How many hundreds or thousands of digital images do you currently have stored on your computer or on your smartphone? And how many of these have you printed as real photographs or in a photo book? In fact when was the last time you held a printed photo in your hands?
Never before in life have we taken as many photos as we do today. And I’m not just talking about people like myself with a special passion for photography. Everybody takes photos all the time!
And yet it seems like photos aren’t that important to people anymore. We no longer print them. Instead we scroll through hundreds of images on our smartphones or on the computer, we share them online and we send them to friends and family. But that’s it. We have become so used to digitizing everything that we believe we no longer need actual printed photos. Digital images are even free. So why bother to pay for prints?
If you want to keep your photos forever in order to be able to show your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren the story of their family through photographs – just like you have probably been able to with your own story by browsing through old family albums – you NEED to print them. Some day sooner or later your jpg files will be worth nothing. Just think about the old floppy discs.
The digital world is changing so fast and digital products – including image files – should never be considered as permanent or long lasting. The way we digitize everything in our lives today is – in my opinion – scary. Books, magazines, newspapers, movies, music, letters and (especially) photographs have gone from being tangible items in our bags, on our tables, in our drawers, on our bookshelves into being physically non-existent files of data stored on a computer, on the internet or on our smartphones.
Scientists are already talking about how our 21st century could become a “digital dark age” or “information black hole” because of the risk that future generations won’t be able to access all the information which is only stored digitally.
Digital files are great for online use and as an extra back up for printed photos, but they are not real photographs. And trust me: The possibility of something bad happening to a print is a lot smaller than the possibility of loosing a digital file.
If you don’t print your photos, you can be almost 100% certain that some day – probably sooner than later – they will be gone forever and there will be nothing or very little left for future generations to look at.
So print your photos. And choose quality over quantity. Better to have 20 photos in print which you absolutely love, and which you can look at every single day in your home instead of having 50 files stuck on a computer.
Prints are forever – digital files are not.