There’ll be a dearth of snapshots in the future, if we don’t print our digital images now.
This is one of my early attempts at self-portraiture, a process almost every photographer goes through when learning about the medium. The year was 1966. I was experimenting with my first 35mm film camera, a cheap import, made in Hong Kong, bought with money I’d saved from my paper round and washing dishes in a coffee bar.
My mum kept this three-and-a-half by five inches, glossy black-and-white picture for years, along with dozens of others, in an old shoe box, in a drawer. She gave me some more of them recently; a random selection taken from those she’s still hanging on to, saying “One day this will all be yours, Peter.” She’s been telling me that, once or twice a week, for the last twenty years.
If it had been possible, way back in the Sixties, to have taken this photo with a mobile phone, the chances of it surviving for over four decades would have been nil: changes in consumer technology would have soon seen to that. So, I repeat my opening plea: print your work.
Today it’s never been easier to produce attractive, good quality photograph albums, quickly and cheaply. There are plenty of online services available. You simply upload your files, drag a few thumbnails around some preview pages on your computer screen, pay electronically, then wait for your order to arrive in the post. When they are delivered, display your albums on bookshelves, where people can access them, in a low-tech way, for what they are: hugely enjoyable anthologies of unrepeatable moments in time, some of which, like this one, might make you glad they survived.