By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The printed photo now has its own lobby, courtesy of a coalition of independent camera stores and minilabs that are urging consumers to merge their burgeoning digital habits with an older analog transaction.
The retailers, collectively called Certified Digital Photo Processors (CDPP), were alarmed by the falloff in in-store photo printing in the era of digital imaging. Backed by a number of manufacturers, such as Kodak and Fujifilm, the group recently launched the Web site wwww.picturesmatter.com and has begun to stump for the merits of retail photo printing.
The Pictures Matter effort will feature local, in-store educational efforts such as courses on digital photography that emphasize the importance of producing a print of every digital image, said Steve Lasher, director, CDPP. It will even employ the services of Dr. Kenneth Condrell, a child psychologist, who will tour the country giving interviews on the importance of photo prints on a child's self esteem.
The group took form about “a year and a half ago when a member was distraught that no one was printing” digital images, Lasher said.
While the group is geared to driving printing business back to CDPP members, Lasher framed the issue as one of caring for consumers' needs.
The reason people shoot photographs is to have an archival record of their memories, Lasher said. This record, he said, is endangered by promiscuous deleting of images and the pace of technological change.
While he admitted that convincing consumers to make a print of every digital image they shoot would cut against the current grain of digital photography, Lasher said that it was in consumers' long-term interest to do so.
“Consumers are storing their data on media that will become obsolete." Absent a print, they “feel there is something missing from digital photography. No one wants to sit in front of a TV or computer monitor and scroll through images — it's like the old slideshows we all hated,” Lasher said.
The group is also contending that photo prints produced in CDPP labs last longer than prints produced on inkjet printers, a claim that runs contrary to those made by home printer manufacturers and external testing services, such as Wilhelm Imaging Research.
“We all have shoe boxes of prints that have lasted for generations. They were bought in-store,” Lasher said. “I would rather put my faith in the test of time than clinical tests.”
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