08 August 2015

Photographs on Paper: the Old Fashioned Way.

Do you remember the times when photographs were seen on paper and not on back-lit screens? Many of us were quite young when we had to wait a few days to actually 'see' the photos from our latest vacation, a school farewell party, or an annual fest at college. Photos almost exclusively existed on paper. They were lovingly arranged in an album and stored away safely. When our friends and family wanted to see them, we couldn't just magically send them off: we had to meet in person. As the photos were passed around, stories behind them were shared, along with smiles and laughs, compliments, comments, often over some tea and snacks, in person and not expressed with emojis. We actually met and shared what we felt and thought to each other directly about the 4X6" (mostly) rectangles. 

And those photos have lasted decades, almost in original condition if the were carefully kept. Pull out that album from you drawer and the photos are still there to be enjoyed. You don't need to upgrade or retrofit your software to 'open' them, nor do you need an expensive, battery-hungry device to look at them.

Not that I want to complain too much about the virtual absence of actual meetings or roll my eyes at the way we so easily and often carelessly share photos through our smartphones. I, for one am truly grateful for some of the truly wonderful ways in which digital photos can be used and shared. No, I'm not quite complaining. I'm merely making an observation about the way it was and the way it is. We could debate over the pros and cons until the cows come home and still wouldn't settle.

Having said that, I'd like to suggest that some of that 'old school' charm of prints can be experienced even today. If you were too young to remember clearly, or are too young to have ever seen it, I'd humbly recommend that you select some of the very best photos you have on your digital devices and order some prints online. A little online search for a printing service, and a rate of approximately Rs. 7 or 8 (including shipping) should not be too hard to get. 
I recently ordered a few prints online from our latest trip to Coorg. We had all shared the photos on our phones and computers and looked at them lots of times. Still, when the prints arrived yesterday, the joy of it was refreshed, as if were taking our first look at the pics. I spread them all out on the carpet in our hall and my wife snapped a picture of that from her phone and sent it off to our friends! :-) 
We labelled the brown envelope in which the prints arrived and put it away safely. These photos will never go obsolete or get lost in an electronic mishap. And the joy of holding prints and passing them around is something that I would recommend once again.


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