I love prints, ask anyone and they’ll tell you “That bloke loves a print” and you know what, they’re right, I do love a print. Photography for me started after my first son was born and like all new parents we took a gazillion pictures of the little fella. Now not all of these were worth printing, in fact for every image I printed of him there are probably 60 identical images sat on a hard drive, but the printing of any of these would render it immediately better than anything left stored on the computer. There’s something about holding an image in your hands, physically being able to see you work in the flesh that brings it to another level. Now I’m not saying everything you print will be special, but I believe any image you feel is special should be printed. If you love an image, whether it be of your family or part of your portfolio, you should definitely get it printed. Treat it to a physical existence, the more you do the more you’ll come to appreciate your work. I know that sounds romantic and sentimental and its supposed to, photography is an art and you’re meant to love your art!
I know a lot of people are drawn to screens and monitors to view photos, its cheaper to buy an enormous monitor to display every picture you’ve ever taken than it is to have an enormous print of all of those images. However I feel displaying images on screens loses some of their value. In a world where digital technology is so easily available and more importantly cheap, I think people see printing as an unnecessary expense and therefore discount it as an old thing to do. I disagree with this thinking, I love prints. You can take an image up so many levels with print and framing combinations. If you think adding an Instagram filter improves an image, try printing on different papers, materials and combine that with the amazing options available from the framing world. You’ll see how reactions to your work go from ‘yea, that’s pretty cool’ to ‘Oh my god that’s awesome’. I recently wrote a blog post about a print I had made which was printed on Aluminium, yep Aluminium, a picture printed on metal, its incredible whats available.
The options from printers add to the display of your work. If you’re a photographer and you don’t get things printed, I implore you to do it, and don’t be cheap about it, don’t cop out and get a 6×4 printed at a super market. Ask your photographer friends who’d they’d recommend. Get the same image printed on a variety of papers and materials and see the differences for yourself. Display it, stick it in a frame and nail to the wall, look at it every day and enjoy it, like you’re supposed to. It’s art, it’s your art and it deserves to be seen!
People have a very limited attention span these days, how many times have you checked your phone since you started reading this? My point is when all it takes to flick through your work is the tap of a button, a repetitive easy motion of dismissing whats in front of you as ‘just another picture’. Now imagine someone hands you their portfolio, a big A2 leather bound folder, how quickly do you think you’d flick through the images, would you just hold it by the spine and thumb your way through it? unlikely. You’d most probably set it down gently and slowly pour your attention over the pages as you turn them delicately. This action of slowly turning the pages makes people pay more attention to what they’re viewing and if the people viewing the portfolio are perspective clients then you’re going to want your work to have the highest value possible, and you won’t get that from a screen.