A 50 years old man walks inside a photographer’s studio holding devoutly a tiny envelope. Approaching the photographer he says with incredible kindness … “Can you duplicate a photo from a print?”
The photographer opens the envelope to look at the photograph inside, and his face is filled with surprise. The photo does not exceed 9-10 cm long, and is an image of 5-6 people. The surprise is even greater when he finds that in many places the paper is extremely worn. But the worst is yet to come … The customer says he does not want the whole picture but wants to isolate one of them!! Making a size with his hands, the photographer concludes that he requires an image of about 13X18 centimeters or 15X21.
“Impossible” … he says, the person will disappear!! There will be almost nothing to see”. While the surprise on the face of the photographer gives way to one of frustration on the customer’s face.
“Never mind”, says the customer… “Whatever comes out” … “It’s my mother and we lost her recently. Unfortunately I could not find another picture and I would like to have something to remember her by”
“OK” says the photographer “it will take 5-6 days to get ready, but I did warn you of the possible outcome”. They both have a sense of relief, but both of them for different reasons.
In five days the client returns to the photographer. The small envelope that was initially handed over has now changed places with a brand new photo file which is much larger, held in the hands of the photographer. The customer almost trembles with emotion seeing him. The photographer, even before he opens the file to show him the photo, apologetically says, “I did the best I could, but I told you … it’s almost impossible.” The customer almost does not hear what he says but he has his eyes glued on the file. At the first opportunity, he grabs the file, and pulls out a copy…
The portrait … is completely dull. The woman in the picture stands out just enough to tell it is the same person!!
“Fantastic, great, awesome”. “Thank you very much”, responds the client to the photographer, who for a second is left speechless. “Whenever you can, please print 5 more copies?” continues the client. While the photographer is t
rying to tell him the cost, the customer does not take his eyes off the picture, and almost mechanically gives the money to the photographer. The emotion in his eyes is so much that he can hardly open the door of photographers to leave.
The above, is just a story but can be repeated hundreds, even thousands of times around the world.
Every day, each of us, whether a professional photographer or not, and especially with the advent of smart phones, takes hundreds of photos. Some are published on social media … some sent to friends and family … or some with loved ones. What really are these photos except digital files, meaningless pixels stored in phones and cameras that we will change sooner or later … or on hard drives that can be destroyed?
Imagine today you have some of your best memories on 8-inch, 5¼-inch, and 3½-inch floppy disks from the 80’s and 90’s. You could not even see them on your screen now, even if they were not completely destroyed already.
A piece of paper… the cost is minimal and at the same time the value is huge… almost immeasurable!! A value is not measured by money but by years of laughter, tears and very deep feelings.
Look at just your mobile or your camera. Really, are you ready to miss the photo of your daughter’s/son’s first birthday or that sunset you shot the first picture with your partner, for less than half euro?