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Real Photo Paper - a changing dynamic

by Don Bullock,
Founder, RealEnduraPhotographs.com


     Who would have predicted the growing new interest by consumers in 'real photo paper'.  As families spend more time at home together, lasting life memories are gaining value when compared to past technologies that offer temporary, instant gratification.
     In a recent Wired Magazine issue, Steven Levy wrote, "When technology that once astonished us becomes common, gadgets start to seem less compelling."  Digital gadgets, once defined by innovation, are now taking on a reputation of quick obsolescence and instantly declining value.
     During his sales consultations, one of our lab's professional photographers asks his customers  this great question, "what else can you buy today that appreciates in value and as time goes by, becomes priceless?"  He of course, was referring to his studio's wall portraits and real photo keepsake books of children who are his specialty.
     A couple of years ago during the wildfires in California, I saw a TV reporter interviewing a family who had been told the night before, that they had 10 minutes to grab what they could and leave their home. When the mother was asked what she did, she told her husband to get their sons, the dog, and their insurance papers.  I couldn't help but notice what she grabbed.  Under one arm was her framed family portrait and in the other was her wedding album.   Sadly, current brides who are subscribing to the services of so-called 'shoot and burn' photographers probably won't be able to find their CD or even remember their wedding images that are somewhere on their computer. 
     Last fall, a sales rep from Noritsu visited with me here at the lab.  During our discussion, he asked where to go to have a book of family pictures for his wife that was "not like the ones from a retailer on cheap paper". Instead he wanted one made with what he called "real pictures".  I asked if he'd checked online and he said that he really didn't know the words to type in to Google to find such a book.  This discussion is what prompted me to try and figure out if there were others who had interest in silver halide photographs or books and if so, what were they typing into an internet search engine.
     In February we began research to determine if there were people interested in photographs and books made from silver halide  photo paper and if so, what were they typing in search engines.  Quickly it became obvious in WordTracker  that people were looking for 'real photos'.  Using this data, we began implementing Search Engine Optimization on the RealEnduraPhotographs.com website.  Not only did we focus on real photo paper, but found that Kodak Endura was of high interest as well.
    One last thing...
    Recently my Uncle in Indiana passed away on the day of his 93rd birthday.  While at the funeral home, my brother photographed a wall of photographs that a family member had put up in memory of Uncle Ernie.  One photograph instantly  jumped out at me from all the rest.  It was a sepia tone photograph of Uncle Ernie and Aunt Zelma that was taken on my grandparents Kentucky family farm the day they were married.  Their wedding day photograph showed Uncle Ernie in his newest suspenders, Aunt Zelma in her Sunday best, and their two mules with a mound of soy beans in the background. Most every time I visited with Uncle Ernie as I was growing up, he always wore a hat that was sort of tilted on the side of his head.  I had forgotten about the way he always wore that hat until I saw it again in their photograph. 

    Since I first saw it, I've often wondered... what if this had been taken with a cell phone or a digital camera and given to them on a CD or in a digital picture frame? Today, no one would have ever known it existed.  But thanks to a photographer who used real photo paper - the memory of my Uncle and Aunt will have a chance to live on for another 200 years or so.

     Our mission is to offer engaging and accurate responses to the growing questions now surrounding real photo paper and it's importance.  Rather than let the current generation become known as the 'generation without pictures', we will take each opportunity to prevent this dynamic from coming true.  Our explanations and responses as to why real photographs must be made, will insure the instant gratification of today's digital capture will continue to gratify each and every time someone touches that same moment - in a real photograph.



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Last modified: 01/14/14