In Praise of Prints

The digital world has revolutionised how photographers take, process and view their images. Fascinated by endless ways of editing and sharing on social media, many photographers almost forgotten about the beauty and power of printing. It is a shame, as prints are permanent, they can easily be shown to others, they don’t need electricity, and most importantly, they represent colours, tones and all other characteristics of the images, as the photographer wishes them to be seen. Preparations for printing often makes us more critical of our work and lead to careful post-processing. Whether it increases our perceived value as a photographer, it may be debated, but holding a physical print in our hands definitely helps with creating better portfolios and as a result, more interesting presentations and exhibitions, as our curating skills develop.

I am a photographer, not a master printer, so all of my images are printed by top professional printing labs. I only print small test prints, to give me an idea how the final print will look like, to help me refine colour and details, and to spot imperfections, before committing to a large size, expensive print. All of my prints are either orders or for exhibitions. If some exhibition images are not sold, I happily hang them at home. For me, ‘hanging them at home’ is an acceptance test. If I am happy to look at the image every day, I know I have done my best. One of the images that I would be very happy to see in my house is ‘Storm Noa’ taken this April. I managed to capture the very precise moment, when the sea thrown all of its might on the sea defences.

One day I hope to be able to print larger images myself, but only when I am confident that I can bring out the full potential of various and complicated images in print. It is going to be a steep learning curve, and sadly at present, I find large printers and inks prohibitively expensive.