Print vs. Post: Photographic Magic

What is your definition of magic?

Here is mine: 

A photograph, to me, is an example of pure magic. Not the photos on Facebook or Instagram, no.

But, the physical piece of paper that you can feel, smell and pass down for generations through photo albums that get a little heavier each year.

The same piece of paper that was probably held by your late great grandparents, their fingerprints somewhere in the depths of its texture, is now in your hands.


Undoubtedly, there is something astounding about digitally uploading a photo onto a news feed within seconds of it being taken, to share with family and friends around the globe! Imagine explaining that to someone in the 1800s. They would’ve thought that was magic. 

This whole ‘print vs. post’ topic is indeed debatable. Yet, the psychological and emotional effects of a prolonged period of digital documentation aren’t.

Linda Henkel, a psychologist of Fairfield University in Connecticut says,

“When people rely on technology to remember events, counting on the camera to record it and thus, not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”

The Guardian adds,

“We’re used to the complaint that we’re taking pictures rather than living in the moment, and that makes us experientially poorer. But Henkel’s study seems to go further, suggesting we don’t even remember the stuff we take pictures of, making the snap-happy nature of modern photography doubly mindless.” We can all think of a few 200+ uploads of the same people in different clothes.

Vint Cerf, the Internet pioneer, says,

“Future generations will wonder about us, but they will have great difficulty knowing about us. Historians will tell you that sometimes documents, transactions, images and so on may turn out to have an importance which is not understood for hundreds of years. So failure to preserve them will cause us to lose our perspective”

This isn’t a lecture or an attempt to stop us from uploading photos online. This is just another memory of human storytelling that each of us now has the power to turn into real life again. Our forests need not suffer and neither do our wallets. Balance is key. Photographer, Antonio Olmos puts it well in saying,

“Don’t get me wrong. I love iPhones and Instagram. But what I worry about is that Kodak used to employ 40,000 people in good jobs. What have they been replaced by? Twelve people at Instagram.”

Everyone is a photographer today. Thank heavens for that! With smart phones, photography is at our fingertips and memories can be captured faster now more than ever.

But the next time we think of taking a photograph, let’s take a second to look around the table, see the faces, smell the air and feel the love.

Once the photo is taken, our phone’s job is done. This is where technology is great! Our memory is safe in the memory stick.

What happens next is where change begins.

You’ve printed photographs before, I’m sure. Try it again this holiday season!

Let’s remind our minds and hearts of the feeling of picking up fresh prints from the store....and commit it to memory.

Say cheeeese.

Let’s create magic.


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