They say prints are dead; it’s all about digital. However, the other day I heard that Polaroid had come out with a brand new camera. No screen. No editing tools. No autofocus. Just a printer that prints with no ink. It’s completely contrary to the current line of cameras: DSLR, compact, phone. And it’s awesome. Photos have taken an ethereal form more recently; they’re taken, posted, and forgotten in a memory card or hard drive. Polaroid’s move is bold and refreshing. Prints are culmination of everything photography: a moment captured and presented in a physical form. In this blog, I’m going to tell you while digital images are great, prints are things you’ll treasure forever.
Prints Last a LONG Time
Hard drives, memory cards, phones: They’re all prone to failure or physical damage. Twenty percent (or 1 out of 5) of hard drives fail after 4 years under normal use. Flash memory starts to become faulty 5 years after first use. Prints on the other hand can stay safe in an album for years. Under the right conditions, the print will stay safely on a wall for decades with only as much as some dust.
Prints Get Remembered
How often do you go through your hard drive or phone to look at a photo you took? How often do you go through your phone to look at old photos? Did you even remember to transfer everything over from your old phone? Even if they’re on your computer they sit silently off in a folder somewhere. Discs are even worse: they’ll probably sit in a drawer somewhere getting scratched up. I’m guilty of such. Prints don’t have these problems. They sit on your wall or bookshelf in a box or album. There’s also something satisfying about holding a photo in your hands, rather than staring at one on a screen.
Social Media vs Physical Media
So you just want to put it on Facebook or Instagram. That’s fine for the most part, but remember that Facebook and Instagram are still companies that could go under and take everything with them (not that I’m betting against them). Not only that, the compression that your photos go through will end up changing the look and quality of the photo. If you take care of your prints, they’ll be with you for a lifetime. No compression or sudden company bankruptcy involved.
The Ever Changing Landscape of Technology
Cameras create digital photos in the form of files, some simple like a jpg, and some complicated like a CR2 RAW. All these files require software; software gets upgraded constantly. Files eventually start to rot. Really. With the advent of new file types and new formats, it might get harder to access those old files. While everything is bound to the rules of time, prints can be stored safely. Call it a physical backup to your digital file.
The Value of a Moment
I touched earlier on how holding a physical print is somehow satisfying. Allow me to elaborate: There’s no putting value on a moment of time. It’s invaluable. Being able to see that moment and hold it in your hands is something that can’t be replicated on a computer screen. You can try holding a monitor, but trust me it’s kinda difficult. Memories are meant to be recalled often. Prints and albums just make them easier to find.
I could go on and on about the great things about prints and why you should get it from a photographer and not just some corner drug store, but that’s for another blog. In any case though, I encourage everyone to get prints of photos, good and bad, professional and amateur. Photos should be treasured. They’re pockets of time frozen on a piece of paper. :]
Have a good weekend!