One of the magical elements of photography has been lost in the modern digital age. These days almost everyone has a camera, the rapid technological developments from such a large variety of vendors has pushed the price of the digital camera all the way down to the gutter. Which is why now almost everyone has access to great image creation tools but most seem to be completely oblivious to how lucky we actually are.
Looking back to when I first started with my Canon 1000D (my very first DSLR kit), which I got for something around the $1400 mark, now days the equivalent camera with vast improvements to the feature set and image quality would maybe set you back $550 or so...... That's a massive price drop 5-6 years down the track.
But with all these great tools at everyone's disposal, what is it we are actually doing with them? What is it we are creating and what is the end goal? Apart from a select few, most I see are simply posting their images to social media giants: G+, Facebook or maybe specialised sites like 500px. Is the digital form really the only way you want your images to be experienced? Has the print died?
Because we live in such a digital world and frequently experience our surroundings through our laptops and cellphones I fear the walls in our homes are destined to become bare, barren, cold and sterile. Is this really the environment we want to live in? with most experiences digital?
Maybe you are like me and feel that your work is destined for a little more than another 'like' or comment in the digital realm. Consider this, have you ever found yourself completely lost in a digital image where time seems to stand still and you fall in love? I did not thinks so, this type of behaviour can typically only be observed in galleries which you guessed it..... contain PRINTS!!
I am 100% guilty of flicking endlessly through photo websites which left me completely unsatisfied image after image as they pop up on screen. Deep down I just don't feel a digital image is complete. There is something to be said when a artist decides that all creative steps are complete and puts ink on paper passing their credit card over the counter to place the order. Or maybe you are fortunate enough to have your own means of printing and like me get mesmerised by the sound of fine art paper sliding through the rollers getting stained with colour.
Even with my first camera the Canon 1000D my end goal was always the print. I used cheap photo stores and warehouse print jobs to make my first album (which I still have, a humbling reminder of where I came from). As my print knowledge grew and my passion for photography, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and invest in my own tools to guarantee not only the colour reproduction but also to allow paper types and texture experimentation. There is no one fit consumable to meet all image types which is what all the local stores seem to force on us.....
Working towards a print from the start completely changes your mentality and approach to the creative process. I dare you to try it, if you went out on every shoot and instead of the digital realm being the end game, decide to make a print, I bet your attention to detail will highten and in the long run sharpen your skills as a photographer. No longer will you be thinking this digital image will make a great blog post or its just something to satisfy the fans on facebook, you can join me and say hand on heart, "I am now working for myself and the walls in my house". Your social media and blog posts will be so much stronger for it!!
I encourage you to give it a try, you will find new light and inspiration in your craft I guarantee it. Start shooting for print today !!