Preserve your legacy by printing your work, pros share their thoughts on making prints


posted Monday, April 4, 2016 at 3:24 PM EDT


There is something truly special about seeing your work come to life on a piece of paper. A print that you can touch and feel gives a quality to your work that is impossible to replicate on a monitor. Epson has a new "#printyourlegacy" campaign that really captures the importance of photographic prints. The new campaign includes five professional photographers discussing their life, work, and the importance of prints.

Photojournalist Steve McCurry, who is perhaps best-known for his Afghan Girl image of a refugee that graced the cover of National Geographic in 1984, says of prints that they are the most important aspect of his legacy. He wants his work to be around forever and a print is the best way for that to happen rather than a transparency or digital file.

McCurry says in the video below "I would say it's somewhat similar to a book or novel, it's well-crafted, it's something that you want to touch and feel. The most important part of my archive today is the photographic print…The core of my legacy, I would say, is really in the prints. We all want our work to be around forever. There's no better way to preserve your legacy than a photographic print on a piece of paper."

Photographer Amy Toensing learned the process of a print as she started to seriously consider photography as a career. Her photographic origins are intimately linked to the printing process itself.

"The print, it respects and honors the craft of photography like nothing else," she says, "There's a simple value, there's a simple legacy that a print holds. It's a continuation of what you've done in the field…That making of that print is in and of itself part of the story."

Portrait photographer Tim Tadder discusses what a print means to him. "Prints make the image real, they make it official, they make it something that is not just on a screen or not just in a viewfinder, but it's there. When I'm holding a print, the first thing I notice is the tonal range. Are the blacks there, are the highlights there? Do I have detail where detail should be? Then I look at the smoothness of the color. Is the color as I intended it when I shot it?"

To see videos from Stephen Wilkes and Jeremy Cowart, see this article on ISO 1200.

While the #printyourlegacy campaign is designed to market Epson products, the core message applies to all prints. There is something truly special about holding your work in your hand and the photographers above each hit on the reasons why it's important to print your work.

If you're interested in Epson's excellent new Legacy paper, read my review of the new line of premium paper.

(Seen via ISO 1200