The lost art of Printing

With the ease of taking snapshots on a phone or device, and the quick sharing platforms available to share these pictures, the art of printing and having the big family album on the mantle are all but lost. For a photographer, this can be heartbreaking to see that people no longer ‘print’ photos, instead the new norm is to ‘share’ and ‘like’ photos. The recent closure of Blacks Photography is a testament to this. As a Blacks alumni I was shocked and saddened by the news. Thinking about what a travesty it was that prints are becoming extinct for the regular consumer, I realized that I am also sadly guilty of it too. And while I cheered when Blacks Online was saved from the brink of closure, unless we fall in love with printing again, they and others may not last the digital age.

I was recently digging through and attempting to sort the vast space that is my photo hard drive, and after a few exhausting hours of setting up keywords, metadata, tags, folders, catalogues etc., I finally sat back and realized how little of my own photos that I had not printed. They were all just sitting on my hard drive, doing nothing and collecting the proverbial dust. Anything I had been working on of my own personal photos in the last few years (yes, years) were only posted to social media or photo sharing websites. They live only in the digital world, mere data - and not physical photographs.

I started to look around my home at what I did have on my walls, a mix of photos and art yes, but there is a surprising amount of bare walls. If you are like me you’ve been on Pinterest at least once or twice (or truthfully, currently has Pinterest open in another tab - so many things to pin, so little time!). And if you are very much like me you have boards of all sorts of ideas and projects that you’d like to tackle. One of my boards is called ‘House Dreams’, and the collection of photo display projects I have pinned there is staggering. I started this board years ago when I first toyed with the idea of eventually buying a house. I pinned anything and everything that caught my eye, many of them were beautiful gallery walls of photographs. Groups of them running up stairways, decorating bedrooms, becoming feature walls in living spaces….all of them inspiring and beautiful. Last year I did actually buy my first house, and do you know how many of these beautiful gallery walls I have up - 0. Nada, zippo, none. Sad really, and a waste of a good wall (and pin).

We love pictures, all of us. Otherwise photography in any form would have disappeared long ago, but what happened with our love of printing? There are so many ways you can print now other than the standard photo album. You can print collage books with a few minutes and a click of a button, you can print from your social media feeds direct with some companies (a friend of mine printed some pictures from her Instagram to add to going away cards, and it was the best thing getting those little square photos), you can even print on aluminium and create a show stopper picture.

Take a moment, look through your pictures, pick one, print it, frame it, laminate it, craft with it, mod podge it, send it to a loved one.

For myself, the end of summer goal will be a finished gallery wall, and giving the simple printed photograph some much needed attention.




Blacks Online

Source Philadelphia Magazine -

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