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Why We Print: Jen Hillenga

Author: The Printique Team

There’s a story, a modern-day parable, about a man who had a large art collection.  This man had a son who went off to war and unfortunately perished overseas.  The father of this young soldier cherished the military portrait of his son above all his other possessions.  When the man died, the photography of his son in his uniform came up first at auction. The bidding declined as no one saw the value in this single photograph when held up against priceless works of art…$100…$50…no takers….$20, $10…silence.  Finally, to move the auction along, someone bid $5…going once, going twice, SOLD!  The auctioneer set down his gavel and closed the auction.  The man’s will read that whoever purchased the photograph received the entire collection.
This is how much one image can mean to someone.
Historische Fotos

My mother has a gallery wall of antique portraits of our family.  It is a visual family tree and along with it come the stories of the lives of the people in the images. It is one of my favorite parts of my mother’s home.  Without the photos, I’m not sure I would even know many of the stories of my ancestors.
Top view image of vintage woman toilet fashion objects next to blank photo frame on old wooden table. Ready for photography montage
We are a culture obsessed with photographs.  We have a camera in our hands at all times via our phones.  We photograph moments on a continual basis….our lives, vacations, pets, even our morning coffee.  But we are losing our memories to convenience.
When was the last time you printed your photos?  When was the last time you created a book of photographs or hung an image in your home to create art from your Instagram photos? If our images stay stored in our devices, what happens when the technology of these devices fails?
As a professional photographer, I used to archive digital photos on CDs and DVDs.  Now my current Mac laptop doesn’t have a DVD reader.  Thankfully I have back these images up via hard drive, but I shudder to think of all the images I have lost over the years of my personal work simply because I didn’t organize and print my work.  I have both film and digital shots that I can remember but have been lost in the shuffle over the years and now will only be remembered by me…but not by prosperity.  Those images will die with me.

We should be printing what is important to us.  We should be printing our vacations, children, pets, experiences….our lives.  We should be documenting the moments we live in…we should be celebrating them.  With the ease of online ordering, design software, idea-generating websites, photo-sharing platforms, and cameras at our fingertips, we have no excuse for not leaving a legacy.
When historians look back at this point in history, will they be able to find your story?  Or will they simply find an outdated digital device?

We’d love to hear why you print. Email us at lovepix@printique.com with the reasons why you print. We look forward to reading your stories.