Photograph by Stuart Dods Photography www.stuartdods.com
It’s just over one year since my wedding and I was reminiscing on when my wedding album arrived as I was poring over it the other day. (Yes, I am talking about weddings again, but this should be my last wedding-related blog.) When it initially arrived I was as excited as a 20th century photographer peering through developing fluid in a darkroom, but as I was tearing through the reams of Border Agency tape that were wrapped around the package a thought occurred to me – why was I more excited about the printed album than I was about the online photographs?
Quite simply, it’s because the album engages more senses than just the eyes. I can turn the pages. I can touch them. I can smell the leather cover…
That’s the power of print. It’s tactile. It engages every sense but one, enabling you to physically connect with the words you’re reading or the photographs you’re viewing.
As anyone who has read one of my blogs before will know, I am mildly obsessed with photographs. And maybe it’s because I grew up in the decade before digital photography took the world by storm, but I want to hold a photo in my hand or hang it on my wall, not just look at it on a screen.
So when it came to planning my wedding, I had to find a way to physically display the enormous collection of snaps of family and friends that my (now) husband and I have amassed during the course of our relationship. A photo wall seemed slightly dull. Framed photos on the guest book table were a little on the twee side for our taste. And so the list of options went on being struck off.
Until the thought occurred to me that it’s becoming increasingly possible to print onto just about anything. What about bunting? Inspired no doubt by the diamond jubilee and the Olympics in 2012, almost every UK wedding magazine featured a wedding decorated with bunting. I’d originally written it off as bland, but it wouldn’t be if I could personalise it with photographs.
It seems I’m not alone in my obsession with printing photos onto just about anything that doesn’t move. To a certain extent, I think this is being driven by social media. Using tools like Facebook and Instagram have reminded us how much fun it can be to share photographs, and savvy photo printers are seizing the opportunity by creating links between social networks and their upload functions.
A quick glance at PhotoBox demonstrates this. You can choose to upload photographs from Facebook, Flickr or Instagram. In fact, Instagram users seem to be such a burgeoning market for photo print that there’s a whole page on the PhotoBox website devoted to how they can ‘liberate’ their photos.
Now I just need to find a photo of myself to print onto a mug so that my office-mug stops disappearing…