Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are you printing those photos that are sure to become impossible to access as technology changes?

post #168
        Printing.  OK, why am I taking on a subject that I am actually not very knowledgeable about -- except I have figured out that it is important to do.  Thus my concern today is not how to print but why do it, where to do it, and when.  
        I hope my sweet daughter will forgive me for using her as an example.  She has a wonderful eye.  She sees stuff and catches it with creativity.  On her iPad.  She also has a full time job, a toddler, a teenager, a husband, a home, and many friends.  She manages to find time to eat and sleep as well, and she telephones her parents, bless her heart.  Using a camera and making prints would require more time she doesn't have, so it makes perfect sense that making prints from her camera just isn't in her books these days.  Instead the camera stays on the shelf.  Her photos stay amazing, but unprinted.
        Even were she using the camera, I ask her (and everyone else) what good are those wonderful photos that are on a digital card on some camera that will become obsolete or on some telephone that can fall into the toilet by accident.  What happens when a printed photo is needed, or the image you loved in your head grows dim?  Some lucky people have a designated photo person in the family or they are great story tellers or something.  That helps in the precious memories department.  All the same, even a shoebox full of unlabeled photos is better than nothing. That has been true for decades, but a new awareness of its importance is urgent.
       While we in the world who have some or many photos wait and wonder what to do, a whole generation is being tricked into thinking its photos on line are there forever.  We seem seduced by the illusion that hundreds of images in some cloud are worth more than printing a few of our treasured snaps that over the years we want to hold dear.  Isn't this a failure of imagination?  Isn't it ironic that we are bombarded with images all the time these days yet all the energy goes toward creating throw away images?

        Maybe it's sort of like insisting climate change won't have consequences just because we don't want it to come to that.

       So just print some already.  Choose out your current best images.  Put them on a thumb drive.  Take yourself to a film processor, to one, if possible, that invests in some individual care with your order.  The worker at a machine at a Walmart, for example, has no control over the end color quality.  There's no investment made in inks that won't fade.  If I am going to bother to print something, I want it to last at least a generation.

       It helps a lot to use enough pixels when you make your photo in the first place.

       I know my daughter will have some words of wisdom to bring me back to reality, so I look forward to sharing them soon.

       For many years I have been printing my photos at Murphy's Camera in Lexington.  It may be almost two hours away from my home, but Catherine works there and does their printing.  I want to put in a good and grateful word to her.  She has taught me so much; she has an eye herself and lots of printing experience.  She can usually get an order done in one day, so I go to Murphy's at the start of my big city day and then pick up my order late afternoon, before they close at 5:30, as I head back home.

        I do have a good printer at home, but I haven't taken the time to know reliably how to make it do what I see.  Plus after so many years of working with Catherine, I am spoiled rotten.  What can I say.  Lots of photographers I know insist on doing their own printing, but with all the photos I do for my note cards, I am just thankful that someone else is doing them.  (I came to photography late, and I do almost all color work.  I used to get migraines from strong odors, so I wouldn't have done too well in a dark room situation anyway.)

       NOTE: A couple of years ago on this blog I made a polite plea and reminder for everyone to keep a printed updated photo of one's self in case it is needed for whatever, including sudden unexpected death.  Wouldn't you like to have some say in what is put out there?  Be fair to your friends and family!

        I will be booted out of the blogosphere if I don't add a few photos here, so let's see what I can offer today, all with a holiday connection:

awesome Morehead, Kentucky, Dulcimer Club concert at the Rowan County Public library

in the garden, Denver, CO

in the park, with my granddaughter who is almost 5


a traditional German Christmas tree, at the McLaughlin's, last year, taken with my cell phone....

      more next week - Ann

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