Theoretically, with today’s technology in screen based presentation of picturse, you could say that quality has evolved to the point that you may no longer need to print out anything anymore. Resolution, color reproduction and ease of use have come to a point that what you see on screen has a physical quality, that may outperform print work of the same size.
Years ago I asked this question a photography dealer when I was buying stuff for my analogue equipment and next vacation. I think it was ten roles of slide films. I asked:
With today’s digital resolution capability, why should I still go for slides if I could just beam the pictures to a wall?
His answer was immediate:
Today, you have no adequate means that could match the resolution and vibrancy of a slide. There is no adequate tool available to represent the resolution of slide film.
That was years ago. I was doing Kodak Ektachrome and AGFA black and whit slide films, cooling them in a fridge. I had my own darkroom and made prints, black and white.
Today, it seems like using a 4K and 5K monitor could put a nail in the coffin of the print or the slide. Retina display tablets have also reached a resolution that could absolutely keep up with a print of that size. The resolution has reached a point that we may ask
Why print at all?
Yesterday I got the answer – again. I was making some prints, testing different types of paper. Looking at those prints, seeing the structure of the paper, holding it in the hand is like nothing that my monitor could convey. Committing oneself to the print, and giving birth to it is a process that echoes in oneself. We are producing, physically, finally our baby that has gone through our creative process.
I observe myself, that I look longer at prints than I do at pictures on a screen. When the print is done well, there is so much more to explore, to feel and to reflect about.
The print talks to me in a language and with so much more intensity, that the presentation on screen can not do.
After all this technological development, it seems that we are still craftsmen – we need to produce something physical to finally reach our inner satisfaction.
The final print has some magic in it, it is the same picture you have seen on the screen, and yet it’s is so much more when you look at it.
It’s like the difference between watching a movie of you kids and actually seeing them alive.