The Wedding Photograph as an Object

One aspect of the nature of photography that has always interested me is the ability to take something from real life and transform it into a physical object of emotional value.  I’ll reference the staircase at my parent’s house lined with family and wedding photos stretching back four generations.  My own grandparents as toddlers! I feel confident saying that any one of these printed and framed black and white images feels more precious than if the same image were posted in a Facebook album and shared on my timeline.

I think one important thing to remember is that these heirloom photographs require an investment up front.  Were my grandparents wed today I would hope that they would have the foresight to know that a disc of images printed at their local shop or a wedding album purchased through Groupon may not last until their fifth wedding anniversary let alone the birth of their first grandchild.  If someone came to me today and said, Nate, I have the only copy of a photo of your grandparents on their wedding day during WWII (war bride! true story. photo looks great!) and I’m willing to sell it to you.  How much do you think I’d consider paying for it now in 2012?  What if this stranger said the price was $1000 for the one print?  What about $2000?  $10,000?  How many of my relatives, friends, coworkers and readers would I solicit money from in order to obtain that print?….what if I told you, Had my grandparent’s invested $100 in today’s dollars to own that one wedding print, I could own it sixty-eight years later, the quality of the printed image would be preserved, and I could avoid the emotional (and financial!) extortion I mentioned above.  Discs are lost, hard drives crash, and inferior quality products turn to dust, fall apart, and fade over a short time.  They also don’t look great!

I would encourage you to think about your wedding photography in this way.  It’s not about how much you invest  today but what your grandchildren will have to invest if you don’t.  Wherever you choose to invest, you should invest in one-of-a-kind quality.  Your wedding photographer should offer that for your one-of-a-kind wedding experience.  A quality product that is as unique to you as you are to the world.  What unique wedding photography heirlooms do you own?  Or what would you like to see offered?

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