Our Grandma had mountains of photos. Some hung in the hall on rickety frames. Others filled albums lined up neatly on the bookshelf. I wonder how many childhood hours we spent pouring through the imagery, identifying our own merry faces, digging our heels into roots, reading the tall tales of our lives in pictures?
It’s a digital age. That’s what every one says. And it must be true because it’s estimated that over 1.2 trillion photos were taken last year. 85% of those were taken on a mobile device. And less than 5% were actually printed. We are not here to argue with the modern age: we own digital cameras, we have thousands of iphone images, like everyone else. We take bazillions. We love it. Even so, for us at least, this is not the end of printing. It can’t be.
When grandma died we revisited her wall, her albums. We took the photos out and held them in our shaky hands. We recognized them all. We knew them. We felt them. They were our history spelled out in color and kept, like treasure in boxes. Maybe there is a boring story about why printing for archival reasons is the logical thing to do, but it’s not why grandma printed. It’s not why we print.
We print because the pictures hung in a hall ultimately hang in a heart. We want our children to grow up with our stories of love papered to the walls. We want to shout it out. We want them to know where our treasure lies. The images we choose to print are the ones that will solidify as their relics. And someday, we will sit with our own grandchildren, the same way grandma sat with us, and we will tell the tales, we will spin the gold.
Take a trillion photos. But pick a few to print. Hang your heritage up. Fill your chest with treasure. Celebrate your life.