The Importance of Print | Rod Wheelans, PAGB Editor

Rod Wheelans MPAGB FRPS MFIAP is a former president of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain and now edits the PAGB e-news

“A photographic print is a tangible object, not just a fleeting image on a screen. By printing images, the art of the photograph becomes a way we can continue to walk into the future with our memories in hand”

– Adorama

Long before the first photograph was developed in 1826, we have tried to preserve images that would capture the essence of life in a moment. People have commissioned artists to create paintings, drawings, sculptures and more, hoping that events, people, and stories would be remembered. Photography today is still the same — we photograph to remember how people, relationships, places, experiences, objects, or events made us feel, and to keep those memories alive for the future. A print achieves this so much better than a digital file!

Do you have a box full of old photographs of past generations? Whether or not you have looked at them recently, your family photo albums are stored safely. Could the same be said for your digital photographs of the last 20 years? Unless you’ve removed images from every old computer and device you’ve owned, there is a chance many of these forgotten moments are lost with no hope of recovery.

Digital photography is a wonderful way to share your photos with your Club and with the world, but it incurs the risk of getting them permanently lost or destroyed due to a myriad of factors that are often out of your control. Changes, disruptions, or failures in technology will not harm printed photographs. Losing a photograph is a horrible experience — prints protect and preserve your memory in a way digital images might not.

PDI are very convenient and are cheap to produce, once you have invested in the necessary equipment and software, but how long do viewers give to your beautifully crafted masterpiece? A few seconds? A blink of an eye? A print in the hand or on an exhibition wall can engage the viewer for many minutes. They see so much more to enjoy, or perhaps criticise. What they are looking at is ART, and most will give their attention and their respect to your image in a way that doesn’t happen when they view it on a monitor or a screen.

Whether you’re the photographer, the subject of the image or a viewer of the image, each of you will find meaning, understanding and connection through photography in the printed form. A fine art print can be held and appreciated long after a screen image has disappeared from your memory.

Of course we enjoy images seen on social media platforms or in projected competitions, but these moments are transient. The beauty of a printed photo means that we have time to connect with and explore the meaning of the print before us. A print is a tactile reminder that can be shared with others, a moment to escape the digital distractions of screen images. There is so much more to appreciate with the texture and finish of the paper chosen and the careful mounting which points to the importance of the image. A print in your hand or on an exhibition wall can engage you far more than a passing flicker on a screen. It is an art form that won’t be lost and you have an opportunity to add your magic.

Photo prints can last longer than a lifetime can be passed down through the generations to be shown or exhibited at any point in time. Photographs printed onto archival papers can be preserved for a long time, to be displayed, enjoyed and connect with future generations.

Why I use PermaJet’s FB Gold Silk 315

FB Gold Silk 315 is my favourite paper for 90% of my prints.

Using a free custom ICC profile it delivers good colour with a lovely smooth finish. I have read that it has a very high Dmax but I’m not that technical – I just saw very crisp clean black, giving good contrast which made the image sparkle. The paper has a slightly warm colour, ideal for people pictures in mono and colour and, whilst I wouldn’t describe the surface as “silk” it has a very nice “gentle” sheen, reminiscent of fondly remembered darkroom prints

I enjoy using all the papers in the PermaJet range but FB Gold Silk is always my first choice for both mono and colour.

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