Father of the Internet and Google vice president Dr Vince Cerf has urged people to have prints made of their photographs or loose them forever. This is of particular importance to the event photography industry. As operating systems and software become more sophisticated images stored using older technology will become increasingly inaccessible.
He warned that dependence on technology could lead to a digital desert and a new dark age in history with any evidence of our culture lost in an on-line black hole.
How many of us can remember going through old photographs of our childhood and school days even if they were kept in old shoe boxes? Will we be looking for a long lost or broken IPhone or computer drive? Or, more likely, will be trying to remember the username and password of some new cloud storage service that may be out of service in a few years time?
Think I’m wrong ? Pop into your nearest PC World store and look for the shelf with blank CD’s or DVD’s. Remember just a couple of years ago there used to be a whole aisle now you are lucky if you can find more than a couple of products.
There were 800 billion pictures taken last year, and no I don’t know how anybody came up with that figure, but I do know that most of them were taken on a Smartphone or point and shoot digital camera.
The photographs that Smartpicsuk® event photographers print at corporate or fundraising events are produced on high end dye sublimation printers as found in High Street photo outlets and are guaranteed to last 50 years.
At the time of printing the photograph is overlaid with a protective layer that is both fingerprint and waterproof. They are also red wine proof which is an advantage at some of the social events we have covered!
The recent advances in onsite photo printing within the UK event photography business was brought home to me on a recent visit to Laos in SE Asia where I witnessed “old fashioned” and dated technology combined with the sheer hard working entrepreneurial work ethic found in this part of the world.
At the national monument in the capital city Vientiane, I came across a group of about 20 gentlemen and a couple of ladies with entry level digital cameras waiting in a pack for the next tourist coach of Korean or Chinese visitors.
When the unsuspecting subjects alight they are literally cajoled by the waiting photographers to form up in a group like the team shots after a Wembley cup final. Instead of using Wi-Fi or wired tethering as UK event photographers would use to instantly send the pictures to an editing station, they sprint to a nearby line of cars and people carriers.
These vehicles have Epsom inkjet printers of unknown vintage in the boot or across the back seats. The whole exercise becomes a competition to get the first print in front of the potential clients with the clients racing across the dusty car park holding the still sticky and not quite dry prints above their heads.
The prints are pushed in front of the clients’ faces with no choice of which picture they would like and no colour balancing or quality control of any kind. A lot of the customers had dubious magenta and red skin tones that had nothing to do with the tropical heat.
The cost of these prints were something under £2 for a 12x 8 inch print which was hard to work out with an exchange rate of 30 000 to one. I salute these ladies and gentlemen for the sheer hard work they put in to overcome the limited resources they have.
Smartpicsuk® will never be able to match these prices. We like to think we are not too expensive, but we will never be “cheap” especially for once in a lifetime sentimental photographs that will be treasured in the future.
On site photo printing will remain an option for all our event photography commissions in the foreseeable future.