Do you remember a time when we would drop our film off at the drugstore and eagerly await for it to be processed so that we could relive the memories that we captured? This wasn’t actually that long ago, but to some it may feel like ages. I remember, fondly, being in high school and shooting several rolls of Kodak 400 over a weekend or especially during summer break. This was around the time when one hour photo processing really became popular and accessible. I could hardly stand to wait for those 60 minutes to pass by and I typically spent them in the store, hoping they’d get done early. There was nothing like getting that card stock envelope filled with moments passed. I’d only make it to my car before I had to rip into them. I’d sit in the parking lot like a little kid on Christmas morning. Flipping through those glossy prints, revisiting the weekend, while the air filled with the smell of freshly processed pictures… it’s hard to not feel a bit nostalgic when I think about it. Some were truly terrible; a thumb, a shot of the ceiling or feet, eyes closed or terrifyingly red, and lots were blurry, but I loved them all the same and still have shoe boxes full. But why did we stop? What changed?
In the digital era that we all live in, it’s easier, now more than ever, to take and share photos. The average person has 630 photos and 24 videos stored on their mobile device (which even seems a little low because I have over 3,000). It is estimated that people will take 1.2 trillion photos with their smart phones this year. But how many of those photos actually get printed and make it on the walls? When we can look directly at an image and be sure that no one has their eyes closed, there’s no thumb in front of the lens, or that the image is sharp as a tack, it seems like we would be handpicking which images we’d like printed and then doing so, and doing so often! Babies born any time in the last ten years can essentially see their entire lives by going through their parent’s camera rolls on their smartphones, but many can’t see a single photo of themselves hanging on the walls of their home. It’s worth mentioning that while our eyes aren’t changing how they see, there has been drastic changes in how computers read data. Can anyone say “floppy disc”? So, while the images themselves can be seen in any format, there’s a high chance that how our data is read, transferred, and stored will continue to change and evolve. While having images on your device is great, there’s no saying that 10, 15, or even 50 years from now they will be accessible to those children, their children, and their grand children. Because of this, it seems obvious that printing your pictures is the safest way to keep them archived.
Two of my grandparents recently passed away and there were no belongings of theirs more valuable than their pictures. Going through them was like taking a trip back in time. Of all their worldly possessions, these were the most treasured and wanted. I remember sitting with my cousins, around my grandma’s dining room table, going through her photos albums. We laughed. We cried. We took pictures of pictures. These albums were a fast pass ticket straight back in time. We saw our entire extended family grow from just my grandma and grandpa to a family with six kids that became twelve, then twenty plus grandkids, and then ten plus great grandchildren. We witnessed their entire legacy come to life, from the very start. Of all of them, one of my favorites was a portrait of my grandmother’s sisters, before she was even born. I can’t help but think that if these weren’t processed, but in their negative format, there would have been quite a bit of searching around to find someplace to actually get these developed, if any. We may have never had the opportunity to visit those cherished moments we had with our grandparents if they hadn’t taken the time to get their images processed. While years and years of albums may seem cumbersome, I can’t help but be thankful that this was a priority to my grandparents and that they chose with intention to take and print photographs of their lives.
Studies have shown that children who see portraits of themselves, or them with their family, in print and on shelves or on the walls of their home have drastically higher self esteem than those who do not. This is a no-brainer to me. When a picture is hung on a wall it says to the subject, “you are loved”, “you are wanted”, “you belong”. I think it’s easy to forget how impactful it is to feel important enough to have your picture hung on a wall, or put up on a shelf, like a masterpiece in a museum. What a beautiful thing it is to be able to fill up your child with love and reassurance, even if subconsciously, every time they walk down the hall or into the living room where they see your pictures. How beautiful it is to know that years after you’ve left this earth, your great grandchildren will know how important their family has always been to you when they go through old photographs or even ask for the canvas family portrait or newborn portrait that was once hanging on your walls. How incredibly beautiful it is that this is something I am able to give to my clients! This is an honor that is not lost on me and something I take very seriously. After all, your family and children, they are your legacy, they are your impact on the world.
You will notice in my collections that while they are available, digital files are not my main offering nor are they the main item that I intend for you to take when you walk away from your time with me. It is my goal to cover your walls and fill your heart, not your hard drive and desk drawer. I don’t want to add to your stack of discs, but I do want to add to your stack of coffee table books. I want to create lasting memories for you that you can look back on daily and that your children will see often. This is why I choose print. You and your family are worth it to me. Your legacy is worth printing.