I agree with the idea that pictures should be printed, not just emailed or posted online in low resolution. I don’t charge as much for albums as I should, because I love the idea that clients will be able to flip through pages of my photos – that they’ll sit on the coffee table, or the shelf next to a favorite novel.
I believe digital photography makes quantity easy to capture and share, but quality work still cries for hard copy.
Now, I won’t deny that photographers have their own reasons to advocating the notion that photos were meant to be printed, handled (within reason) and shared.
This concept has increasingly taken hold as the vast amount of origination is digital and the potential to share digitally become universal.
Honestly, I suspect it’s simply a ruse to sell expensive prints and albums.
Whether I’m working far away or near Hunter NY as a wedding photographer or photographing a reunion, or portraits – chances are a stack of glossy 8x10s is not the end goal. A lot of my work is shared electronically, via Facebook or other social media.
BUT – I also look at photography as art that’s meant to be displayed. I was only slightly surprised to learn that as early as the 1850s photographs of painted works of art were being hung as art – a tidbit I picked up on my recent visit to the Albany Institute of History and Art.
“Captured Moments 170 Years of Photography from the Albany Institute,” includes example of this, but also examples of the artistic mundane – shots of industry in recent antiquity – machine shops, canal works, bridges being built, soda jerks (why does it seem every shot of soda jerks looks like I’ve seen it before?), paving machines (I get it. I photographed a paving machine around 2010), the Albany Billiard Ball factory!
What some may view as documentarian work product, I see as art – and surely the curators at the institute agree, judging by the many gallery walls they’re covering through May 21 with samples from their collection.
Among them are examples of a range of technologies spanning the history of black-and-white, and color processes, short of digital photography.
When deciding whether to click the shutter, I tend to say – “yes, always.”
You never know when the photograph you’re capturing might be the last of its kind – like circus elephants.
Whatever you may feel about the subject, and personally I’m all for the end of elephant exploitation, seeing an image of them on the streets of Albany is impressive – and the chance to see it again outside of a photograph, is surely gone.
Above and beyond that enormous example, is my belief that every individual and every subject is one-of-a-kind.
Your family portraits will include folks that look like your family – not someone else’s.
Your reunion of friends won’t be like anyone else’s. I’m sure of it.
Your portrait is a picture of you and won’t likely look like a portrait of anyone else (unless, perhaps, you’re a 1930s soda jerk).
Your wedding will be unique.
You’re one of a kind and your photos should be too.
And they should be printed and displayed – at least some of them…