For the very first time my work was real…
Several months ago I purchased my own professional grade printer, high quality paper, and inks. I talked my wife into the purchase more for our personal work than for our clients. You see, up until this point in our photography journey we hadn’t made a single physical print to hang up in our own home – not even from our own wedding photos! Let me be clear here, we’ve been married almost 5 years and haven’t had a single one of my pictures on our walls in those 5 years! I’d imagine this is sort of unheard of in the photography world and any photographers that may read this will probably shame me for saying, but it is true all the same.
You see, up until this point we’ve really seen no point in printing anything. I mean, we have our iPhones, our iPads, our several computers, and all sorts of other digital technology to display our photos on. Why would we need anything in print? What’s the point right?
Well, that all changed the moment I printed that first photograph. The photograph was of Union Station from when we visited Washington DC. It was a nice “contrasty” black and white image, and I chose the image to more or less test the printer to see the quality of prints it could create. When the supplied sample matte paper came out it was warm to the touch but the ink was totally dry. I held it in my hands and I was astonished by the feelings that rushed through my body. It was as if I had seen my work for the very first time!
I tell my wife that the experience was sort of a magical one for me. For the first time my work was real. It was more than a data file on my computer; it was a finished piece of artwork. (I stared at it for almost an hour…lol.)
… And Now I’m Addicted!
My wife and I are professional photographers, so it’s kind of expected that we are supposed to like printed artwork. But I’ve got to say we are addicted to it now. I’ve got prints of my favorite images hanging all over my office and spreading to the rest of the walls of our house!
Since seeing my first print, I’ve learned a few things about printed images that I’d like to quickly share.
Prints Have Character
You can quickly tell which photograph is most popular by simply looking for the finger smudges or torn edging. You can tell that a photograph has been around awhile and cherished by how much the colors have faded and if there are any wrinkles. These little things add character to a photograph and make it a living piece of work. By “living” I mean, it’s a piece that is always changing and having things added to it. The photograph almost starts a life of it’s own as soon as it’s birthed from the printer. I think that each photograph has a story to tell from its life. For instance, a photographed that is favored, wears quickly because it is shared and held my many. Maybe that photograph brought many tears or laughter along its journey; which is shown in the moisture stains and smudges.
Prints Can Captivate You
Have you ever gotten lost in an image? Gazed into it and wondered what the author was thinking as they released the shutter; or what the subjects must have been doing right before the photograph was taken? I do this often now. I like to look through my grand mothers picture collection and imagine scenarios. I think to myself, “What were their lives where like way back then?” I’ve noticed that I tend to loose myself in the photograph more often now. I can look at an image and be gone to the world for 20 minutes or more sometimes. The point here is that if we let it, a print can captivate our imaginations and stir our hearts.
Prints Bring People Together
Probably the best thing about a printed photograph is the fact that it can bring people together. I love looking through the images that Rachel and I have taken on our travels. They bring back memories that we are able to share together. It’s almost as if we are one person sometimes, feeling, seeing, and thinking the same thing. What I’ve noticed especially about looking through our photographs together is that we become more connected. Every time we look back on our journeys, we walk away learning something about each other. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry, but the experience is always a blessing.