I have three family photos displayed in my home. They are print outs that I've scanned from photographs my parents have managed to keep safe. One is a portrait of my mother's mother, with whom I grew up, and the other - shown here, is a composite of two images of my great-grandmothers, one from each side.
Their portraits are daily reminders of a lineage that shows itself in and through me.
At a glance I know where I come from, the stuff I am made of. These portraits tie me to them in a uniquely impactful way, as much so as any of the stories, diaries or artworks they have left behind. I feel intimately connected as if by seeing their faces, looking into their gaze, I have come to know them and myself better.
Though we own far far fewer printed photographs than the number of images we snap on a daily basis, let alone over the course of our digital lifetimes, I often wonder if by taking more, we are actually seeing less, perhaps even remembering less. We all have tons of blurry, pixelated images of family members and friends buried in folders and files across multiple devices. How many of us take the time to cull through hundreds, sometimes thousands of bytes of information to source and print only the most beautiful, meaningful moments that amount to a life well lived?
I'm returning to a place where less is more. I believe that in order to create something of value, of substance, we should seek quality over quantity, thereby releasing the stranglehold of mass image production and quit the hubris of digital hoarding. We all know that files get erased, the cloud could shut down, hard drives fry, thumb drives are lost, computers get replaced, software changes...all the while we keep snapping and never look back. We have become a society of banal iphonegraphers instead of keepsake makers.
I want my images to stand out and stand the test of time. My clients seek heirloom pieces they can frame, hang on their walls and cherish for years to come. These portraits are meant to outlive them so that one day their children's children will be able to hold and touch them and recognize themselves reflected in their eyes.
Read what Google has to say about the longevity of digital photos: