“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind
PRINTING FAMILY PICTURES
A strange thing happens to me when I see a printed photograph of someone on a wall. And an even stranger thing when I hold one. For the briefest moment, I’m transfixed. A tiny seizure. This is true even if I have no familial connection to the person in the photograph.
Typically, we’re so used to seeing images on screens these days that we become increasingly detached from any kind of emotional response to the content of the image.
We become separated from the significance of the content of the image as a consequence of another artificial layer between us and the subject in the photograph. The screen diminishes, obscures and trivialises, as it delivers.
And there’s such a proliferation of photographic images that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, that we become fogged to the substance of the subject.
I really don’t want to get into the debate about social media and our ever-increasing detachment from ‘reality’, our loss of identity, or our sense of who/what we really are and where we’ve come from – our ‘screen-life’, if you like.
The debate about detachment and disconnection from each other as a society is well evidenced, well documented and demonstrable.
The irony that you’re probably (statistically speaking) reading this on a mobile phone of some sort or another – you’ll certainly be reading it from a screen – is not lost on me.
And why should you care? You have all your family photos on your phone. And they’re probably backed up somewhere too…
THE PRINT Vs. THE CLOUD
Until about 5 years ago, my sister had all of her family photos backed up on an external hard drive (kids, husband, special occasions, you know, the kind of stuff you really want to keep hold of). That hard drive failed and couldn’t be recovered – all of those pictures are now gone. For good.
“But we have The Cloud”, you say.
But don’t rely on digital storage to keep precious photographs safe. File formats change over time and digital files can (and do) become corrupted. Sometimes they can be recovered, sometimes not. The risk increases as time goes by. Even Google’s vice president Vint Cerf warned that the instability of digital storage/formats/operating systems means that millions of digital images will be permanently lost in time (links to articles at the bottom of the page).
THE PRINT Vs. THE SCREEN
So, at the risk of over-egging the pudding, it’s not just about the inevitability of obsolete, defunct image file formats and data corruption.
The way we look at pictures and experience images is as subject to context as the way we listen to music (The Flaming Lips live at The Astoria, 2002…mind altering) or read books (‘I liked the film but the book was so much better’).
Print your favourite picture of someone you love, whether they’re still with you or not. Compare what happens in your heart when you hold that photograph in your hands to when you look at that picture on a screen.
If you don’t notice the difference I’ll eat my hat.
So if you’re hoping that your children (and your children’s children) will always have photos of your family’s future-past, then think about how you keep the pictures that are most meaningful to you and will certainly come to mean a great deal to them.
Print the photos you love.
My name is Will Bazlinton, I am a Bournemouth, Dorset based photographer, specialising in documentary wedding, family and portrait photography. Click here to see more of my wedding portfolio, my family portfolio and my portrait portfolio. To inquire about my rates and availability, call me on 07928 365362, email me at [email protected] or fill out the contact form.