With a background in social media optimization, Kathleen is an expert at helping people grow audiences on the internet.
"It's really weird, photography has never been so popular, but it's getting destroyed. There have never been so many photographs taken, but photography is dying."
— Antonio Olmos, award-winning photojournalist
Impact of the Digital Era on Photography
More people than ever now own digital cameras, and almost everyone has a cell phone with capabilities to capture pictures. Despite this HUGE increase in the quantity of photographs being captured, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of photos actually being printed.
Has Print Photography Died?
World-renowned photographer Antonio Olmos has long been one of the most outspoken artists in regards to the decline of print.
"People taking photographs of their food in a restaurant instead of eating it," says Olmos. "People taking photographs of the Mona Lisa instead of looking at it. I think the iPhone is taking people away from their experiences."
There was a time when photography was a precise art. You only had so many shots per roll to capture the perfect image. Once captured, you had to meticulously work on developing the negatives in the darkroom, hoping to wind up with the image you envisioned in your head.
It was a long, drawn-out process, but it was also a miraculous art form that few were able to truly master.
Once the digital camera was created, photography as an art form changed dramatically. Instead of having a limited number of chances to get the perfect shot, photographers could just fire away, hoping for the best.
"Without being demeaning, it has given a huge amount of power to not very good photographers," says documentary photographer Paul Margolis.
The Psychological Impact of Printing Your Photographs
Print photography isn't just about preserving our past. It's importance goes so much deeper. Did you know that prints actually impact us psychologically?
Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed social worker and a professional photographer located in St. Louis has been a huge advocate for print photography as it relates to mental health.
“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced.“
In an effort to increase awareness of the importance of prints on children's self-esteem, Cathy offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journalism for self-reflection and self-exploration.
Cathy Lander-Goldberg isn't the only one advocating for printing photographs as a way to foster self-worth in children. David Krauss, a licensed psychologist from Ohio has also been a strong print advocate. He co-authored “Photo Therapy and Mental Health” in 1983—a founding text for the use of photography in therapy.
“I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit...My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall,” says Krauss.
Seeing prints of you and your family “says we love you and care about you. It says that you’re important.”
One more person to mention when it comes to prints, therapy, and self-esteem is Judy Weiser, who has spent more than 20 years using personal photography to enhance the therapeutic treatment process of her clients.
Weiser created a therapeutic model referred to as photo-therapy. Photo-therapy uses images to help people recognize their own value, their own identity, and their own self-worth.
She writes, “Photographs are footprints of our minds, mirrors of our lives, reflections from our hearts, frozen memories that we can hold in silent stillness in our hands — forever if we wish. They document not only where we have been, but also point the way to where we might perhaps be heading, whether or not we realize this yet ourselves…”
"Statistics show that a staggering 53% of consumers haven’t printed a photo in more than 12 months, 70% don't have photo albums, and 42% no longer print photos at all. We are essentially raising a generation conditioned to not print photographs."
— 2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America
The Print Movement: An Awareness Campaign Promoting Prints
PRINT. The Movement is an awareness campaign designed to show how much value print photography has in our lives.
Even though more people are taking photos today than ever before, very few of those actually end up as tangible prints. That is why PRINT. The Movement was created.
PRINT. is backed by some of the most accredited organizations and most highly-acclaimed photographers around the world, including PPA (the Professional Photographers of America), world famous photographer Anne Geddes, Canon, Nikon, Kodak, and more.
The organization helps promote the value and importance of printing photographs in our world today.
"42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone decades from now? Why? They no longer print photographs or create photo albums. In fact, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone."
— 2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America
The Print Movement: Bringing Awareness to the Value of Prints
Top Five Reasons to Print Your Photos
- Prints are a proven way to increase a child's self-esteem. When children see portraits of themselves displayed in their home, they feel loved, they feel valued, and it has a huge impact on their mental health.
- Hard drives are not fool-proof. Like all technology, they are bound to die eventually. When this happens, you could potentially lose years of photographs you can never get back.
- Prints are tangible. Being able to hold a print gives it so much more power than seeing it on a screen.
- Printing your photographs shows people what you value. A large wall portrait of your family is so much more powerful than a digital image locked up on a hard drive.
- Technology is changing so fast that many photographs taken just a few years ago are stored on devices that are no longer supported. What this means is that memories captured today are not guaranteed to be around tomorrow.
© 2017 Kathleen Odenthal
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on December 25, 2017:
Thank you all for your wonderful comments! Im so glad to hear such positive feedback!
Please feel free to share this with your friends so we can spread the importance of prints!
Michelle E Simon on December 23, 2017:
I print my clients' photos- this is one thing I've always valued- I'm very stingy with 'files'- there are so many nice mediums to print on now in addition to traditional print paper it's so much fun!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 21, 2017:
Truly awesome. For me it is like a book versus some electronic thing. I love my home and especially my office with tons of printed pieces.
My family loves to give framed pictures for birthdays etc. My eldest son is our best photographer. As he has an eye, probably from being a very good sketch artist.
Please do not let them take my Sony Cyber Shot - I know not very professional but I like it.
Rinki Manya from Hyderabad, India on December 19, 2017:
Nice Hub, Kathleen. As far as I remember I never printed a photograph.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 18, 2017:
Kathleen, this is an eye-opener! I'm 100% guilty of storing my photos on my computer. In fact, I only take photos with my digital camera so I can upload them to my hard drive!
I do occasionally print them to send in cards, etc., but for the most part I rely on electronic storage. Shame on me!
I have drawers full of photos that I took before the electronic age became a part of life. My only question is, where on earth will I keep thousands of pix I've stored in my hard drive's photo library?
Very good article, Kathleen!