As you may already know, my Instagram feed is just a handful of Instax pictures that I’ve taken of my friends. What you might not know is that while they are scans of real Instax prints (Fauxlaroids?), none of them were taken with an instant camera – I’ve been using an instant ~printer~. Some might argue that I’m cheating, as I get to shoot with a ‘real camera’, pick the best shot of the bunch, and edit it before I press ‘print’, but there’s no denying that it’s the best way to quickly make a print on the go. No ink. No cables. No fuss. Product over process.
I brought the printer along for my current trip in SE Asia, mostly to keep up with my Instagram. What I hadn’t anticipated, was the amount of joy it would bring to so many of the people that I’d meet along the way. Upon seeing the print I made of her friend, a Hmong tribe woman in Northern Vietnam asked if I would make her one as well.
As the image started to appear on the paper, I asked her if she had any other prints of herself. “Some” she said “but all from a long time ago…” as she held her hand out at a child’s height. She then pulled out her smartphone and started showing me pictures of her family. As we swiped along, I realized that the print I’d just given her, the only tangible picture of her as an adult, might be the only image of her for future generations of her family to look back on. Chances are, your situation isn’t all that different.
“Print may be dead, but it still gives life to moments in ways a .jpg on a screen never will.”
I had some fun yesterday with the groundskeeper of the house where I’m staying here in Bali. We sat and chatted in broken English for a couple of hours while shooting selfies and snacking on chocolate digestives. He asked me if I could text him a picture of us that I’d taken on my phone. I then sheepishly had to explain that I’d only bought a data plan and as a result couldn’t send text messages. As he didn’t have a data plan, nor an email address, this exchange was starting to look unlikely. 💡 Instax printer to the rescue! Moments later he was holding the print with a giant smile across his face. Product over process. Print may be dead, but it still gives life to moments in ways a .jpeg on a screen never will.
I’ve made it a goal to invest more time (and $) in making prints of my work this year. I’ll be having my first solo exhibition in Vancouver this April, and I’ll also be giving away small print editions throughout the year. Naturally, you’ll be the first to find out about both.
Happy belated New Year,