In a world that’s gone digital mad; a world where everyone carries a camera on their phone 24/7, where online Facebook and Flickr albums make sharing your pictures fast and easy and where iPads and digital photo frames can display all of your photographs on endless rotation in crisp high definition, in this modern world is there any real point in printing your photographs? Isn’t print that just an outdated media? Let’s find out as we suit up our armour, mount our trusty steeds and prepare our weapons for… The Friday Fight-Out!!!
Photographic Memories – Print Vs Digital
In the Red Corner, representing printed media, seemingly with plans to more or less coat all of the walls in our house with our wedding pictures, she works with some of the finest album makers in the world, it’s Dom “The Tog” Bride.
In the Blue Corner, he’s finally reclaimed his ipad from Dom, has become a little bit obsessed with Snapseed and Instagram and hasn’t got around to printing any pictures since 2008 when he printed a huge poster of John Terry missing a penalty in the Champions League Final and sent it to his Chelsea loving Uncle, it’s Matt “The Gormless” Groom.
Dom: Your wedding photographs are something you want to treasure forever. They’re not just some Facebook picture of you and your mates out for a drink, this is the most important day of your lives, something you want to treasure, to keep safe, to show your grandkids in your old age. For me your the photos should be kept safe in something tangible, something beautiful, an album that you can be proud to own. It may be easier to store images digitally but they don’t give you the same feeling and that’s important.
Matt: Images taken digitally somehow seem to belong in a digital world. These days you expect to get a lot more wedding photographs than in the days of film photography and you simply can’t fit them all in a printed album. Photographers tend to provide CD’s or even USB disks in very nice presentation boxes for you to keep them safe and have that feeling of ownership, but at the same time you can (depending on the copyright) stick them up on Facebook and share them with your friends and let people comment on them which is a really amazing thing!
Dom: Printed media doesn’t just mean albums. Having your wedding pictures up on the wall or around the house can be a lovely decoration and an amazing constant reminder of your special day. Having them printed on canvas, blockmounts or photo blocks can make them extra special and also make great presents for family members!
Matt: But digital media can now do the same but with far more flexibility! Smart TVs are now so thin and practically edgeless that they almost look like photo frames and can be mounted on the wall in much the same way. They can be used to run slideshows of all your pictures rather than just one and be a real talking point and can be bought for a similar amount as a decent album. Tablet computers or digital photo frames are also a great way of doing the same kind of thing and there are more things that you can do with them.
Dom: But with the possible exception of digital photo frames you’re not realistically going to have them running all the time and a digital screen somehow just doesn’t have the same feel as a printed image. You can’t touch the page, feel the picture. It’s the same as with a book: Digital e-readers like Kindle’s are brilliant for convenience but most of the time I’d still rather have a worn tatty book that I’ve had for years and can remember the smell of the print; something that I have an emotional attachment to. A digital picture engages just one of the senses: sight. A printed image engages sight, smell and touch and whether we realise it or not our bodies remember each.
Matt: Print fades over time and it can be easily damaged. Imagine how mortified you’d be if anything happened to your wedding album! Keeping them in digital form means you can back them up all over the place!
Dom: But technology also changes at a rate of knots! Not so long ago the high-tech way of displaying your images was to put them on 35mm slides and project them with a slide projector. Now that technology is so old that barely anyone has the means to actually show their slides. Although media is nearly always transferable by some means you have to invest a lot of time keeping up and changing your images before the next big technology advance renders all of your digital images useless!
Matt: That was certainly true of old technology, but it’s much easier to adapt and change a digital image to another format than to change something that’s in print. Photo sharing has now taken on such mass popularity that the technology is always going to have to allow users to easily update their images into new formats or there would be a mass outcry!
Dom: Your wedding photographs are the most important pictures you’ll ever have of you as a couple. Having them in printed form makes them that little bit more special, that album that you bring out to show people on special occasions, that you treasure and that passes through from generation to generation. They can be more than just pictures, they can be a form of decoration, a precious keepsake, a treasure trove of memories.
Matt: Digital media has taken over and that change should be embraced. You can still store your photographs in that precious keepsake box in CD or flash disk form, but having them in that digital form means you can have more images, easily share them and, most importantly, back them up in multiple places to protect them from loss or damage. Using new digital display technology they can still be used for decoration but with more flexibility to display far more images than is possible with analogue images.
We’d love to know where you stand on this argument, to join the debate leave your comment below or find us on twitter!