‘Are the pictures from California ready? When we were kids, we were taking 24 or 48 pictures during each holiday, and my parents organized a family event after developing them, where all of us sat together, looked at the pictures and remembered moments of the trip. Now we take one thousand pictures (instead of enjoying the trip) and we never look at them’.
This is what my husband said frustrated that two weeks after we came back from our California trip, he still hasn’t seen the pictures (and I took more than one thousand!).
I totally get where he is coming from. It means enjoy the moment, slow down and take less pictures, create something tangible out of it at the end and make an experience from sharing it with others.
I’ve been thinking a lot about printing lately and as a matter of fact I created and printed my first book. It is a travel story about my first trip to Marfa, Texas, with my photography and a text by my travel companion, Elena Sandovici (a friend writer based in Houston, Texas and a fellow Romanian).
If you think of it, my first encounter with professional photography happened while in university, when I took a photography course, and this will reveal how old I am actually :), and I had to go out with a film camera, take one good shot, and come back and develop it. I remember exactly how the photo looked like, it was the (b/w) portrait of an old man dressed in Romanian traditional clothes, sitting, in a public square. I don’t have that print anymore, but I don’t know if I would have such a vivid memory of this photo if it wasn’t a print. Since then I owned and changed many computers, with different storage systems, and most of them failed me. My digital archive only goes back 5 to 7 years ago, the rest of the pictures are on a digital drive that now is not compatible with any computer and is faulted (and it will cost me a little fortune to recover what I have on it). So really, the only pictures I have and I keep checking regularly are the ones that are printed.
I printed the Marfa book with Blurb, and my experience with them was great: the editing tool was easy to use, the website is user friendly and intuitive, the whole platform is so flexible and there are options for a variety of needs. Of course, there is a cost for all this, but quality printing on demand – especially for photography – is not something that will ever be cheap – I guess. And it doesn’t have to be.
At the moment I’m exploring different ways of having my best photos printed, and the most difficult thing is the selection process. How do you choose the photos to be printed, other than the technical quality? Usually the pictures I choose to process mean something to me, regardless of their technical quality, and they are too many. For me this is the hardest part, the selection. Marfa came naturally because it was quite concentrated, but I’d like to print a zine for my one year anniversary in Dallas. I have thousands of pictures. How do I choose what deserves to be printed?
I know it will come, by working on it, but if anyone reached this point of the blog post and has any recommendations and tips I’d love to hear them. Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on printing or see printing projects you have done.
If you are planning to do a book with Blurb and have any questions, I’d be happy to help, just let me know.
Ah Marfa! Nice that I ran across your blog. I’ve just recently heard of Marfa somewhere, somehow. It seemed quite interesting and definitely deserves a print job of it’s own. Oh I know, what a dilemma it is. Printing your photos is your legacy. I suppose it has something to do with how you want to be remembered. Social media postings come and go in the blink of an eye. They have an attention span of seconds. Books and prints are a whole different ballgame. Prints talk to you and reveal their character over time. The printed image is more powerful. It talks to you and other viewers over time. If you’re looking for a great print, I was given this tip for printing larger color photos on a very new and exciting paper. Look at Adorama Pix for Fuji Deep Crystal Matt paper. It has to be a large print, can’t remember how large. First time clients get $10.00 off. Give it a shot with your most prized and colorful print. Personally, I think I’m going to marry that paper. No, I don’t work for Adorama. Your photography is really nice.
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Thank you so much Mitchell, I’m so happy you found this post about Marfa and I hope you will go there one day. It is a special place. Thanks for letting me know about the paper. I’ve printed before at Adorama, in fact I just received one of my orders today, but was not particularly aware of this specific paper. Will definitely check this out. I also printed few months ago a large print (a NYC blue hour cityscape) on metal. That’s quite interesting too. Thanks again for your thoughts, hope I’ll ‘see’ you again around here 🙂