digital came along, made it so that everyone was shooting hundreds of photos a day, and getting instant gratification on social media, and printing none.

If you have a like on Facebook, why do you need to print?

Time marches on.  Prints last.  Print the photos you care about having last for future generations.

If you’re smart, you shoot film, print your photos and give them to friends, and take the money and computer time saved to go out and get lunch with them.

And photograph them some more, too.

Here’s my Father with his photo when he was 60 years younger.  And also on his wedding day.


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Those photos don’t exist unless they are on paper.

Print the photos that you want your great grandchildren to see.  The problem with hundreds of thousands of photos is the hundreds of thousands of photos.  Digital hasn’t been a boom for family history, but a bust.

Print the ones of how you would like to be remembered.  Leave your great grandchildren 50 good ones, printed and left in a box to see you as you are–those are the only ones they’ll ever see!

Be the curator.

I went to my photo lab this week to pick up some black and white and color prints of my Dad and me sitting at a pub and restaurant on my last trip to Philly.  I always pick up small black and brown wood frames at yard sales and thrift stores whenever I find them to keep on hand, and these photos I framed and hung in my house to keep him close since we live 2000 miles apart.

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Then I did a Costco run for some groceries and there were all these people buying 5TB and 8TB hard drives, and signs for ‘backing up your photos’, which got me thinking, “What if the backup fails?”  Say you have everything saved in duplicate, but then tragedy strikes–twice!  Ok, triplicate–doesn’t that sort of guarantee you won’t lose the photos?  Well, perhaps.  But…

Do you actually have anything?  What is with all these hard drives?  Where are the photos?

The other hot items at Costco were a three-camera home security system, and a doorbell-cam, and I watched people spend hundreds of dollars to create surveillance for their homes and shook my head.

What are we doing?  Are we obsessed with all this surveillance?  Digital images that go nowhere.

New tech is enticing, but I don’t need technology to have a photo of my Dad and me in the house.  I don’t need terabytes of storage to make sure I don’t lose it.  It’s right there, on the wall.

It’s technology right out of the 19th century, and it still works to this day!

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As you may know, I’m a professional photographer and I photograph families and individuals and consider portraits the most important work I do.

But to get people to order a family portrait, or a portrait of their parents or grandparents, frankly, it’s difficult.  Only some of the more affluent folks choose to spend for the quality that I can create.  The rest, they figure they can shoot some with their phone, save the cash, then never bother to print anything.   Why spend on photography?  Why print?

So it’s a phone snap.  I guess after a while it’s ‘fire up the next hard drive, time for another backup’.

What are all these backups good for?

When is anyone ever going to use these backed-up files and print a photo?

Do families really gather around the computer to look at photos of Grandpa and Grandma?

I don’t think so.

Those phone snapshots are like film negatives that were made and never processed or if they were developed, never printed.  They’re a step toward a photo, but not a photo.

They’re essentially nothing.

Maybe just quit taking the snaps and backing them up–they’re useless.

I think about how many Americans there are, and how many households are full of these high-tech gadgets.

Hard drives–backups and backups of backups full of images never seen.

Surveillance systems tracking our homes like a police state.

Alexa and Google listening to our every move.

But people refusing to spend on an artist who can create a lasting portrait of a family member who may not be with them much longer.  Dismissing the importance of quality family portraits that are printed and displayed.

“I’ve got my phone.  Which reminds me, I need a new phone–I heard they have a new camera…”  What good is it?  You never make a photograph?

Family photographs are historical documents.  Printing your photographs is the one way to keep family members alive after they pass, and keep them in our homes, living with us, with printing that is done with a very old technology that is guaranteed to last.

Without the need for electricity or Siri to access.

It’s a real photograph.  It’s so simple, somehow people miss it.

Perhaps it’s special because it feels like an event when you’re flipping pages.  Is that what makes it different?

Maybe it’s nostalgic.  Or just a wish to get away from all things digital, especially since so many of us are in front of our phones and computers all day.

Call it a resurgence.  A return to analog.  Whatever you want to call it.

But I’ve been making up small pocket-able albums of photographs for some of my clients and they tell me they love them.  When they get together with friends, they pass the album around the table to show photos and they can share them without having to pull out their phones.

I’ve had a couple dozen orders so far this year and it seems to be growing in popularity.  Any other photographers experiencing this trend?

wajda-1.jpgThe albums contain all kinds of photographs–ones I’ve made, or their own photos–pictures of family and friends that they send to me to tone and crop and I get printed for them.

