I began my career (using the word “career” loosely) as a photographer at 16. Only shooting with very mediocre digital point and shoots gifted by family or whatever else. I started taking my photos seriously around the age of 19, and picked up shooting film shortly after that. Before then I never once even considered printing a photo of mine. Why would I?
In the digital age a photograph’s lifespan is only as important as the amount of likes it garners on the internet. From the moment the image is captured it is posted online and nearly forgotten about, just posted for a fleeting moment of interaction with people we don’t really even know. As a 28-year-old, I fondly remember the days of looking through my parents’ old photo albums, harkening back to a time we went to the beach or holidays at my Nanny’s house. With this all being said I can tell you there is still a tiny gleam of hope for us. Once I began to really delve deeper into the film world I learned about zines and how people used them to share their work in a tangible form. You know, how we used to do things before the internet? When stock was placed in having someone else’s art in your own two hands. Letting something that someone else created with their soul and passion take space in your home. I am a firm believer that a photo does not reach its final form until it is printed onto a tangible medium. This being said I needed to see for myself what it felt like for my parents when they first got prints back of photos they shot months before. What was it like to sit down with a coffee and throw the prints into an album? I needed to experience that feeling you get when you look back at a photo print from years ago and have the memory come alive. Well since I made that first batch of prints and laid them out into a photo album I picked up from a department store I haven’t looked back. At the end of each month I pick out my favorite photos that I’ve shot and have them printed as 4x6s. I grab the most recent incomplete album (I have 2 full 240 photo albums so far) and head to whatever coffee shop I’m feeling that day. I’ll order a coffee, take a seat and meticulously lay out the photos in the album. Matching colors, themes and compositions throughout each spread (the albums I get house 6 photos per full page spread, get those if you can).
Believe me when I tell you there is no greater feeling than laying out all of your photos across the table and going through them as you fill each page. One photo more alive than the next as you hold them in your hands before they find their home in your book. I look forward to this ritual just as much as I do shooting the photos themselves. It brings closure to a lot of meaningful memories and creates a window into the past for you to look into whenever you please. If you care about your photos, by not printing your work you are doing yourself a serious disservice. So the next time you get some film developed or scroll through your phones camera roll, pick out some of your favorite photos and have them printed. Looking at photos on a screen will never be the same.