I believe a photograph is never truly finished until it's printed. You can make all the Web galleries you want, present slideshows, share photos by email... but for generations, the intrinsic nature of viewing a photograph has meant viewing a print.
Of course, in this digital age, many more photos are shared electronically than are viewed as prints. I think this is unfortunate, for several reasons. First, color management: send ten people your photo to view on their computer monitors; ten people will see different colors in the photo. Today, this is an inescapable fact. Second, resolution: transmitting photos electronically requires lower resolution than can be achieved in a fine print, and thus, a loss of detail.
Nothing can take the place of standing in person before a great print, illuminated by good light. It can take your breath away. Call me "old school" if you will, but sharing snaps from your cell phone's camera on Facebook isn't true photography. These quick, often temporary, digital images certainly have their place—especially online—but the real art of photography remains in deference to the final print.
I realize that as times change, so will this standard. There's no escaping digital, and maybe there will come a time that photos won't often be printed on paper (maybe because paper is no longer available). But I hope even a century from now a photo printed on fine paper will still have special significance.
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