Is printing your images still necessary?

Is printing your images still necessary?

Hello, everyone! I just wanted to share a quick thought on this beautiful… cloudy, windy, rainy Friday I don’t remember who said it, I don’t remember the exact quote but it went something like this an image is not an image until it becomes a print or that the print is the final step for an image something across these lines and that was definitely true back then when images had to be created in a darkroom in the form of prints is it still true today? does it still hold true nowadays with today’s technology and the many ways that we have to share our art? I don’t think that’s longer the case, a lot of people will disagree with me on this but I believe that’s because we tend to idealize and romanticize the ways of the past in my opinion, art has a goal, has a purpose, and it’s to inspire people, to make them feel something to make them think, to share an idea this purpose can only be fulfilled if that piece of art is seen by someone that’s why I tend to believe that we are living in the golden age of photography and art in general this is not to dismiss the tools or the techniques of the past, of course I myself print my images, I sell them on my website by the way, the current image of the month is this one that you are seeing here it’s called “Cascade” and you can check it out by following the link in the description Printing your images is awesome, and I really encourage you to do it if you haven’t but don’t feel like you have to, don’t feel like you must in order to create meaningful art most of my images are never going to be printed they’ll live only on my website, on Instagram, here on YouTube, in a digital form I don’t think less of them, they are still my work, my art and they still fulfill their purpose we photographers are very lucky to be living in this day and age because of all the tools that are available to us that we can afford, back in the day not everyone could afford to be a photographer, and today most people can it’s not only limited to the tools but all the options that we have when it comes to share our work Of course, I’m speaking my truth here, this is just my opinion I’d love to know what you think about this, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this so please leave a comment down below with your opinion thank you so much for watching, and see you in the next one!

21 thoughts on “Is printing your images still necessary?

  1. Very interesting reflexion I haven't thought about. I totally agree with you in this sentence: "art has a goal….and it's to inspire people, to make them fell someting, to make them think, to shear an idea". But I desagree with you in this one: "we are living in the golden age of photography and art in general". Have you read The Iliad? Virgil's Aeneid? Plato? Don Quixote? Hamlet?… Could you find something similar in our golden age? Something similar to Velázquez, Picasso, Rubens? Beethoven, Bach, Wagner? Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo?….

  2. I think a print on paper in your hand is always nicer than on a screen…and of course the type of paper can enhance the photo in a way that a screen can not..

  3. I agree this is indeed the golden age of photography. Digital cameras and displays make photography much more accessible than ever before. There is a increase in noise as well, but that's to be expected. Overall there is going to be more good or interesting work than without digital methods (similar for my field of digital cartography). But I do think the best of what we all make is often best appreciated once it has been printed. I would never print everything I make and even shots I really like I only care to see on screen because that's how they work best. But my favorite shots are always those that work better once printed. Maybe this is just a remnant of my own beginnings on photography, before digital existed, when everything was printed. I even wish I could still print contact sheets!

    One way to do a lot of printing with out having to promote all of your shots to the level of matted framed enlargement is to print a small photo book of your favorite images from each year. I'm doing this now for a set of all BWs from the past couple of years (inspired the book you recommended The Land). To me there is nothing like seeing the final image on paper. But as you say, this is my truth! Cheers.

  4. I only print images that are special and that I want to hang where I will see them. Printing a image that I’m just sticking in a drawer is a total waste of resources. Just my personal opinion.

  5. but what if the final user has a crappy monitor or a crappy connection, or bad monitor settings so the image is totally altered? The perception here is the key and I suppose too many variables there are in the digital world can ruin your work of art. Your concept is sound and the visual experience is possible in the digital world, but you should give to the user also the monitor settings 🙂 The same you do in an art gallery deciding where to put lights, etc.

  6. These are two different things. Printing your images is necessary / helpful for yourself. Uploading them is necessary to show them to other people. The days are gone when you could only hang them on a gallery wall.

