I believe in photography – but just as much, I believe in photographs. Printed photographs are tangible. We can hold on to them, pass them around, frame them and hang them on a wall. We can make albums to be treasured and looked through by children for years to come. One of my greatest memories as a kid was sitting around with my sisters looking through old photo albums. We relived so many moments and were exposed to others that we weren’t present for.
We can’t touch a file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even be able to find it someday. A digital file is a bit of a mystery – if it’s lost, where did it go. If a drive is damaged what happens to the files? How many people truly back up all their images?
What happened to disc cameras, eight-track tapes, Walkman’s and other technology we thought would last forever? What will our children be looking at in 20 or 30 years? Photographs are special – files are not!
I believe in printing my work professionally. I believe my work is more than a screen saver. Years of studying and perfecting my craft comes down to more than sending files via the internet.
The photographs I create for my clients are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me. It is my work, a lifetime of work that deserves to be printed.
Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a floppy disk, a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portraits? Truthfully, do you know where my wedding pictures are? Yup, on a drive somewhere in a dark drawer.
Like many photographers, I have struggled with bending to the needs or wants of a clientele that is looking for files. But this is what I discovered over the last year – It makes me uncomfortable in the center of my gut to hand over digital files no matter the price. Clients have told me that the DVD is still sitting in a desk and they should have had me make the prints in the first place because they never have time to get to it.
I wonder about those files that were sold… How were they printed? Did the client crop it too tight? Is the color correct? Did they attempt to alter the image? It troubles me because I put so much of myself into my work. And, I have to wonder… am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how to by simply selling intangible files that may never be printed?
For some, it’s easy…. take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk or flash-drive and make a few bucks. I don’t and can’t operate that way – I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.
Here is some interesting information. 42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives, and friends have gone decades from now (based on a survey conducted by the PPA). In addition, reportedly, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone. Statistics show that a staggering 53% of consumers have not printed a photo in more than 12 months, 70% don’t have photo albums, and 42% no longer print photos at all.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that everything from candles, bicycles, and vinyl albums have survived the “disruption” caused by technological advancements. We have to remember the value and importance of printed, and framed photographs in our lives and for the generations after us. Children love to see images of themselves around the house, newlyweds have fond moments when they see their wedding photo on the mantle or walls…all thanks to the power of print.
I’m taking a stand! I am a photographer! Without a doubt, I am passionate about creating photographs – real pictures – printed on professional papers – and made into beautiful albums. I want our children, their children, and future grandchildren looking at and holding onto photographs, not just the latest greatest gadget.
It has taken deep soul searching, a lot of thought and time to define the value of my work. I am taking a stand against selling files (headshots excluded) and taking a strong stand for printing my photographs.
If being a business owner and photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and my values – well then, I’m out.
But, that won’t happen! It won’t because I know there are people and clients who value my work, understand and respect the value I have placed on my work and actually want photographs.
I am Marc Anthony Smith, a professional photographer. I believe in and value photography and the images we leave for generations to come. My work and your portraits will be professionally printed to my standards, they will be available to frame and look at in albums as well as other products…
The portraits I create for you will not solely become a part of your screen saver slide show. I have worked too hard and taken too much pride in my work for that to happen. I will not take the risk that in 20 years we will be a generation of lost photographs.
Here I stand!