Meanwhile, we are inundated with digital images. More than 1.3 trillion photos are expected to be shot in 2017, up from just 80 billion in 2000, all hidden away in our devices or the digital cloud. Therein lies another rub: Out of sight too often means out of mind.
Brady Cabe, a 33-year-old photographer whose work has been featured on NationalGeographic.com, says “before I started printing, this is what I did with my photos: take photos, edit photos, post to Facebook, Instagram, whatever, maybe blog it, and then poof: The images just went into oblivion.” In his workshops, he teaches his students to always “print that baby out!”
Another important reason to print: the risk of losing your photos altogether.
Lowe notes that “for my parents, preservation means scanning things and getting them to be digital. For me, preservation is the opposite: It’s printing things out because I’m afraid of having a corrupt hard drive or of having a computer stolen.”
Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf has warned that “this is starting to happen to people who are saving a lot of their digital photographs — because they’re just files of bits,” he explains. When the software that was available when you took the photos is upgraded, “the [new] file system doesn’t know how to interpret [those bits]…so the images are no longer visible. Now you’ve lost the photograph.” His advice: “Print them out.”
Why are we still drawn to print? Read our interview with “The Revenge of Analog” author David Sax.