As a child Photography was a lens to the world.
The images in my parents family album would be the catalyst for my love of Photography and my strong belief that a still image can resonate with you in ways that video cannot. Images viewed on a screen have a different quality to them than one that you can touch and hold in your hands. The impact of a printed image is that you don’t need another device to be able to look at it. It stays with you as long as you choose to have it around. Some of my treasured shots of family and friends are scattered around my apartment either on my walls or inserted into books or loose on a side table. They are with me whenever I need them and the best thing is I don’t need to plug anything in to be in their company.
My parents immigrated from Malta to Australia in the post war era and one of the most valuable things in my mothers possession was the photo albums filled with amazing images of family and friends in Malta and in Melbourne during the ‘50’s and 60’s. These images had such an influence on me that I would pour over them and be amazed by shots of my dad on a motorbike or my mum in these amazing dresses or even just the shots of family having a good time. In the end these printed images and the memory of those images is what remains.
How many images have you forgotten about because they live on a hard drive and you can’t be bothered sorting through all the files to go back to your computer to view them. Call me old fashioned, but I still think it’s far easier to pull out an album from a book case than to view images on a computer.
Whilst these days it is very common for us to video everything we do the one thing I don’t like about video is that it is still fleeting and doesn’t give you time for reflection. I have recently delivered some wedding albums to my clients and their reaction and emotional response to seeing the images from their wedding day actually printed has been a heart warming experience. It has reminded me that we should all print our images and become less reliant on viewing everything on a screen. There is nothing more satisfying that flicking through an album of images and taking time to really look at things. It also means that no matter what happens with technology you will always have a least one copy of your image preserved. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard stories from family and friends detailing the sadness of losing images on a phone or hard drive and having no back up.
One of my favourite TV series is Stephen Poliakoff’s ‘Shooting the Past’ it is about an image library that is being taken over by a large company and the collection is going to be split up and sold. The staff work very hard to convince the buyer that the collection is filled with interconnecting stories that can be found through looking at images in the collection. The story telling in this work is brilliant it shows the value of looking at a still image and interpreting the story within.
What is the photographer saying? Why did they take the shot? What is the story?
I wouldn’t classify myself as a documentary photographer but I would say that I like to tell a story through images. I guess this is the attraction to shooting weddings, christenings and events. I wish for one simple thing when I am shooting and that is that my images will depict the essence of what that event entails. My hope is that I am given the opportunity capture those moments that are fleeting, romantic, insightful, spontaneous and most importantly memorable.
I encourage everyone to think about those important moments we have in our lives such as the birth of your first child, your engagement, wedding, a significant birthday or a family reunion. Photography is more than just taking a few snaps it is about framing an image, finding a mood and depicting the day through a series of limited shots that best capture those moments that hopefully you will print one day and pass down from generation to generation.
For me the printing of an image is an opportunity to pick your favourite moment and in a way preserve it for the future. We can’t print everything but it would be nice to think that we try and at least print some of those special moments so they can be passed down to our loved ones from generation to generation.
All images are a moment and a memory captured and preserved for eternity.
Finally, Have you printed anything lately?