Being a photographer in 2011 is a little bit sad. Why? Because for years being a photographer meant you took pictures and made prints and had a finished product you could hold in your hands or hang on your wall. These days, though, the print has all but disappeared. It’s too easy to shoot photos and look at them on our computer screens and then forget about them forever, without ever making a print. Sure, galleries and pharmacies still trade in prints, but let’s be honest: most of us wish we printed a lot more of what we shot. Let’s all agree that we’ll make a conscious effort to print more of our photographs.
That’s only part of the challenge, though. Printing is a bit of a tricky endeavor because most photographers are printing their work in-house on inkjet printers. Instead of farming out the job to a pro lab, most of us are doing it ourselves. The good news is that these prints look great and have archival qualities as good or better than traditional darkroom color prints. The bad news is that we’ve got to take a little bit of extra care to ensure our prints look their best and last a long time too.
To that end, The Online Photographer’s Ctein (think Madonna or Cher, but with more photographic chops) has written a great guide—practically a treatise—on displaying and caring for inkjet prints to maximize their beauty and their lifespan. For anyone interested in treating their photographs as fine art, or at least for those of you who want to ensure your photos stick around long after you’re gone, it’s a must read.