Photographs can mean so much more than just a piece of paper. They are moments frozen in time. To many, they are reminders of times past while to some, they are the only remembrance of people long gone and experiences had. Prints, although sometimes torn, creased, faded, or dog-eared bring us back to a certain time or introduce us to people, some of which we may have never even met.
We recently came across a great thought piece by writer and photography satirist Missy Mwac wherein she talks about prints in general. She starts off by telling the story of her late mother who was a florist. Her mom taught her what a bouquet should look and be like — that it shouldn’t just wither after a few shakes during important occasions because after all, they were created for that moment.
Any crooked stem or wilted flower would mean that the florist didn’t put great work in to the flower arrangement. Missy relates that lesson learned from her mother to prints and photography in general. She says that unlike flowers that weren’t meant to last, photographs should be printed and the memories along with them, cherished.
All the pictures being taken. Millions and millions of pictures. And sadly, most of them are being treated just like cut flowers: enjoyed for a few weeks and then… gone.
Missy has a point. What do we take photographs of? Why do we take photos? She makes a point by saying that photographs aren’t just for the moment but rather they’re something tangible we can pass on along the line. May it be to friends, family, or our children since there may come a time when we won’t be there to tell the stories first hand.
It’s safe to say that as a community of film photographers, we get what Missy is trying to say. Sharing our photographs on different social media platforms is good but maybe, sharing them through prints may be better. It kind of makes sense since we, as a community, are not afraid of sharing the joy that comes with a printed photograph. Not only that, we welcome the idea not because it’s romantic but because it’s one of the things we know how to do.
Friends, photographs are NOT just for the moment; they are what we pass down to our children and their children and their children. They are a living record that says:
“I am” “You are” “We were.”
Look at prints as you would something you created with your own hands and not just a byproduct of a convenient system. You put effort, thought, and affection into it and that process alone makes it more personal. Bring back the albums, the little photos on refrigerator doors and dashboards. Send out photos to dear friends from that lovely dinner. Share the joy of the analogue print because very few things can come close to the feeling of knowing that you’re handing out memories in the form of a piece of photographic paper.
Missy ended her article with a beautiful reminder and instead of rambling on, we’ll let her words do it because we couldn’t have possibly said it any better:
There are a lot of things in this world not meant to last…photographs aren’t one of them. Print what you want to preserve.