Picture making gear is rarely mentioned on this blog other than to re-enforce my oft written idea that gear doesn't matter (it's all about the pictures, stupid). However, there is one piece of picture making equipment for which I am a fanatical advocate ... a photo printer.
It is my strongly held belief that, to my eye and sensiblities, you can make as many image files with a camera as you like, but, they are not pictures until they are made into a thing. That is, a physical / tangible object, in and of itself. If ya ain't makin' prints, y'all have left the party before the fat lady sings.
That written, iMo (and I am most definitely not alone), the only manner in which to truly appreciate a photograph is by viewing a photographic print. Every other viewing platform, with the exception of well printed photo books, is merely a comprimised facsimile of the real thing.
This is especially true of viewing images online. No matter how expertly the file may have been prepared for online viewing, a viewer's impression of it is determined by the calibration, or lack thereof, and quality of his/her device's screen. Even if a device is cailbrated to within an inch of its life, it can never convey a sense of or characteristics of the surface of a print ... something to which persnickety picture print makers devote a lot of attention.
Amongst aother differences, perceptually / emotionally a computer / device screen creates a cool viewing experience whereas a print is perceived by most as a warm viewing experience. Whether a viewers consciously feels it or not, cool is off putting, warm is inviting. In the total viewing scheme of things, to my eye and sensibilities, this maters a lot.
While I could brattle on about the, to me, significant differences between screen and print viewing, what really matters most to me is how an image file, which I may have spent considerable time viewing on my monitior (during the editing / processing thereof), figuratively comes alive when it emerges from my printer. The sensation is rather like I am viewing a different image.
It is my belief that the sensation / feeling of an image "coming alive" is due to the fact that I am looking at a real thing. I can hold it, touch it and appreciate the qualities of its surface. My eyes can move over the image on the surface of a print in a manner they can not on a screen. Then there is the perception of an inky richness and depth which no screen presentation can effect.
All of the above written, my love affair with prints has created something of a problem ... I make a lot of prints. Many more prints than I have wall space to accomodate. A problem which has suggested a solution to which I am not immune ... might be time to convert 2/3s of the space in our 2-car garage into a full-fledged gallery space. Or, alternately, rent a store front space and open a gallery.