As we all recover from the tidying up of our lives that Marie Kondo inspired in all of us at the beginning of the year, I am still carrying with me the want to purge from my life things that do not "spark joy". My closet has been completely revamped and my shelves are looking much better now that they are free of clutter but this whole perspective has really got me thinking about not just what doesn't spark joy, but what specifically does spark joy.
As I look through my home now that it has been decluttered, I am surrounded by things that make me genuinely happy. There are dozens of toys everywhere, lots of handmade ceramics, art from close friends, and my favorite: printed photographs.
I grew up in a family that took TONS of photos. I'm talking holidays where we spent a good ten minutes taking an obscene amount of the same pose with everyone's camera, switching people out, and doing it all over again. Then, when it came time to have them printed, you better bet we were getting doubles of each one! Now, when I visit my grandma's house, we love to sit together and go through albums upon albums of family photos of my childhood as well as my mom's childhood, and even some from my grandma's! There is something so satisfying about holding a tangible book and experiencing the photos in print that I truly don't think we can replicate with a screen.
Now don't get me wrong, I love the direction technology is going! I have to say that one of the most liberating things about this digital age is that we are virtually limitless with our images! We can take a seemingly unlimited number of photos without having to worry about running out of expensive film, and even when we do run out of space, extra storage is so much more affordable and we can store way more images on a memory card than we could take with a roll of film.
In a way, it is a bit like books for me. I love the convenience of ebooks and I have a few that are saved on my phone for moments when I need to entertain myself but if I have a choice, I am all about the paper books! Holding it in my hands and turning off the screen is such a great feeling for me and I will pick a tangible book over an ebook any day.
Plus, as the saying goes, "if you want to know what is important to someone, look at what they take photos of". Our photos that we have, whether we took them ourselves or hired a professional to take them for us, are of things that we value most - our loved ones. While I enjoy sharing my images online of the things I love most, I also like to display them throughout my home so that I can see them as I live my life. There is great joy in being surrounded by the faces of those you value most and that is something that makes my heart and soul happy.
I was having a conversation the other day with someone and he point blank asked me, "Why don't people buy prints anymore?" It took me a moment to answer but my best guess is that we are all in a place where we are overwhelmed in life and we simply don't have time. We all plan to sit down at some point and organize a great photo display for our home but life gets in the way so we will do it tomorrow, and then we keep putting it off until tomorrow but the thing about tomorrow is it never actually comes. In my heart, I really do think that people who are investing in photography already see the value in it but struggle to actually follow through once the session has been paid for and the images have been downloaded. It is so much easier to save them to a drive, put it in the drawer for tomorrow, and then forget about it.
So my challenge for you today is, instead of logging into Facebook and getting stuck in the scroll after a long day of work, take some time to plan out a print display of some of your most joyful images for one of the places in which you spend the most time. When I'm feeling less than creative, I love to turn to Pinterest for inspiration so don't be afraid to look at what others are doing to get some ideas for your own space. Maybe it can go above your mantle so you can look at is as you sit back with a glass of wine and your favorite book. Or maybe you would like to adorn your work space with some beautiful imagery to keep you motivated during those long work days that seem to go on forever. Wherever you decide to display your photographs, I know that you experience more joy seeing them throughout your day than you do having them on that drive in your desk drawer!
Now that you have heard my take on digitals vs. prints, what do you think? What is your answer to that amazing question: Why don't people buy prints anymore?