  7. Para mí la guinda del pastel es cuando veo una imagen mía impresa .Llamame antiguo pero prefiero leer un libro en papel que hacerlo en el ebook aunque pese menos y pueda llevar varias novelas en su memoria .Un amigo publicó un libro en formato digital y corrí a imprimirlo,menos mal que solo tenía 100 páginas…..En foto me pasa parecido ,pero si en pantalla puedes tener todas las que quieras al pasar al papel te tiene que restringir de tal manera que solo caben las que te parecen las mejores ,toma nota de la sintaxis de la frase ,las que te parecen…..yo al menos ,si quiero hacer un número limitado de copias , para la selección final ,recavo la ayuda de alguien que con mirada fría me aparte las menos buenas .Como con los hijos muchas veces no sabes cual dejar fuera….

  8. Without question, a print on good paper is always vastly more detailed and rich than any screen image. Of course there is a huge place for screen images in this day but I find Instagram a wholly unsatisfying way to display images. This may have more to do with my age than anything, but I have exhibited and sold prints and find there is no comparison; prints are much more satisfying. I was a painter and artist in other media before becoming a photographer. I love real, tactile media. Digital paintings will also never compare with oil on canvas. Doesn't mean they can't be shared digitally, but there is no comparison.

  9. I would correct that to ”.. until it is worth to print”. I’m printing in darkroom an 99% of myshots are not worth to print. Why? Because they aren’t good or enough interesting. Maybe scanned to web they are OK but easy to swipe away and forget. So I think we should aim for photographs that are worth to print.

  10. You are a snapshooter and I understand your point of view about prints. Real photographers, first have to imagine how the shot is going to look on the wall and then if they are satisfied press the shutter.You are just a bad example sharing your opinion on how people don't need to print.Tweeter,Facebook,Instagram blah,blah,blah .Please everybody here check this video: . This is what photography is all about getting the print hanging on the wall.

  11. Adrian, a thought-provoking topic and one I'm considering right now. There is, I believe, no absolute right answer; it depends. Many of us pay a lot of money for really good cameras and lenses. We travel, at significant expense, to places near and far. We learn the craft and also the art of taking a technically good and (hopefully) meaningful photograph. We spend hours developing film, scanning negatives and/or digitally post-processing. Then we post a tiny jpeg onto Instagram (or some other social media platform) which will be viewed, liked (or not) and consigned to history in a matter of a few seconds. Some post onto their own websites and/or photography forums. As amateurs, if that is the sum of our ambitions, then fine. However, for me, there is nothing nicer than to have a print on a wall / shelf of someone / something / somewhere that means a lot to me. That said, I come from an age where film was the only medium and, therefore, printing photographs / producing and showing slides were the only options. Then there are screens. How many have a good, colour-calibrated screen upon which to view photos? How many only ever view photographs and other art via their smartphone screen? It feels to me that we should be celebrating all the technical opportunities that are available to us and producing / sharing our prints – rather than engaging in what I see as a race to the bottom for the sake of convenience and instant gratification. I believe that people should go to exhibitions and art galleries and experience what art can truly be before settling for the lowest common denominator. Just my thoughts. Others will, no doubt, disagree.

  12. You don't need to mat a photo to get something out of a seeing a print. A print is another way to experience the image and I think it's worth printing 8x10s of most photos. It's a way to communicate to yourself, as an artist, so you can take better photos in the future. Another method of artistic feedback. Evaluating your images as a print is very different from seeing them on a screen.

  13. If your image is not worth printing it means it's garbage. Probably only 5% of my images worth printing but it what makes me happy. Just imagine for a minute that you are not printing of any of your work. Would you feel yourself as a photographer? Probably not… nightmare. I just cannot imagine that some folks are going to pay $50, $100, $200 or even more for the picture just to look at it on 5" smartphone. Funny, isn't it? I guess it answers your question.

  14. I think it's important to display my images in digital and print form. I make prints from digital negatives, salt prints, platinum and palladium prints, gravures and so on… The print is the final version of the image as I can make subtle adjustments while printing. 

    There is no doubt that a scanned version of these prints seen on a screen does not compare to seeing the prints themselves. But, only a few people will see the actual prints… many more will see the scanned version on a screen. I'd like more to see the print, but I'm happy that those that can't see the print can see the next best thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *