Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

Posted by Eugene Nagawiecki

We live in a world where everyone has endless access to a camera and pictures are constantly being taken. But does that mean we appreciate pictures any more? Are we doing pictures right? Of course, pictures remain as important as ever but we need to make sure we’re not only doing them, but also doing right by them. 

Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

        I will open up a little bit about myself, I am the proud parent of a marvellous five-year-old boy. Like all parents I simply can't get enough of my child. I also happen to be a product of the “digital age” - born during the early years of the home computer- and, therefore, always have some kind of picture taking device in my pocket and at hand.

        As you might expect, I don’t find shame in taking advantage of this reality and, as a result, have thousands of digital pictures of my son and my family strewn across multiple devices. Yet, despite this fact, I can count on my two hands the number of pictures of my son I see regularly (by that I mean more than once). The kicker is, although I am definitely a product of the digital age, even I recognize that it’s more than just coincidence that all of those pictures I see regularly are printed pictures.

        Printed pictures are incredibly important as they not only allow us to capture a certain moment in time, but also preserve it for generations to come and so are able to relive the wonderful memory or experience again and again. Even more, printed pictures are shared easily with others, and authenticate our important past. 

Capture Precious Moments

        Alas, the unfortunate reality of life is that it passes us by way too quickly. Worse yet, we often don’t realize it before it’s too late. One day your bringing your precious little one home from the hospital and the next thing you know you wake up to that “child” begging you to borrow the car to visit their significant other one last time before parting ways for college. Pictures are a way to capture – by freezing in time- these moments we can’t hold on to but would like to re-live again and again. Moments such as a baby’s first steps, infancy – childhood in general, the first day of school all the way through college graduation, weddings, anniversaries, landmark birthdays, homecomings etc. the list goes on. 

Preserve those Cherished Memories

        However, with that being said, the truth be told is our captured memories are only as valuable as the way we choose to preserve them. Pictures offer us a great way to preserve our special memories but we need to do it right. If not, our cherished moments - that we thought would last generations – could disappear in the blink of an eye with one quick lightning strike or misplaced magnet.

Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

        That is why the best way to preserve photographs is, in fact, in print form in a high-quality album. Photo albums and photo books today come in a wide-variety of grades, collections, and materials so you can be sure to get exactly what you’re looking for and that it will last more than a lifetime. In fact, if that weren’t enough some of the leading album makers and printing labs offer a lifetime warranty on printed related and manufacturing concerns. Why worry about the relevance of your technology when you can have a printed product sure to last forever?

Easily Shared

        The third reason photos are important is the ability to share them. After all, the main reason we go through the trouble of capturing and preserving our memories as photos is to be able to share them later. Not only with ourselves, but our family, friends, and dear ones as well. Yet, here too is why its important to emphasize “pictures” over “images”.

        Pictures are often associated with the tangible object depicting a scene, while an image is perceived as a file showing a scene in a digital format. The difference being tangible versus digital. The key to sharing is accessibility and nothing is easier than opening a printed photo album or photo book. Photos are readily available to any and all people no matter their age or capabilities.

Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

        Moreover, high-quality printed products are actually longer-lasting compared to digital. Just ask yourself; how long before your hard drive, USB, or file sharing site becomes obsolete, closes down, or starts charging you for its service? On the other hand, I still have photos of my ancestors who crossed the Atlantic from Poland to America; photos taken in the 19th century!

Pictures Authenticate

        In an indirect, round-about way this takes me perfectly to my final important fact about pictures – tangible photos – they authenticate. As the old adage goes "seeing is believing"; and pictures are the present’s eyes in the past. I believe it goes without saying that most – if not of all us- have family, friends, moments, and/or experiences from the past we would love to pass on to our children. Pictures are the perfect medium for this educational experience. Sharing a story about a grandparent is wonderful, but seeing that picture of them makes the engagement much more profound.

Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

        Take myself as an example, to get a little personal again; I was born after my grandfathers had past, but I was always told wonderful stories of them. Yet, for both what I remember above any story – even if told it numerous times- is their respective pictures.

        My mother always had a picture of her father on display and I always had a feeling of pride when I looked at that distinguished black and white. As for my father’s father, not many pictures were taken of him and it wasn’t until much later in my life when I recall seeing a picture of him. After many years of hearing many wonderful stories, and looking up to him though never really knowing him, it was that moment – when I was a late teen- of seeing his picture, an elegant wedding photo, that had a wonderfully profound effect on me. A man, whom I had never met, but was still someone I admired, looked up to, was named after - I finally saw. I finally met. My family in that moment even commented on how we looked so much alike. Don’t get me wrong stories - words- are fantastic forms of remembrance, but as the other adage goes: "a photograph is proof."

Beautiful Expression

        As we see pictures remain as essential as they’ve ever been. They allow us to not only freeze the precious moments, but also preserve them in time to last generations. Remember, though, to achieve that longevity it is important to print your photos and use a trusted, high-quality product. With such your photos – your memories, will be given life; will be easily shared, and will last generations; after all, that’s what it’s all about. 

        I leave with a bonus reason why pictures – especially printed pictures, are import: expression. Photographs of people are all about capturing the subject’s expression and emotion in a moment in time. Even further, the steps a professional takes to acquire the image and what he/she does after attaining it all account for the way they express themselves and choose to represent their subject.

Why Pictures are Important (and Always Will Be)

        Photography is truly an artform in every sense of the word and pictures are it’s medium. Remember; a photographer produces photos – not images. For those professionals- do not put down your camera and print those files stored on a hard drive; for those aspiring or interested - pick up your camera and keep shooting. Capture, preserve, share, authenticate, express; your subject, yourself, your art. 

        In the way a poem cannot win a Noble prize if it never leaves the poet’s head, a picture cannot exist; cannot affect, if never taken. Yet, furthermore, a masterpiece cannot be with the paint still on the pallet. Have your pictures printed and watch them make a difference.