The Importance of Pictures

I attended a photographer’s conference this past week called Mystic5. All of the speakers were inspirational in their own way, but David Williams really stood out to me.

One of the topics he spoke on was the importance of having tangible prints made – REAL images – not just a series of 1’s and 0’s on a disc somewhere in the back of your closet. In this age of saving images to hard drives instead of printing them and holding them in your hands, David Williams warns that we may have a whole slice of family history with no actual prints, very soon. It was just a half of a generation ago when pictures were taken, prints were made and put into albums and shoe boxes. Negatives were stuffed into a drawer, but they still contained tangible data that could be read many years in the future. That may not be so for your digital images. I have always, and will always include albums in all standard wedding photography packages for this very reason. Though it might seem like an unnecessary added expense to create an album immediately after a pocketbook-emptying wedding day, this may just be what your grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and beyond) flip through when they want to look back at the good old times. How would you go about viewing pictures on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disc? It was only a little over a decade ago that we used those to store information. I can still thumb through my grandparent’s wedding album from 1950, today. Sure the pages are a little yellowed, but the people, faces, and the celebratory feelings of that day still hang on to those pages.

Another photographer, Judy Beedle, who also attended Mystic5 wrote on her blog about how this same concept affected her:

One of my favorite quotes from one of the presenters, the amazing David Williams, is “Put your hand up if you have EVERY picture you want of the ones you love.”

No one raised their hands.

And every time I read it I literally get tears in my eyes. I think of my father. On Feb 2 it will be 5 years since he passed away from Mantle Cell Lymphoma. His death is still a very painful thing for me, and it certainly seems hard to believe I’ve been carrying this pain around for 5 years. But I remember that scramble to find photos of our family to share. That was my task. Logical, considering I’m a photographer. It was painful for me to realize how long it had been since he and I had been in a photo together. I found one from my wedding, the end of the night (we never did the father/daughter dance, sadly), on the dance floor we leaned in and smiled, my lips were bright red from the ring pop I had been eating. It wasn’t a great shot of either of us. And, it was 5 years old.

The last photo I took of my father was on Thanksgiving 2004. He was sick, but we didn’t really know why yet. He sat on the floor leaning against the couch, because it was the only place he could get comfortable. My nephew had climbed up on the couch behind him and was rubbing has hand across the top of my father’s head. He said something and my brother started laughing. I took the picture. My brother said “He just said your head is square!”

We all laughed. We have always teased my father about his square head. I have been accused of having one as well. No surprise there, since I look like him.

It’s not a great photo, but it’s the last one I took of him so I remember that moment.

The point is – Take Pictures and Print Your Images!

Whether they are your snaps from weekend family get-together’, or your wedding day, print them! Technology changes so fast, the only tried and true method of insuring that your images will be readable by future generations is to print them. 

I understand that it’s tough to think about the added expense of an album when budgeting for your wedding, but please consider it a historical record if nothing more. You owe it to your kids, grand kids, and great-grand kids to makes prints and albums of your images.

Walking away with just a disc is not enough.

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3 Responses to “The Importance of Pictures”

  1. Meg says:

    It's so funny to read this on your blog – I totally wrote about the same thing! It's so nice to know that we were all so moved. Amazing.

  2. Live Through the Lens says:

    Thanks Brad! It's so strange that my thoughts and words could mean something to others, but I'm honored to be mentioned in your blog.

    Maybe next year at Mystic we'll actually meet face to face. Til then, let's continue to share. I think that's one of the best ways for all of us photographers to improve!
    Thanks again.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm with you Brad!
    I was at Mystic as well & went on to spend a few days with David (my second time). If you ever get opportunity I urge you to do the same, Mystic was just a small taste of what he brings.


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