It is true. To really bring your photography to the next level, you have to see it in print. After a few years of shooting as an enthusiast, I just saw my pictures printed, framed and displayed.
Knowing there is an audience who appreciates your work sufficiently to print it to beautify their abode is certainly reassuring. However there is another aspect to this which is very important to a photographer’s development – the very fact of getting your work printed.
Without printing your picture, it is just a tiny image on social media websites. Barely a lenient test of how good your work really is. You could upload your images to more serious photography sites which offer a larger display for images, but you know that very few people bother to click and view the larger versions. In addition, you know that online appreciation of digital media is always skewed. How do you know that those people “liking” your photographs are sincere, and not doing it out of the expectation of reciprocation? How do you know if they are “liking” just because it is easy to “like”? Are they just doing it simply because it is the fashionable thing to do? Do they actually understand what good art is? Do they actually have standards for judging a photograph? Are they really just bots? Even yourself as the creator, wonder if you are giving a picture more credit than it deserves because you have spent so much time and effort on it. This works the opposite way as well – is a picture that does not get much appreciation online actually better than what the ignorant, unreliable hive-minds of the internet give it credit for?
To me, a print is the media that evokes the most unbiased critique. There are psychological reasons why we judge digital and physical images with different scales, but I won’t discuss them here. A picture in physical form is subjected to a far more neutral, meticulous and thoughtful level of examination than a picture in digital form. To you the creator, printing costs money. That already makes you judge your pictures with more stringent standards. Both popular and personal opinions have little power in the presence of a physical print. If it is a lousy picture, a million “likes” could not save it from the physical reality staring at you. If it is a good picture, you need little affirmation from the internet hive-minds – you can see the truth and touch it with your hands.
The pictures that were printed are the following:
I’m currently testing if I can set up an online store to sell prints. Hopefully something good could come out of it. 😀 – WY
Update: These prints are now available for purchase from an online print store. Check it out here!