why do i print?

 
File-Apr-11.jpeg
 

We live in a digital world. Anyone can have their photos at their fingertips, wherever they are, from just about any device these days. So why do I preach to my clients to print their photos? Believe it or not, it's not about making money.

When I was a little girl, my parents had a large, old suitcase filled with family photos. Some of them date back to the late 1800's. I was fascinated with this as a child. My sister and I used to spend hours spreading those photos out all over the floor, finding faces we recognize and pestering our mom to tell us for the 100th time who the other people were. There were photos in that suitcase so old that even mom didn't know who they were or how we were related. One warm May evening in 1999, my family decided to pack up and leave the house to escape a tornado warning. Living in Tornado Alley, we had done this many times before. If we had enough time, we always grabbed a few important things before piling into the car. Mom always took that suitcase, without fail. I am so glad that she did because that night, Oklahoma's largest ever recorded tornado (at the time), an F5, ripped through our community and destroyed our home. We learned first hand what it meant to lose everything. We stayed in a hotel with only the clothes on our backs, a dog, and an old suitcase.

Believe it or not, I didn't always know why I wanted to be a photographer. I had to really give it some thought. I love it, but WHY do I love it? When I thought about my fascination with those generations of photographs, I figured out that I was born to document the important moments in people's lives. It is my job to provide my clients with a service, for which they pay me. But my passion, that drives me from one day to the next, is documenting a family legacy. Creating beautiful artwork for you to enjoy now, and also providing a snapshot in time that you can never return to again.

To this day, I still love staring at all those old photos. They fascinate me. Women with pinned back hair and Victorian, high-collared lace dresses, men dressed to the nines to have their picture made. I like to imagine what life was like for them, what they were thinking when the flash fired, what hardships they had faced in that time period, and even what they were like as people. You've seen movies and TV shows set in the 1800's but to hold a photo of your own relative in your hands that really is over 100 years old, it somehow connects you to their life and that time. The photos are old, brittle and precious to me. I want to show them to my own future children one day.

Aside from the old photographs of distant relatives I never knew, there are photos of my grandparents who passed away years ago. There are photos of my mom when she was pregnant with me, smiling and so happy. There are photos of cousins I haven't seen since I was a kid. There are photos of my dad. He passed away a few years ago and I miss him dearly. What will your family have left of you when you're gone? We are not promised tomorrow.

Digital media is volatile. Technology is a necessary evil in my line of work. I have had hard drives fail more than once and it's not a pleasant experience. Not to mention the fact that digital media changes so frequently. I doubt that 50 years from now, you'll be asking your grandkids to come have a look at your beautiful JPEGs. ;)

My photography is my art. I take it seriously. Don't get me wrong, it's lighthearted and fun but it's extremely personal. Nothing matters more than making a client happy. It's because I take my work so personally that everything I do is ultimately to see a smile on my clients' faces. That makes all the hard work more than worth it.