Why Print?


Funny how things repeatedly appear in your world and make you pay attention....this last few weeks it's been about printing....


I am often asked whether I print my photos or not. The answer is "Yes"

These days I print for two reasons - one for myself to frame and hang on the wall and, two, for the work I sell in local galleries and online.

They are very different reasons but I treat them the same. Both types of photos need to come out of the printer the way I want them to. And that's where it gets tricky - getting what I see on my screen to come out of the printer. It involves some technology with paper profiles and understanding a load of jargon. That could easily, for me as a non tech person at heart, make the whole printing process somewhat stressful and tedious.

But it doesn't - simply because the feeling when the print comes out right is fantastic! And sometimes when experimenting with different papers it can be a surprise! I discovered the brilliance of printing on matt papers rather than the traditional glossy ones a year or so ago.

There's so much fun to be had with different textured papers and the variety of shades of white! And so exciting when you hit on an amazing combination of photo and paper. I recently printed the photo of the thrift flowers on a watercolour style paper and I really didn't expect it to come alive on the paper in the way that it did! And prints are a tactile, real thing in my hand. And, even if I am printing for someone else, I still get a thrill seeing the physical print.

Recently whilst preparing for a session on flashguns I watched the American photographer Joel Grimes talk about the joy of printing. Like a small child with a painting they had done at school he held up a photo to his audience and announced with glee; "Two hours ago this didn't exist!" And I completely got how he felt - the act of creating something from nothing - how can that not be exciting!

I can still remember the feeling when I first saw some of my work printed A1 size for a museum exhibition. I knew they were mine but they looked so much more than I expected. So don't be afraid to print big sometimes!

In today's digital age we don't have to print to see our images and we are missing out on the feel of holding that image in our hands, seeing the life it has on the paper that no screen can ever replicate. It may not be exactly the same as the days of the darkroom and literally seeing the photo appear before your eyes but it is no less valid. There are so many new and exciting ways to print photos these days and some great online companies that help you do this.

So despite the technical aspects of it, I will continue to print. That might be a print out of my printer to frame or it might be creating a photo book of memories. It's an important part of the creative process for me. Do I print enough? Maybe not, but there is only so much space in which to hang/display things!!

So get printing whether you do it yourself or you use a printing service. After all if we didn't print photos Ed Sheeran would never have been able to sing....

So you can keep me Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans

from Photograph: 2014

Favourites - Fotospeed papers, Epson Printers, Blurb photobooks....to name just a few....

#photographs #printing #technology #sarahstephensphotography

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All images © Sarah Holmes 2020 No reproduction without prior permission.