When it comes to photographic prints, I would describe myself as fairly old school.
This is the guy that made t-shirts from his favourite old club flyers, after all.
Technology has its place, in photography as in everything else, but the speed of change is breath-taking.
If you think about it, photographs have been around for nearly 200 years. All the other bits and pieces like videos, DVDs, CDs – all that technology has changed so much, even in the last 20 years.
The tradition and reliability of print is so important. It will always have that place where you can’t change it, it’s always there. And I truly believe it should always be the prime medium in which to see your photographs.
To give an example from a recent equine shoot, the client called me to tell me the finished print was just beautiful. The words she used were: “I can see this is art, not just a photo.”
Photographic prints suppliers
Now, I’m a huge believer in research, so it was vital to me to source the best possible end product for my clients.
I found four possible suppliers; one in Scotland, two in Italy and one in the States. Having first tried to #supportlocal, I found that for quality, one of the Italian companies just couldn’t be beaten.
It’s situated north-east of Venice, at the bottom of the Dolomites and as part of my search, I went over to see how they operated.
Not just an excuse for a great trip, oh no, and these guys blew me away.
For their printing, they use these cutting-edge, huge Canon DreamLabo machines that give 2400dpi resolution in a single pass. The colour gamut is huge, compared to any other provider I know, and its environmental footprint compared to silver halide printing is tiny.
The waste product from the process is a cup of coloured water that potentially you could drink … but you wouldn’t. But you could…
Paper, scissors, stone
And the quality of the paper and the albums! Their fine art paper has been tested to retain its beauty for up to 300 years. That’s an archival quality to these prints that won’t discolour or fade for hundreds of years.
So not just the length of time this colour lasts, but the process and how environmentally friendly it is, I thought that was really, really important.
The boxes are all handmade, with the USBs hand-stitched, and the wedding and portrait albums go through an intricate process where step by step, they are put together by hand.
So for me, the entire finished product merges technology with the tradition of artisans and attention to detail to make it the very best it can be.
There is, obviously, still a place for technology. It means you can access your work from anywhere. I can create galleries of images with a link and a password so multiple people can go in and have a look.
One of the most exciting developments from my Italian supplier, from a technology point of view, is a wedding box with your album in it that plays the wedding video when it’s opened. I know – mindblowing.
But it’s also technological advances that mean Apple’s new laptop won’t even have a USB port.
Which is another reason why, for me, the impact that a piece on the wall can make – whether on acrylic, metal or canvas – is priceless.
I am a huge lover of print and believe the family or wedding photographs that are important to you should be placed in the home where they can be seen every day and take you back to a special moment.
You might have a really special member of the family, it might be a memory that makes you feel really good about yourself. You don’t get that from a digital image that sits on a device in a drawer.
With the best will in the world, I’ve never known anyone to be blown away by the sight of a USB. The ability to pick up an album from the top of the bookcase and flick through it cannot be beaten.
So choose photographic prints, choose life.