In the course of a year I run about half a dozen workshops and tours, and have done for the last decade. I watch my companions collect images by the tonne, filling up their memory cards and laptops with images. The weight of imagery is massive, yet for the most part they are invisible. Most of these images don't really exist unless you dig through a laptop or flick through an instagram feed.
This weekend I ran a food photography workshop and brought along a lovely big printer and we sat around creating something real. At the end of the first day we've styled beautiful gourmet scenes, played with fancy tilt-shift lenses, tinkered with gorgeous studio lights and spent considerable effort processing the RAW files into a refined image. Then we plug in the Epson R3000 and watch magic happen.
Naturally we wanted really big prints, just a little bigger than A3 in this case. Size matters and if we're creating "real photos" we may as well make them really lovely.
It's a special moment when the page slides out and your photo is written large across the lustre paper. The colours feel different to what you see on a laptop screen. You can touch them. The paper has texture and in the right light you can see the bumps. You can hold the colour in your hand, like a bunny rabbit or a flower. You can hold up the image close to your eyes and wander through it, searching for the little stories lost within.
Until you print off your images on a really good printer you may not realise just how good your camera is. With good paper and a top line printer like the R3000 you can reveal the limitations of your imaging. You see if a lens is sharp, where the corners pick up distortion, how the resolution at wide apertures exceeds your expectations.
These big prints are tangible and have longevity. They don't disappear from memory the way a Facebook update will. You can leave them in your office and have a daily reminder of your creative realm, a physical milestone that says, "On this day I created something unique and special, I am an artist."
Real photos make you feel like a real photographer.