The Power of Printing

I often find myself creating articles and videos pertaining to tips, tutorials, gear reviews, and the more technical aspects of Landscape Photography, so today I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to talk about the more important side of Landscape Photography, the part about the power and meaning behind a photograph.

In the fast paced, rat race of a modern world it’s easy to find yourself face down, nose pressed against an iPhone, while the world passes by. What have you missed while you were entranced by the small pocket-sized screen? That’s the thing about missing things, you never know quite what you’ve missed. That’s why I’ve made it a policy of mine in the past couple years to try and not miss things. Might seem silly and impossible, and perhaps it is, but I think it’s worth trying. Anyways, back to the iphone. So you’re nose down in your iphone and you catch a glimpse of a beautiful sunset out of the corner of your eye. You haven’t missed it just yet. You take a quick picture with your phone, open up the Instagram app on your phone, and post the sunset #beautiful. Your best friend is at home sitting on their couch, nose down in their phone, when they come across this beautiful sunset picture that you’ve posted. They comment with an emoji and #planetearth. Several other friends stumble across the quick sunset snap, bringing the instagram post’s like count to 72. How many of those 72 people experienced that sunset? How many of those 72 people took a moment and felt like they were there? I’m not sure, but I am sure of one thing. If our world is anything, it’s digital.

Mountain range at sunset under a brilliant pink sky.
‘Cotton Candy’ Limited Edition of 50

The origin of photography, as most people know, was obviously anything but digital. Photography today is almost entirely digital. The process of taking a photograph is digital and the process of consuming a photograph is digital. Now, I’m not so interested in the digital aspect of taking a photograph, as I believe digital cameras have allowed leaps and bounds to be made in the field of landscape photography; however, I am interested in the digital consumption of photography. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a frequent user of Instagram. I enjoy seeing other photographer’s work, seeing old friends and their new adventures, and life moments that I otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. However, lately I’ve found myself pondering the consumption of my own photography and what is being achieved by mass amounts of digital consumption.

My answer to this pondering question was simple, what’s the simplest form that my work can be consumed. The answer to me was print. So, I’ve started printing my work more, and focusing on allowing others to also experience my work by print. The first time I saw one of my photographs as a large format print I smiled. I genuinely smiled. Being able to relive that quiet, calm, serene sunrise was invaluable. That’s something I’ve never experienced from a digital photograph, not even when it’s my own. Prints are moving, they’re art, they’ve been brought to life.

‘Winter’s Morning’ Limited Edition of 30

The feeling and emotion evoked from a single print is shocking. But perhaps it’s only shocking because we spend so much of our lives consumed by a digital world. This has been a fairly short article, but I want to take a second to wrap up a few thoughts and takeaways. The first being the transition from digital to real. A print takes a digital image from the back of my camera and brings it to life in the real world. I can see it, touch it, and relive that memory all over again. The print is real, it brings out real emotion and real memories, something digital images can never do. The second being the process of printing. The time it takes to capture an image and post it to Instagram is a matter of seconds. By contrast, it’s a long and detailed process to prepare an image for print, ensuring that every last color and detail will be perfectly replicated. It takes multiple proofs to ensure that the digital copy has been brought to life and resembles that memory that you won’t soon forget. It’s a slow and deliberate process. I believe this rings true for the majority of life, take your time and be deliberate, enjoy it, there’s no need to rush. Lastly, printing is a gift. It’s a way to share your work with others. It takes seconds to digitally share an image. It takes weeks to share a print. Not only are you giving them a photograph, but you’re giving them something real, something that you can tangibly understand the emotion, work, and effort that has gone into it. In a digitally controlled world, there’s a shocking power that comes with printing.

I hope you enjoyed that article, something a little different than what I usually post. If you did enjoy it and are curious about printing, feel free to check out my website where I host my gallery of limited edition museum quality prints. Again, thanks so much for reading and be sure to check back for new articles here or on my website, and new tutorials on my YouTube Channel. Talk to you all again soon!

Fine Art Landscape Photographer in Charlotte, NC mattgashley.com

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