* Originally published 23.09.2011*
Do you remember photographs, you know, real photographs, images on nice textured paper, not a glossy computer screen? – some recent events have made me think about the future, in many more ways than one!
It is now common knowledge that Rachy and I are expecting our first baby and we are ecstatic about the prospect of becoming parents, so much to do and think about on this journey that we have embarked upon.
With a new baby on the way our thoughts turned to making ‘space’ for the little one and of course this means a nursery, so I was tasked with the job of emptying our spare room of everything it contained, no easy task as there was about 10 years of junk in there. Amongst the junk there were also some gems, which partially prompted this blog post – so stay with me!
I always have some very clear ambitions for the photographs I take, maybe a large statement frame, a small desk frame or a collection of images in a beautiful wedding album – ultimately I want the photographs I take to become your family Heirlooms. All the products I supply are hand finished and of a quality that is timeless.
I want future generations to be able to see their ancestors, as a photographer I am a custodian of history, I have a responsibility to ensure we remember the past by recording those special moments in peoples lives. Quite a large responsibility don’t you think?
A few years back my grandmother passed away, she was most certainly my inspiration for becoming a photographer, she was never without a camera and never ran out of film (often to our dismay), yes of course we thought she was a pain in the ass at times but it is only in the last few years we see the value in what she was doing, preserving a part of our lives that otherwise would just be a distant memory.
I have boxes upon boxes of those photographs, each print in an album, clearly labelled on the back with who was in the photo and the date, yes slightly different to the images I produce but each photograph is a real gem of family history.
I have spent quite some time in that room, when I was supposed to be clearing, just looking through the photographs, remembering those days gone by, I freely admit to weeping, as I am doing writing this blog, seeing my late father, holding me as a baby, my mum as a beautiful young lady and mother, my grandparents, brother, cousins and it goes on.
These photographs really are memories we can touch, hold and feel, memories of long hot Summers without a care in the world, Grandma took care of it that those memories would be passed down, as I will pass them down to our baby in years to come. Although grandma was not a professional photographer she showed the signs, getting the shot was all that mattered, even if her beloved grandson was trapped in a stool 😉
Digital photography is brilliant, that is without a doubt but it comes with its risks, especially for our future social history. How many times have you heard someone say they have accidentally deleted images, lost memory cards, hard drive crashes and it goes on. Another thing that I found when I was doing out the room – an image I myself had printed out of my home printer of one of my Godson’s as a baby, faded to such an extent that it was ruined. I will point out that I always use a professional photo lab for my clients photographs!
Another big question – will Facebook still be around for future generations to see the photographs taken on great, great, great grandma’s iPhone?
I found something else in that room and there are images of it below, some reading this blog will have never seen one, some will have seen them but never used them, some, well, some will see the purpose of this blog post simply from the title and the first image – that floppy disc certainly won’t fit in my computer!
OK, I am a realist my clients do want some digital images and for that I can oblige, I offer a set of images resized for Facebook and for email free of charge with any product purchase.
I recently had a portrait client that had bought some images on disc come back to me as the disc had become scratched, luckily I was able to re-produce the disc with my compliments (and stern words 😉 ) the disc had been in the clients possession for quite some time and it had been sat in a drawer with ‘stuff’ piled on it!
Sadly I can’t be with you and your family every step of the way to record your journey, like grandma did for me and my family, she made every frame of her 24 or 36 exposure films count and sent them off to get printed. I can however record and produce images and products that will stand the test of time and become that family heirloom though.
Hopefully this blog post will encourage thought, discs will become obsolete, scratched or corrupted, unframed prints will sit, unloved in a drawer. OK, grandma didn’t get everything framed, they are preserved in albums though, numbered albums at that.
When it comes down to it, I am a business and I will supply what you the client wants as I have a mortgage to pay and soon a little mouth to feed – bare walls do look silly though, what do you think?
I would love to hear your thoughts from a consumer point of view.
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