The photography communities I’m involved with online are mostly of an age where there’s a strong heritage of film photography.
With that comes the viewing medium we’ve grown up with – the photography print.
Now I’m not even talking about anything highfalutin or artsy here. It could be as simple as dog eared family snapshots passed down a couple of (or more) generations that remind of us of fond moments gone by.
For my parents’ generation there was no digital option, there was only the same process most other families followed.
You shot your pictures, dropped your film off at a camera shop or lab, then received a little envelope of prints and negatives anything from one hour to a few days later, usually along with a free film to use next time.
As many reading here I’m sure will attest, viewing an image on a screen doesn’t inspire quite the same emotion or pleasure as thumbing through physical prints.
It could be assumed then that those of us brought up on the print, and well aware of its magic and power, remain firm advocates today, printing our favourite shots with great regularity.
But sadly, that’s not the case – certainly not for me.
As much as I think I like prints (and genuinely do), and want to make more of both my intentional photographs, and family snapshots, it rarely happens.
Even after we invested in a decent printer last year to aid homeschooling (some years after giving away our last printer as it never got used with everything online) and I carefully researched and purchased some quality photographic paper with the aim of making family prints, very few have materialised in the months since.
So what’s going on, what’s stopping me from making prints, when it takes merely a few minutes in the comfort of my own home?
Partly, it’s the volumes I have to choose from.
Even scrolling through last year’s batch of family photos in my Google Photos, there are many hundreds (even as I cull pretty heavily as I go) to look through and select that chosen few worth printing.
The sheer choice overwhelms me (as it does in other areas of life, hence why projects like One Month, One Camera work so well for me).
In addition, it’s what to do with them after they’re printed.
I have a few scattered around our bedroom, tucked under or between books, that don’t really get looked at beyond the first day or two of printing them, as I’m not sure how to display or store them.
We have a considerable number of framed photos in the house already (not so much that it feels over cluttered, but plenty), so I don’t want to either be buying more frames and adding to the collection, or replacing those already hanging.
I could of course keep a set of photos in a shoebox, and dig them out on a rainy day every six months, but again that’s never happened so it’s not really likely to now.
I’ve thought about making photobooks, perhaps one of 20-30 photos to capture the highlights of a year and have in one small, manageable form that can be kept on a shelf and easily viewed at our leisure.
But again it’s not really happened, probably mostly due to that overwhelming choice available.
What I probably need is some kind of plan, a routine, if I am ever going to embrace a pattern of printing photographs.
One where perhaps every month I do sift through the previous month’s photos, edit further so we only have an essential 15 or 20, not sometimes a couple of hundred, then at the end of three months, six months, a year, make a photobook of the best of the best.
How about you? What do you with family photos, and your own intentional photography in terms of prints?
It would be great to hear your views and practices to get some inspiration, please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking.
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