When was the last time you printed a photo? It may take you a moment or two to come up with an answer; I know it did for me. I ordered my first print in two years today and that’s just sad when you think about it. This is my lifeblood; my passion and I have not made a print in years. But in my defense I’ve moved a couple of times in that time and my other issue is which one do you decide upon to print?
I have taken literally thousands of images in this time frame, some look like total crap and I wouldn’t print them even if I had to, while others are simply stunning and I marvel at them every time I see them. So what’s the issue? I have no defense, just lazy I guess.
So I wondered if I don’t print and I shoot on a somewhat regular basis there has to be millions of people who are in the same boat. In the past decade or so photography has become rather disposable because everyone has a camera with them all of the time and EVERYONE thinks they are a photographer because they can add three filters to a photo of their food to make it look good. But those are pictures those are bits of data floating around on the web. Ever wonder how many photos are taken every day? According to Google, in 2014 we took 1.8 billion photos a day, I’m going to say we are well above two billion today, which means that we take nearly a trillion photos a year and yet how many of those are ever printed? Are the days of prints and slides gone forever? I heard this point brought up the other day when I asked the question and I was told, why should I print a photo I have all of my pictures on my phone and if I want to look at them I just open the app.
The other night I watched a movie on Netflix called Kodachrome and there is a line in that movie from Ed Harris when his son says; you know you would save us a lot of hassle if you would just shoot digital; Harris replies; have you ever felt a pair of fake boobs? That’s what digital is. Although I get the analogy and there is some truth to it, digital has afforded us some amazing opportunities that we could not have envisioned 20 years ago. With that being said there is nothing cooler than seeing your images come to life and holding your completed print for the very first time. When I started I learned on film, I learned to develop in a darkroom with black and white film and it was the coolest thing to me.
I remember my Grandfather and on occasion my Father would shoot Kodachrome, which was made by now defunct Kodak and it came in only one speed ISO 64 and its only slides, but the thing that made this film so amazing was the fantastic color that it produced. And if you’re of a certain age Paul Simon wrote a song about this although as the story goes he didn’t realize at the time he wrote it there was a film named this. The song became an appreciation of the things in life that color our world and how we remember things.
When I brought this topic up in the newsroom the other day someone asked how do you decide which photo to print, because I take a ton of photos every day. I go about things differently than I think some people do, I look at the photos that mean something to me, the photos that move me and the memory that comes with that photo. I decided to print my photo I took while visiting Arlington National Cemetary of the Riderless Horse passing under the arch. This is an honor that is considered to be the highest one can receive, the first time this was used was at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral. The horse follows the caisson and the boots are turned backwards in the stirrups to symbolize the commander looking back at his troops one final time. I this print made big, because a small print simply wouldn’t do it justice. I can’t wait for it to arrive.