Who prints holiday photos?

by on 2nd August, 2013

Printing holiday photos

This week Andean Trails’ Tom’s sister posted him a collection of real, hold-them-in-your-hand photos of family memories from the last three years.

There were weddings, births, parties and forgotten moments, all bringing a smile, and causing Tom to ponder if the post-holiday photo printing ritual has died.


Tom writes:

“After my fantastic sister’s thoughtful present, I’ve been inspired and just printed two photos at home to send to friends.

I know they’ll be well received, like a letter (anyone remember them?) or a postcard.

With sepia-tinted glasses now firmly on and not the photoshop kind, it just seems all so old-fashioned and hard work, the printed photo of the point-n-push photographer. Was it ever thus?


Modern man

I’m just back from holiday and have loaded countless digital prints to the hard drive.

As always, I promise myself I’ll make a top 36 to show people, even print them off (what?!). To keep the old days alive. It never happens. Those big folders with 1,245 photos just sit there, flaccid, fat and gathering digital dust.

The quality of picture is incredible these days and even the average doof (me) can get something pretty evocative.

But our digital photo age is not tactile, it is reversible, deletable, it will bend to your will – should you exorcise that right, which I seldom do.

On the plus, when you are away and parading yor expensive kit, people gather round your little screen to see what you’ve just captured. Great moments they can be, however you may miss more in the showing than by allowing life to keep going.

And yes, you can print them (see above as to why not).


Nostalgic man

The excitement of the holiday photos. Did I let light into the roll and will I get nothing but 36 black photos back?

Be it a 24-hour wait for the lab to produce the printed photos, or, even more excitingly, waiting for the postman to deliver the films sent off a week or so earlier, that expectancy has now gone.

Snaps coming back were events, like Tupperware parties (other plastic containers available) or the day you switched from Beta to VHS.

You would organise a photo evening, maybe even a slideshow.

Whither hast the phrase ‘Want to see my photos?’ withered?

If anyone couldn’t come, not to worry, my new slices of life (usually available in 24s or 36s) would be carried around like a prized jewel for at least a month, to be whipped out at any point.

“Yeah, it doesn’t really show what it was like. I couldn’t get the whole beach in. They look much bigger in real life.” Phrases, all in the photographic ‘trash’ bin.


Tactile man

I miss touching my holiday again through printed photos, and seeing it how the camera caught it, and seeing that it’s not as I thought I’d taken it.

For the basic photographer like me, real photos capture a moment that leaps off the photo, a moment that really lives.

You laugh at the shot of your eye, the dot which was the full moon or that sneaky one of your friend snoring under the sun shade. These photos cannot be deleted from a memory card. They are life, captured, and live with you.

I long for suitcases of photographic memories stored in the attic and under the bed, and looked at once every rainy winter’s day with a cup of tea and my favourite, ginger biscuits (other tea dunk aids available).

I pine. But I forge ahead regardless with digital, convinced I’ve got a National Geographic shot in there (other magazines available).

But I’ve not. And while the digital age makes everything much easier to share, selflishly, I think maybe I’ve lost more by saying goodbye to film.”

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