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Long live print!
I totally think this doesn't make any sense. Of course, the Internet is more accessible and 'the future', but I believe it is a grave mistake to have it replace print, definitely when speaking in terms of photography.
Not that I want to stick to old traditions, far from that, but I can easily come up with proof that we still and will always cherish actual real print, real, authentic materials that have been created by an artist, whether that be a painter, musician, photographer, director ...
We all know the Mona Lisa, on display in the Louvre, the heart of Paris. Of course, if you type in her name, you'll find the lady and her smile all over the place, millions of times. This makes it a lot easier for everyone to see the art, for everyone to be amazed by it and for everyone to take it and do with it as they like.
No one can deny the real magic of seeing the real work with your own eyes, being only a couple of meters away from it, you being the closest to the piece of art, even if it's just for a glimpse of a second. No one, I tell you, can take away that feeling of excitement. Honestly, I've never had that feeling browsing through photos of this fair lady on the Internet.
The Internet is of course an amazing way of spreading work, and I use it more than the healthy average, but I can assure you that I only see this as a tool, a way to achieve the feeling of creating great photography that is print worthy. I may see my photo on the cover of an online webzine, it will never feel the same as entering a newsagent's and seeing my own work on the cover of a printed release.
Seeing my work in the booklet of a record is so much more thrilling than seeing that photo in a Facebook album, probably noticed by more people still.
Nowadays, record companies seem to find more interest in these online media than they do in magazines. Proof of this is the growing struggle of magazines to survive. Well, I think they're wrong! The Internet is a great tool, but it's an abomination to the Art we create. Compare it to music downloads. Where's the magic if you download a file that has no meaning? You're turning it into something it's not supposed to be: cheap and easy accessible. And worst of all, we're all doing it! We're destroying the feeling of excitement, the feeling of holding the record or the vinyl, the thrill of sliding that record into our music device for the first time...
Same thing with photos. "Why is it such a big deal if I cut off your watermark? Do I really need permission? It's online, so I can have it, right?" True, I can't stop you from doing just that, but I hope you will realise how selfish and discouraging this is.
People often wonder why photographers charge such a lot of money. Are we really such big vultures? Do we really think we're so much better? Well, the answer is simple. Next to the time we invest in painting with light for your eyes to see the result, we also want you, the client, to purchase not just photos, but a product that reflects the knowledge, view and creativity of the photographer. If we charge a lot, it means we value our work to a certain level.
Why do we watermark our images? Not because we fear it will probably get stolen, as you were probably thinking. I say no. We do this because we are proud of what we do in the first place, final stop! A painter who doesn't sign his work is not a painter. He's an amateur. We sign our Art, because we have invested time and passion into its creation and because we care.
We're living in a cheap digital era, but that shouldn't do away with print. On the contrary. This shift should reinforce the position of printed media and I think that is what we should all be striving for.