It's A Singles Driven Market
I’ve been thinking lately about why our society is losing interest in its photographs, and especially in printing them. At the surface, it seems like an easy answer, we have smart phones. Or, better yet, we have cameras that will make phone calls.
We can each carry tens of thousands of photographs with us in our pockets and purses, at all times. But we don’t print them. Why?
We used to. It used to be that we couldn’t wait to get photos back from being printed. Granted, there was the time you had to wait to see them that no longer exists with digital, but it was different. They represented, and were, a physical way for us to relive the experiences we had. Now we are looking at the experience as it happens, not in real time, but a few seconds behind on a small screen.
Our relationship with photographs has fundamentally changed. They used to be revered. Photos used to be treasured. Now, they are disposable, transient bits of ones and zeros that leave our conscience as soon as the next opportunity to take a selfie comes along. We don’t save our memories anymore.
There is no nostalgia for experiences past.
We delete photos to make more space on our phones, and if we forget to back them up and the phone is ruined, the photos are lost. And we have become ok with that. We accept it as the price of technology. We have traded in nostalgia for, well, really nothing. Our society just relinquished it.
“We live in a singles-driven market, but...I come from the old school making albums.” - Prince
He was speaking, of course, of music, but this perfectly describes the world of images as it is today.
Photographers create complete works of art, not singles. Images are not complete until they are printed. To equate it to other art forms, Monet could have left Waterlilieson the palette, but where would that have gotten him? What good is a song that is never heard? Art only reaches its full potential once it is put in to its proper form for consumption.
Consumers now go to photographers in search of these treasured bits of data. But that’s all they are. Digital files exist in singularity, and all too often are not brought to fruition once they leave the photographer’s studio.
These memories, whether a child’s birth or graduation, a family photograph, or boudoir images are fleeting and transient in our lives until they are printed and tell their story. Nothing about you is transient.