Until I was a young adult, a photo was a physical object, often placed in a photo album or pinned on a cork board, maybe even framed and hang in the wall. Sometimes, the photos would be kept inside the envelop given by the photo lab, put away inside a shoe box. I remember, as a kid, those precious moments when we would pick up a photo album from the shelf, and then, sitting on the couch, we would turn those thick pages and laugh about old-fashion poses / outfits / haircuts / decoration - pick the one you prefer.
Then an unmaterial world became more and more important. Internet took a larger & larger place in our lives. And new ways of life, like travelling more, moving more during the day, created new needs & new habits. And new tools came up: smartphones & tablets, allowing us to be connected everywhere & 7/24.
By the time social medias trapped us, we found ourselves sharing photos & videos on a daily basis. And even though I say "photos", I mean digital files. And when I say "sharing", I mean posting on social medias, to whoever is connected at that moment.
Back then, we had to have a camera. Now, we don't actually need one, as most of us own a Swiss-knife phone, this mix of a phone, a camera, an organiser, a directory, a timer and a compass (this is a non-exhaustive list).
Then, we were quite mindful about the photos we were creating as films were not cheap and we had only 24 or 36 poses/chances. Now, as long as our battery is still charged, we can shoot.
Then, we had to go to the photo lab, wait a few days and only then, we got our photos, protected in a special envelop, keeping both photos & films safe. Now, we press the button and we create 1 or 10 images, even videos, instantaneously. And they are kept inside our phone, maybe our computer or our "cloud".
Nowadays, photos are the victims of some kind of "image inflation": the more images we create, the less value they have because the process of creation is much more a reflex than a need: there is no real purpose behind those images. We just create them, we don't go much further. Like we'd keep thousands of undeveloped films.
Were our photos better then than now? No :). But at least, they existed in real life, and their value comes from what they represent but also from that physical existence.
I know, people say that digital images will survive through time; that since digital ages, we always managed to save them, from one kind of support to another one. I really hope so and I will do my best to update my back-up supports.
The extra-investment of time & money to print our images is not only a way of saving up our images from a hard-drive crash. It does one extra-thing: it adds value to our images.
Small efforts for big results:
- go through the thousands of images (8 551 right now for me...)
- delete the bad ones (it creates more free space to take more pictures ahahah)
- select the best ones (use the "favorite" heart-shape to select them)
- find websites or app to send our files too (I'm helping you on that!)
- order what we want and then wait for them to be delivered (it'll feel almost like Christmas!).
What I think (I could almost say "What I feel") is that the experience of looking at an image on a screen can't be compared to the experience of seeing, touching (maybe cropping with scissors & sticking it on the wall with colored masking tape) a printed-out photo. Almost like having a conversation on skype with friends compared to sharing a coffee on a sunny terrace with them, you see?
This is a gift we offer to ourselves, to our kids and the next generations: to be able to hold a photo in our hands & to remember -or discover- the past.
Here are some websites & free phone applications you can print your images out from very easily:
Of course, on all those websites & apps, we can create photo albums too! So don't be shy, print your images out :D!
Enjoy your prints & memories!!