And since the photos are 4×6″, they’re larger than their phone, so they look better and easy for friends to see.

I asked one client about the experience when her friends see them, what it’s like, and she said people seem to look at them longer.  They look at the photos and ask questions and talk about them.  Because it’s much slower to flip to the next one, since it’s not just a swipe away.

With the phone, it’s swipe, swipe, swipe, done.

I know it’s true when I show my work to an art director at an advertising agency.  I always bring prints.  There’s something extra special about holding a mounted 12×18″ print that just beats an iPad every time.   Art directors have even told me they prefer to look at real prints.

A few people have asked for printed books, but the majority want the simple 4×6″ albums with real photos tucked in the individual sleeves.

It’s interesting, there are old photo albums in our family, and my nephews and nieces have always loved opening them and perusing the images, looking back into the history of our family.  But why is this an old idea?  Why can’t there be new albums?

Of course there can be.

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I run a monthly event for photographers to come together and show their work called Beers + Cameras: Boulder.  Most people bring digital files that we put up on a projection screen.  But occasionally, someone will bring hand-printed photographs–glorious black and white prints that they made themselves.

Those are always the highlight of the show.

I don’t believe it’s nostalgic any more than why Tom Hanks types with a typewriter.  Some things–not everything–but sometimes, the previous way worked well. And for Tom, thank you notes made on real paper are special in a way that an email is not.

I’d say that’s what’s happening with photographs now, and how people are once more valuing the simple photo album.  It’s not like there are hundreds of orders, but there weren’t half this many all of last year.

They’re easy to create.  They’re inexpensive.  If you want a hand with one, give me a ring–that’s what I do.  I can crop and tone yours to look their best.  720.982.9237

Or make one up yourself.  See if you don’t get the experience I’m seeing with my clients.

It’s great fun, and I’m glad to see prints making a resurgence, even in a small way.  Those very well may be the only photographs that survive the digital dark age.

You’re not going to take less pictures.
You’re not going to backup your pictures.
You’re not going to print your pictures.
So, you’re not really making photographs.
(Just snaps/notes for a quick look/like.)

In the future,
you’re not going to have any photographs,
Since there are no photographs.
They don’t exist.
(You can’t save what you didn’t make.)

American CoolFebruary 7, 2014 through September 7, 2014

Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.  (By photographers!)

The state of photography is at a low point.
Someone said, “Of course all photos are crap now.”
Everyone thinks they’re a “photographer”,
How can that be, since no one makes photographs?

Obviously, there are very few photographers.
Since photographers make photographs.
And they’re not making photographs.
They’re making notes, glances and likes.

Call them phone recordists. Digital capturers.
Social media snappers. Like gatherers.
Just don’t call them photographers,
When they don’t make photographs.

You’re not a fireman because you have a hose.
You’re not a lion tamer because you have a chair.
You’re not a photographer because you have a camera.
You’re not a photographer, period, if you don’t make photographs.

So, stop saying you are!

 

 

[For the Millions of People who Lose Family Photographs Each Year]

It’s happened time and again in times of natural disasters, and every time, the answer is the same, when asked what do you take.  Photographs.

“I’m taking the photographs.  Everything else is replaceable.  Those are not.”

No one is running into the house for the hard drives.  They’re grabbing their parents and grandparents photos, and photo albums and getting them to safety.

I’m hearing more stories of people losing their photos on lost phones or dead hard drives–six people in the last few weeks–to the point that it makes me say come on, what’s it going to take to finally print our photos?

Millions of family photographs are lost each year.

Why are we refusing to spend a dime on prints, when services are readily available?  Too busy or too cheap–neither one gets our photographs printed!

You say you’re one of the ones who triple-backs up everything?  Great!  That’s not everyone.  In fact, it’s mostly no one.  Most people say they want to print their photos, but never do.

Good intentions don’t preserve family history.

What’s it going to take to make folks finally create some hard copies of their photographs?  Because online or a hard drive or a cloud, they really don’t exist.   And we can’t expect with technology changes they will exist in 50-100 years.

A print you can hold in your hand, and run out to the car.  Because it’s real.  It’s physical.

So, why aren’t we printing our photographs?

You can come to me at YourFamilyPhotoAlbums.com, and I’ll help you get them printed.  Or do it yourself through any number of online services.   But, do it!

Or there will be no photographs of this generation for your children or grandchildren’s generation to have of you.

Don’t wait for the fire or flood.

By then, it’ll be too late.