We, as a society produce more photographs than ever before. This year, it is estimated that billions of humans armed with smartphones will take some 1.2 trillion pictures. Many of them will be shared on social media, but more will simply be forgotten. Hardly any will make the transition into the physical world, becoming blots of ink that magically form into an image on a piece of paper, canvas, wood, or metal — a print.
The reasons for this are very understandable and there’s no point fighting progress, but nor should we ignore the value of a print. We may no longer print every photo but this can actually be a good thing for printing. It is now about quality rather than quantity, and the pictures we choose to print deserve the best treatment. Honestly, there has never been a better time to print than now.
Rather than bemoan the decline in quantity of photos printed, let’s celebrate the fact that digital has given us new technology and new avenues for producing high quality prints. We have the tools today to make better prints than ever before. Printing for archival reasons is a logical thing to do, but the real reason you should start printing is emotional. When done correctly, seeing a high quality print of an image that means something to you is completely intangible. There is just something about holding a finished print in your hands that is infinitely more satisfying than seeing your photo on a screen.