Tangibility is important in photography

Tangibility is important in photography

It would be an understatement saying that photography has changed over the past decade or so. With the immense popularity of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, photography has experienced a bit of a renaissance, especially when it comes to amateur photography. Everybody is snapping photos at an incomprehensible rate, documenting their lives on a second by second basis.

The medium has changed, that is for sure, and people want something different out of their pictures. While many lament the “end of photography”, some see this evolution as a positive development.
However, something is missing from the photos you take on your phone and have stored on your computer, and that “something” is tangibility. Whether it is a professional family beach portrait on Florida’s Emerald Coast or a senior portrait, tangibility takes a photo to that next level, artistically and emotionally.

How many people have images stored on floppy disks and can no longer view them? Who knows when technology will make the current storage media obsolete? Will you remember to convert the images to the latest medium? Having a print, an actual hard copy of the image, is forever. Hang it on a wall, put it in your wallet, or archive it in an album. You can view it whenever you want and so can your grandchildren 30 years from now or your great grandchildren 50 years from now. Will your iPhone still work in 50 years?

Arabella Watters of The Daily Northwestern longs for the day of physical photos, the 4-by-6 glossy double prints. Recently, her local CVS announced that it would no longer be developing physical prints, disappointing the many who frequent the chain pharmacy with their disposable cameras and memory cards. Between that and Kodak filing for bankruptcy, print photography advocates like Watters are a bit worried.
She writes, “It doesn’t mean that print photos should completely disappear. I hate the idea of that happening. Maybe I put far too much stock in nostalgia, but there’s something to be said for the beauty of old-fashioned aesthetics disappearing in the face of capitalistic gains.” Is the changing market leaving “old-fashioned aesthetics” in the dust?
Watters admits that she likes holding photos in her hands, putting them on the wall and covering her desk with them. In her eyes, you cannot replace tangibility. She recounts her time in high school, referring to her younger self as a “photography fiend” immortalizing moments and hording them. In some ways, she is an aesthetic hoarder and proud of it, the thousand print photos from her high school years a breathing testament to her dedication. 
Additionally, her love of print photography began at an early age, as her mom was always snapping photos and hanging them up. For Watters, tangible photos provide a deeper connection to memory. Her appreciation for the “poetic” qualities of photography transcends any era.
Prints certainly provide that extra kick to the heart. At Photocraft by Tom Warriner, we believe in tangibility, but also appreciate the digital side of things. There is certainly a disproportion between a photo on your wall and one on your iPhone. As social media sites evolve, so will the visceral emotion we attach to them. 
Regardless of how you feel about print photography, one thing is clear: our pictures capture the visceral essence of a person, be it a family beach shot, a wedding, or a senior portrait. We can never replace something like that; we are far too human! If you are in the Destin, Rosemary Beach, or Navarre, FL area and need a photographer, contact us!
If you are interested in Watters’ editorial, you can find it here.

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