Why I miss printed photographs!

Published: October 6, 2012

Printed family or friends’ photos used to be a part of a person’s personal belongings. PHOTO: ERUM NAQVI

Not too long ago, photographs used to be printed and stored in proper albums. However, thanks to the social media and various digital photo sharing options, the trend of getting your photographs printed is fast vanishing.

Here are seven things I miss about the printed photographs era.

1.  The big, fancy albums:

Facebook albums might have tried to replace the good ol’ albums that the whole family used to treasure, but they can never, ever have the same sentimental value. We will probably realise this to a fuller extent after a decade or two.

2.  Ageing:

Printed photographs age with the passage of time. The older they get the better. The yellowish tinge that these photos get with time is priceless – it gives them a real feel of timelessness. They speak of their own age and are thus priceless.

3.  Group viewing:

Stuck in an age of smart phones and laptops, none of us has enough time to share the photo viewing experience with our friends or family. Printed photos used to bring everyone together, huddled over one album, giggling, laughing pointing and reminiscing.

4.  The randomness:

Due to the results being unknown, all photographs used to get printed. Now that was fun! Seeing various moments flash by, captured sometimes without the subject noticing the presence of a camera was a real joy. When you went to pick up developed pictures, a feeling of excitement would grip you, and you would wonder what treasures would be revealed with this album.

5.  Possession:

Digital photographs remain digital! We miss at least one pleasure when we store our photos digitally, the possession. Printed family or friends’ photos used to be a part of a person’s personal belongings.

6.  The imperfection:

Printed photographs were almost always not perfect. Due to the number of prints being limited, nobody could afford to get a million photos taken. Now it’s all too artificial. Even if we take random photos, only those are displayed which are flawless.

7.  Value:

Due to the constant updates on Facebook and Twitter, we only get to see the most recent things whenever we log in. Therefore there are loads that we miss out on. In the days gone by, photographs of important events used to be just that; important!

Yes, as you can already tell, I really miss printed pictures. I hope this is one thing we can turn back to, because whether you like to admit it or not, printed pictures are a real treasure.


Read more by Erum here.

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Erum Fatima

Erum Fatima

The author is a banker turned into a freelancer, who is trying to juggle motherhood with work, and squeezing some random writing in between. She tweets as @erum_fatimaa (twitter.com/erum_fatimaa)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez


  • Osman

    well we can also print the digital photos :/Recommend

  • sana

    A very cute blog:-)Recommend

  • http://fatimazee.blogspot.com fatima

    Nostalgia hitsRecommend

  • Aheelam

    Agreeeeed 100 percent!Recommend

  • asher

    yeah osman digital photos can n r printed..but they r again only those tat r perfect..i agree to this blogRecommend

  • nostalgic

    ahhhh group viewing. I remember how that used to be part of our family gatherings and visits. Each pic was commented upon as if we were viewing it for the first time :(Recommend

  • warda

    good read but i think that has happened to everything that we remember from our childhood. probably this is life . sad but true!Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Nostalgia is deleted by Digital ImagingRecommend

  • ovais khan

    the feel when you hold the pics is priceless when you got know they are from that time when you were so young get know whats happening out htereRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/awan.ced?ref=tn_tnmn Sohail Ahmad Awan

    Well i really loved and enjoyed this blog.. I am also of the same opinion and loved the printed photographs.. That seemed to be bit natural as compared to digital world.. And the printed photographs are still a real memory, while we usually forget snaps taken by our digital cameras and then saved to some folder.. I really loved your blog Irum Naqvi.. Nice analysis.. Keep it up..

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    You are so right. I will have a long break from work starting next week and I pull out the real photographs and place it somewhere accessible. Recommend

  • sana khan

    enjoyed the piece but yeah we can and should print the photographs taken with our digital cameras. Our kids will miss the pleasure otherwiseRecommend

  • Uzma

    sweet readRecommend

  • Fatima

    lovely pictures :D made me take out mineRecommend

  • Aiman

    I absolutely agree with you Erum. I also miss that era of printed photographs. I remember that back in 2002 we used to get printed photographs…… and since after that I have no printed photograph of mine except the passport size photos for official purposesRecommend

  • ioer

    You can still print digital pictures if you want to. We’re just too lazy to do it. Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    ioer this is exactly what we are in every walk of life, sadlyRecommend

  • rehan

    wonderful!! dil ki baat kar di aap ne :) love the post, keep it up!Recommend

  • Nayla

    I still print my digital photos, but now, instead of single prints, I just make photobooks! Recommend

  • Mukhtar Ahmed

    I can relate to the possession part. We still have one from decades ago that has a ringing bell in it so that one can listen to the music while watching the album :)Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/908/erum-naqvi/ Erum

    thanx for the feedback, dear readers :)Recommend

  • Danish Ali Bhutto

    You have pointed it out pretty rightly. Printed pictures were and still are a treasure worth keeping. Sad enough however that everything “Artificial” seems to replace things which were invaluable. The most important part is “Imperfect We” in those printed pics. The smiles those misshaped pics bring are unparallelled. Wonderful nostalgia.Recommend