This morning I was going to my 5:30am spin class at the YMCA. Yes...I exercise at the crack of dawn, but that's not the point.
As I was walking to class, I passed a group of older people looking at photographs. One of the women had printed a bunch of 5x7 pictures of her family and was sharing them with her friends at the Y while they drank coffee and gossiped. :-)
As I walked by, the woman pointed at the print and said, "This is my grandson; look how handsome he is...and this is his baby."
I smiled. The contrast is funny to me because we still do that, we just point at our phones or social media as we sit around passing the time. The difference that struck me was that each person would hold the photo in their hand and take time to really look at it before they passed it to next person. It was a bit more of a real moment for some reason...more tangible, and a lot different from scrolling on your phone.
Photography is evidence we exist in this world; yet, we have lost the importance and priority of printing and sometimes we avoid the camera all together.
All of my packages include digital files and professional prints matted and put in a black box that you take home. I love this because it so diverse. You can frame the images and create a wall gallery; you can display them on easels and change it out over the year; you can give some of the prints to loved ones; or keep the box under your bed, on your coffee table or a book shelf.
This idea sort of came from my dad who has an old black suitcase full of old family images from multiple generations. He took the time to go through all the old family photos and write on the back of them the name of every person in photo. These photographs date back several generations, as in all the way back to my 4th great grandparents! Also on the back he had written where the photo was taken, the year and what they may have done for a living or who they were married too.
Stored in an old black suitcase under the bed (no doubt), we have all of these black and white prints of generations with their information on the back; preserving our family history and memory. It's evidence they existed.
I've taken the time to look through them, study them, to imagine what they must have been liked. Because of these prints, I know who they are and I can hold their image in my hand making it very real to me.
Not too long ago, a girl was telling me about the loss of her grandmother. She said her grandfather was tearing the house apart looking for this one photograph of her grandmother that he loved. He wanted to hold it, touch it, look at it, experience his beloved once again.
I often ask people: when something happens to you do they think people are going to go through all your hard drives to find all your pictures and cherished moments? Typically the answer is No. Do you think they will cherish and keep a box of images of you that they find. Typically the answer is yes.
When a woman leaves my studio she almost always hugs me and says some version of: "thank you, I really needed this", "Thank you for making me feel beautiful" or "Every woman needs to experience this.", and she hasn't even seen a print yet.
What I witness is that the feeling she has when she leaves impacts her in a positive way and has a ripple affect in her life. The photograph then becomes the memory of that day she experienced, and those prints will out live her.
I hope we can go back to printing and existing in photographs for ourselves, for our families, for our legacy.
Just this week, I had a man come in to see his prints from his personal branding session. He's retiring from a 30 year career and starting something new. He showed his images to his 85 year old mother who looked at them, cried happy tears and asked if she could have all of his images. He said yes, of course! And his kids loved them too. When he shared that with me, I was overcome with joy and gratitude.
In our home we have fine art prints on the wall and we print our iPhone photos and hang instant film on a wire that takes up a wall. We want to honor our friends, our family and our life. It deserves to be captured and cherished.
Pictured below are the prints and folio boxes that I offer. I also wanted to show you our Wall of Joy at home. :) We have goofy snap chat pictures, family pictures, travel photos, nephews, friends, my cat Olive, and one of my ver own glamour photos!
The point is, start printing. Your life is worth celebrating even if you keep in a box under the bed.