Why We Print Photographs

I stumbled across this video the other day and ended up watching all of it. It's a great talk on why there are still merits to printing our work in an increasingly all-digital world.

My life is extremely digitized, so much so that even as a graduate student, I went through less than a ream of paper for my work last year. Nonetheless, I find photographic prints ceaselessly intriguing and wonderful. Tangible is cool. That's why I still bring my Instax to things like engagement shoots, and it's always a hit. One of my favorite gifts to give anyone (not just photography friends) is a framed print.

Drew Gurian makes some great points in this lecture. Beyond a print being tangible, it encourages you to spend time with it. It's easy to click or swipe past photos, no matter how brilliant they might be, but a print, by virtue of its physical presence, encourages you to linger on it, to examine it more closely. As he hints at, that can be a huge boon when presenting your work in a professional environment, such as bidding for a job.

Be sure to check out Gurian's website for more of his great work. Do you print your images?

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11 Comments

Anonymous's picture

I've always been adamant about the importance of prints not for clients, but for myself. Color me paranoid, but a fear of mine is a day where we no longer have the means to operate digital devices. My photography work is trivial compared to the fulfillment I've found in being a father. I'm an emotionally driven individual and there are few things more valuable to me than the photos I've taken of my growing family. Physical prints aren't just more satisfying, they are the ultimate photo backup (sorry G-Technology).

Ben Perrin's picture

Does anyone else have the dream of filling their own house with their own prints? I've got a 75 inch print in my living room and unfortunately nothing else but my goal is to get my entire house full of pictures that I'm proud of over the next year or so. There's an added bonus of it giving out some extra inspiration to get better and better again.

Alex Cooke's picture

My dream is to own my own house, design a ton of prints to decorate with, then go on a giant trip to shoot them all.

Ben Perrin's picture

I hear you. It would certainly give more meaning to that trip.

Rob Mynard's picture

It would be great to get to the point where all of your surfaces are covered with images you love, and then try to create work that is better. Everytime you take down an image you're proud of to replace it with one that you're more proud of would be a nice ego boost.

Wayne Denny's picture

I do this, but with a couple rules. No prints of work I've been paid for. If the print is of a friend, I make a print for them as well. And then the other prints have to be from somewhere outside of the state, usually from a vacation. Some of them aren't even the 'best' shots, but something that has a good memory attached to it.

Ben Perrin's picture

I think that is why I'd only prefer to have my images. The feeling of accomplishment and the memory that is attached to it. Doesn't have to be the best image ever, but if it stirs up pleasant memories then you've achieved something special.

Ignace Maenhaut van Lemberge's picture

Filling my house with my own prints is too much of intellectual onanism. At least for me.
My dream is to fill my house with prints from photographers I admire.
If only I could afford that.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I have a rule in my house... Only my photographs hang on the walls.

To that end I've got about 40 images, mostly framed, 20" and behind museum non-reflective glass. Others are board mounted in the hall with a mount behind to give them a floating effect - costs about £10 each by the time I've printed & mounted - so I can swap them over when I have a new picture that I prefer. Guests often pause to see if there are new images.

I have my own printer and I part assemble the frames so that helps with costs.

I still pause every now and then and enjoy old pictures. I'd encourage everyone to do the same with their images.

Ben Perrin's picture

I love the idea of that Lee! You've given me some ideas. Thanks!

Kate Pas's picture

Hey. My opinion: the paper will always be better than the digital picture. When you can touch the picture. I always print my photos. I have a lot of albums for that. Thank you all.