Updated: Jan 16
When was the last time you sat at your computer, opened up a folder of your family pictures and looked through them?
Weeks? Maybe months? If I’m honest with myself I would say years!
I do, however, have printed and framed photographs on my walls that I look at all the time. I never get tired of them. They bring back many happy memories.
They make me smile. Every. Single. Day.
I often step up close – while I’m pulling on a pair of jeans in the bedroom, pausing with a tray in hand in the kitchen, or passing through the lounge with a cup of tea – to study some small detail. A particular smile on my daughter’s face, the dress she was wearing, my husband’s arm entwined with mine.
They fill me with a sense of love that a digital file could never give. And that is why it is so important to print your photographs.
Make your house a home
Printed pictures help to make your house a home. When you visit your parents’ homes, especially if they live farther away, do you go round and look at all the art on their walls? Or do you find yourself studying all the pictures of family they have on display? That Christmas the whole family came together, the day you graduated, your first child, that gorgeous picture of your little one you bought and sent as a present.
Putting photographs up on the walls is a visual way of showing children just how much you love them. They probably won’t ever say much about it, but the minute you move it or take it down and replace it with something else you can guarantee they will be asking about it.
Feel a connection
Photographs are meant for paper not screens. Don’t underestimate the power of touching your photographs. It creates a sense of connection you can never get from a digital file or touching a computer screen.
Even when I’m ordering prints or wall art for a client I get so excited when they arrive. I love to sift through them, hold them up close, far away, study the details, spread them out on the bed.
A photograph isn’t entirely a photograph until you hold the printed product in your hand. Only then you can understand its power.
Create family history
How do you feel when one of your parents is sorting through some old papers and comes across an old black and white photograph of a great-grandparent? I always feel a slight sense of awe, when I touch the photograph. I feel as though I’m reaching back through time to a real person.
My next reaction is always I want it, or a copy of it. I want to take it home, frame it, and put it up on the wall somewhere.
Remember, the wall art and albums you create now, will not only bring you a lot of pleasure, they too will one day make their way down to future generations. Imagine yourself, as a grandparent, one day showing a family album to a grandchild to show them what their mum or dad was like as a child. Would you regret having made that investment of time or money to create that album?
Much more likely you will regret that in the past 30 years you somehow never got round to making that family album you always planned on doing.
When photos suddenly become important
Anybody who has lost a loved one will understand just how important photos suddenly become when they are gone. You always wish you had more.
When my dad died we looked through every photo we could find of him and lamented the fact there weren’t more from recent times. My mum often says to me she wishes having professional photographs taken was something that had been on their radar.
Hanging right next to my desk I have an old photo of my dad, in his handsome youth leaning causally on a sports car. It is printed and mounted in a frame he made. I love that picture!
Digitals won’t last forever
What happened to floppy discs? Who still uses compact discs? And who knows how long USB sticks will be around for? What would it mean to you if your computer suddenly displayed a fatal error message when you tried to open a file from the hard drive?
It’s hard to imagine now but digital files won’t last forever. Don’t underestimate the permanence of a printed photograph.
Does your family have a photograph of a great-grandparent, or even a great-great-grandparent? It may have been taken over 100 years ago but here it is, still around today. Floppy discs lasted for less than 40 years.
The problem with digital files is that we don’t value them until it’s too late.
Thinking of having some family photographs taken?
Here are ten questions you should ask before hiring a family photographer.
Who is Edith Leigh?
I am a contemporary lifestyle photographer who specialises in natural, authentic family photography to create eye-catching, heart-felt Fine Art and albums for your home.
Based in Dunedin, New Zealand, my style is fun and energetic with a touch of the classical thrown in. I love to capture real life, simple moments and portraits that tell a story.
You can find out more about me here.