Beach art as a kind of sand mandala: http://www.viralnova.com/beach-art/
I currently have in my possession three prints of my own digital-era photos. All the rest have either been given or thrown away. Last month I went through my electronic photo archive and deleted everything except the original (mostly RAW) files. I may take another pass through it and wipe most of the originals too. Increasingly I photograph simply because I enjoy doing it. Being there
to do it matters. The photos themselves don't matter much beyond the brief thrill of capturing what I intended to capture or, even better, running into the unexpected and capturing something of that
. As I get older I prefer to be less bound by what I've done previously and more focused on what I'm doing now. I like the idea of a photo existing for a brief time after I've taken it and then just disappearing. Like Mr. Amador's beach art.
I understand from where you come.
I have a few more digital prints than that - one of each of the ones in the 'sale' slot in the website - I think. The printer lies there, churning away once a day to preserve its inner workings, but it hasn't seen a file in months. And I really don't care.
In most ways, a print is redundant in my life. The only way I show stuff now is via the Internet: it's easy, the whole world can see it if it wants to, but best of all, I
enjoy having an easy trawl through it now and again. Unless one has a huge market in print sales, what's the point of spending hundreds on boxes of paper and the same on inks? It's madness. Printing, when you know you can do it, stops being interesting and takes on the colour of chore. Where Donovan questioned the motivation of shooting for amateurs, I now question that of printing for the same group, of which I am part. That is worlds removed from the priorities and requirements of the professional worker, where both shooting and printing are basically about eating well. The peripherals can delight too, and with luck that's a given, but in the end, peel away the gloss and its money and keeping the show on the road.
Giving prints away as personal justification for all the effort and cost? You really, really know the recipients want them?
In fact, even the experience of shooting digitally has faded into a rather grey fog... there isn't the thrill of wondering if you still know how to measure light, if you can still hack all the many things that come into producing the 'perfect' shot. It never is, of course, but you know what I mean. I hope.
Without doubt, should I ever again find myself in another environment where the possibility exists, I see myself returning to film. I grew up with, earned my living with it, and I guess I've come to realise I may as well go out with it. Should the time come for me, maybe printing stuff again will take on a fresh attraction; for now, I don't think so, really.