The Printed Image
I love living in the digital age! It's amazing! We can do more than ever before, and especially in photographic terms, we don't have to worry about the time and cost of film processing. The trouble is, as result of not needing to print our images, we often don't. This is a shame, because printed images are so much nicer to look at, and not only that, they give the image more value than when it's just on screen. Especially since mobile devices are playing a bigger part in how we view the world. Images are not only very rarely printed anymore, they're also getting smaller!
I've had my own studio for a little over a year now, and when I first moved in, it was very clinical. The walls were bare and empty, and there was nothing of "me" in it. I've since started to clutter the place up with various bits and pieces I've accumulated over time. The other thing is that I've started making more prints to display on the wall. In my office area I have a few framed images, and have done for some time, but I wanted something a bit more changeable. I wanted to be able to just run off a print, and then stick it on the wall, without having to worry about framing, sizes, mounts, making holes etc etc.
The simplest way to do this was with a little bit of DIY and a few very cheap bits from a local hardware store. With this simple arrangement I can now chop and change as often as I like, and very easily.
So why bother? Well seeing your images printed enables you to look at them from a far more creative point of view. When we put an image on screen nowadays, we're always too quick to zoom in to 100% and check how sharp it is, and how much noise there is etc etc. Why? 99.999% of the time, no one else will ever see it like that! So if no one is ever gonna see it at 100%, what does it matter?
I was retouching recently, and was getting frustrated at not being able to get the skin looking as good as I wanted (whilst still keeping it look like skin), but you know what? When I printed them, they looked awesome. And that's the thing, with digital we're now getting too close to our work, and not seeing the big picture!
I had the pleasure of meeting award winning photographer Tim Flach last year. Tim has an interesting approach to post processing his images. He prints them off big, and then displays them in his studio for up to 6 weeks! It's only then that he's looked at them enough times to know what needs to be done to them. Obviously this is quite extreme, and I for one don't have the time or the patience to look at my work for 6 weeks... and nor do my clients! However, it does further emphasise that the printed photograph gives you more than the same image on screen.
So step away from the zoom tool, print your images. Then put them up on the wall, stand back and really look at them!