The chances are high if you are reading this article that you are a visual artist to some degree. Maybe you have years of shooting under your belt, having started off shooting film and familiar with the printing process. On the flip side, perhaps the popularity and accessibility of digital shooting inspired you to take a deeper interest in photography and filmmaking. You may even be an artist who strictly uses your smartphone as a tool, yielding results that beg viewers to exclaim “that takes better pictures than my real camera!” With so many moments being captured digitally and shared virtually these days the popularity of printing and giving life to pictures outside of the digital realm has taken a nose dive. Here are 7 things you get to experience when you print your images:
Signing Your Work
Have your experienced countless hours of thinking how to take that singular picture or how to tell a story that just won’t get out of your head? The money and effort it takes you to pull off your unique vision shouldn’t end by posting it on the interwebs. Printing an image onto fine art archival paper and signing your work of art can generate great satisfaction and act as a symbol of the culmination of hard work it took creating it.
Hosting an Art Exchange
Do you have amazingly talented friends whose work you enjoy immensely but may exceed your budget when it comes to decorating? Do you want an excuse to throw a party? Host an Art Exchange! Those in attendance are required to print multiple prints of just one work of art, whether it be a photograph, movie still, or photo of any other medium. Once printed, mount them to a piece of white cardstock at which point they can be further embellished upon, or not. The amount of editions that should be made are dependent on the amount of guests attending the party. Once everyone arrives, let the trading begin. This is just one way to build a community of strong relationships with nearby artists, as well as an opportunity for your work to be seen by an even greater scope of creatives in your immediate area who may know people who can help accelerate your own artistic endeavors. Feeling ambitions? Frame all the new art you just collected and make an accent wall in your home to show off how extraordinary your friends are!
“In Quoting Others, We Cite Ourselves” – Julio Cortazar
Quotes really resonate with some people, inspiring all kinds of responses big and small. You can potentially target a more specific audience and a stronger, more directional meaning to your work by pairing text with imagery that resonates with you and your vision. This can be occasional, limited edition work that is printed and sold or given as thoughtful gifts. Quotes can be digitally included or even silk screened on top of your print for that hand-crafted touch.
Showing What You’re Made Of
For the portrait and wedding photographers, a big part of the business is add-on sales. A growing trend in the market are clients looking only for digital files to later do something with on their own. Make sure that the work you want to be creating and selling as deliverables are made tangible for your clients during your initial meetings. Having albums, large matted prints, and print boxes for clients to see and touch initiates more excitement about not only their session or event, but what they will be bringing home after all is said and done!!
Archiving Your Work
It is well known that hard drives do not last forever. If you are smart, you will have all your files, including digital images, backed up in several places, i.e a second external hard drive and cloud services. A more semi-permanent solution to help save and cherish your digital memories is to print and store them in temperature controlled boxes. Similar to when negatives are saved, this will allow you to be rest assured that your keepsake images will last for generations to come. Read more about the importance of archiving your digital files here .
Picture A Day – Then What?
Have you committed to the challenge of shooting one picture a day for an entire year, or are you involved in photo groups who dole out weekly themes? And then what?! Imagine what it would look like if each picture were printed and creatively hung as a body of work! Whether it is in your home, a gallery installation, or elsewhere – hanging large groups of pictures are impactful and allow viewers to take part in and understand (if only slightly) your unique perspective of the world.
Printed pictures can be a catalyst for many other types of artistic mediums, such as photo transfers, screen prints, and even watercolor paintings. Similar to words on a page, once pictures are printed you will see a slew of details that were easily overlooked if viewed solely on a screen. These details can inspire you, teach you, and be the basis for pushing your creativity someplace you hadn’t even thought you wanted to take it!
There was a funny satirical article floating through the web recently highlighting the fact that kids nowadays don’t know what photographs are and those who did wondered why they were worth printing. Of course this is still a far stretch from the truth. However, it stands as a reminder of just some of the reasons we as a creative community should keep up the photographic tradition of printing. It pushes you as an artist and can act as period to a statement, it can create and maintain a sense of community, it can inspire, be a reminder, and maybe just propel you to a place you never knew you were headed. So take the challenge and for a moment focus your creative energies on printing those pictures you never got around to!