There are so many answers to this question, I don’t know where to start!
Over the years in history of photography, the printed product has always been the ‘end game’ something the long process ended with. The last 10 years or so, this last step has been taken away from us as it were! Somehow the digital image has taken place of that last step in the full process of photography. If we didn’t have printed products from the early days and just had rolls of film, how many of us would have access to viewing the images? Not many…only those who know where that old roll of film is…up in your grandparent’s attic in a box somewhere!
We run a risk these days for the future generations, presenting them with ONLY outdated technology – digital images which may or may not be corrupted (ie readable by newer technologies which will have replaced what we have now). 50 years from now, people will be thinking what their parents or grandparents looked like…will you preserve those images 50 years from now in only digital format?? We change our phones every other year, do you have all the pictures backed somewhere else?
Another sobering thought perhaps would be this: we look back at professional photographs taken 50-100 years ago, we admire them for what they were – pieces of art. It took a lot of effort to learn the trade then as there was so much more to it than ‘point and shoot’ those days! Photographers took many years to hone in their skills. These days, the common thinking is that anybody can be a photographer, which is not true. Yes, we now have digital cameras on our phones which take better and better pictures as the years go by but if a camera made someone a photographer then by the same token a having a racing car would make them a racing driver. As we know this is not so – to be good at anything takes years and years of practice…but I digress as its not the point I am trying to make today.
I’ve been thinking…what is the future generation going to remember us by? Will they have images of us??
There is a real chance this generation will grow up without having any professional images of them! All we have is phone snapshots! Previous generations were painted and photographed, always in visible format and displayed on walls with pride. I just think it’s really sad we don’t think ourselves worthy of having at least what our predecessors created – an actual printed image of us, rather than an invisible file on a CD/USB/hard drive, which seems worthless compared to beautiful imagery our grandparents had. They considered themselves worthy of a professional photography, why don’t we?