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It’s been a hard day. You’re tired--and let’s face it--a little cranky. OK, a lot cranky. So to cheer yourself up, you walk over to your computer and fire up the USB of your recent family portrait session so that you can flip through the images. After seeing the slideshow playing on your tiny laptop, you can’t wait until the rest of the family comes over so that you can pass the computer around the dinner table. Here’s another scenario, similar to the first, except for one crucial point: those incredible, indelible images are hanging on your walls. You see them every time you walk by; you smile every time you walk by. In each room of your home, the heirloom photographic art makes your heart swell, overflowing with the investment you’ve made in your family, the investment in adding permanence to your memories.
The impulse to purchase images on a USB instead of a canvas or a print is strong. We feel as if we don’t actually own something until we possess every image from our shoot, as if the only way to experience our family is by being able to make as many reprints of them as we want.
But images on USB sit around. They become stuffed into a desk drawer, until their media is rendered obsolete and the images cannot be accessed anymore. They remain untouched, until that day when we’ll have enough time to put them in an album or print them ourselves. Finished products, on the other hand, are just that. They are ready to hang, ready to enjoy. They are instant--and constant--gratification. They are objects that can be passed down to your children, and your children’s children. The tangible nature of fine art--that it is an actual object, hanging on your wall or sitting on your coffee table--is meant for enjoyment, for experience, not to be archived on a shelf in a plastic media case. A USB of all of your images is not fine art. And the creation of fine art cannot be cheap. Crafting memories and creating personalized products that can be enjoyed for generations is a job that carries a lot of responsibility and weight, and demands finesse and skill. With professional photography, as with so much of life, you get what you pay for. Photographic art is an investment, to be sure, but it’s one that you’ll never regret.
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