I love putting our personal photos on our walls. It reminds me of certain events I cherish. That is why I have a quite a number of photos I have printed and framed and are now hung on different walls around our house. Based on my experience, for every 20 photos that is displayed on our walls, there are hundreds, if not thousands, more in my computer and on my phone. That is the reality of the time we live in now.
In the digital age, photos are now relegated to the confines of the phone, the desktop computer, or social media. Only a few images get to metamorphose from its digital form to a printed photo.
Not all printed photos are created equal though. Some get to be printed and put in an album or printed into a photobook. Some get to be printed on canvas. Some get to be printed and framed. When I start sorting through my photo library, there appears to be a hierarchy of sorts on the photos. Here is how I would rank them from the least to important to the most:
5. Good enough as a once-in-a-while remembrance.
These are the photos that deserve to languish in our memory drives. Due to the disposable nature of digital photos, we tend to take photos of anything and everything (this is a blog in itself for another time). So we photograph willy-nilly using our handy phones. Some of them are not worth sharing, but good enough to keep. Everyday selfies normally fall into this category. I wouldn't feel bad if I lose these type of photos.
4. Good enough to be shared to friends and family on social media.
These are the photos I would typically share to friends on social media. Travel photos fall into this category. They are good enough to stay on my social media, but not to be printed. These are classified as "snaps" - photos taken without artistic thought.
3. Good enough for me to look at it for inspiration on a frequent basis.
Some photos from No. 4 are good enough to be printed. Due to limitations on budget and logistics i.e., space on the wall or space in an album, I have to be brutal and choose the best of the best. In my criteria, there should be a semblance of art to the photo for it to deserve to be printed.
2. Good enough to be the centrepiece of the house.
These, for me, are works of art and the area where Legacy Portraits operates. These are photos that deserve to be a showcase portrait on the wall to be admired not only by us but by every one who visits our place.
These are irreplaceable photos and can never be replicated. I would definitely lose sleep if I lose any photo in this category. Aside from it being printed and framed, I also have multiple digital copies spread across different storage devices and in the cloud.
Sometimes, photos that belong in No. 3 shoot up to this category due to the loss of a loved one. However, there is a caveat to this. A priceless "snap" of the loved one, though has now gained sentimental value, may never be considered as a showcase portrait perhaps because there are elements that would not merit for it to be showcased. The image below is a priceless snap because this is our "Last Supper" before my dad passed away, but it will not merit printing or framing for all to see. This will in no way be considered an art work.
A showcase portrait evokes a response. In Our Story, I showed the framed image of the same people on the previous snap but there was deliberate arrangement of the people on the portrait. I did not plan to have a portrait to the place where we are going but I saw a lounge where I thought it would be a great way to have a family portrait. I had the presence of mind to arrange everybody in a way that looked like a formal portrait, even though our clothes said otherwise. Here is that actual framed portrait hung in a wall in a prominent area in our place and has shot up to the No. 1 criteria because my dad is now gone.
If my dad were still alive today, it will fall to No. 4 or at best No. 3.
The digital age has caused many of us to be too lazy to have a proper family portrait. Worse, the world of social media have trained many of us to consider poorly composed, uninspiring snaps as "portraits". I'd like to suggest that when there is an opportunity to do a family portrait, do it AND do it well - artistic, elegant, classy. We will never know when the family will be complete again. Down the road, the investment for this type of portrait will be miniscule because in time, it will be priceless.