When I was a young busy mom to three whirling dervish children, digital cameras weren't really a thing yet. I was still shooting in film. Once digital cameras became the "it" gadget to have and seemed to totally wipe the need for film completely off the face of the earth, I reluctantly packed my film cameras away. I had grown up with film and had some darkroom experience from my youth so it was hard to entirely give up on film. Once I learned my way around a digital camera, and found how EASY it was to download my images to my computer for sharing to the world, I am embarrassed to admit I quit thinking about film for a few years. I didn't miss it until I was visiting my parents and my kids saw my parent's walls with all the family photos in frames. My own walls at home had prints from when the kids were small but there was a huge gap in years, a drop-off actually, because I did not print my digitals. My kids saw photos of me from my childhood and teen years. They were enthralled with them! I, too, had always felt enthralled with looking at photos of my mom from when she was young so it should not have surprised me that my kids were so interested in these old photos in dusty frames. By not printing off my digitals for so many years, my children have lost a sense of their own history that I took for granted growing up in the 80's and 90's.
Thankfully, many families are returning to prints (from both digitals AND film) to preserve their memories and family history. It's becoming necessary again to hire a professional photographer that has knowledge in archival quality portrait paper and professionally stretched canvas. For awhile (over the last decade, in fact!) families were satisfied with hiring photographers who just sold digitals, believing they would print for themselves and save money. But time has been the test and proven that families (I'm including myself here!) were too busy to print those digitals. And many precious memories have been lost to discs or dust-corroded USB's! Many even followed through with prints but did not have the necessary knowledge to have used labs geared towards professional photographers. Many printed from consumer-quality labs and now their photos are showing signs of aging and will not last out the next decade.
Right now, photography itself is at an impasse. "Shoot & Burn" photography is on its way out and more traditional professional photography is finding ground again. There will always be a need to preserve family history. It is imperative that we give our children a sense of self-worth through photos of themselves and of their loved ones. It's one of the many ways children look at their world and see how they fit into it and many teenagers are discovering film for the first time. They are really excited to create an image that will be printed and held for posterity! As parents, we must re-commit to printing our family's portraits. Commit to having images that we can pass down. Commit to telling our stories!