Preserving memories through print

How are printed photographs superior to digitally stored images? Dharwad, Karnataka-based New Foto Fox Studio has a spot-on answer printed and pasted on a wall at its studio. Aultrin Vijay reports

22 Nov 2021 | By Aultrin Vijay

“Print your photographs because a hard drive doesn’t trigger a smile,” reads a poster at the entrance of New Foto Fox Studio and Digital Color Lab in Dharwad, Karnataka. The quote is a testament to why print is thriving today in an age of digitisation.

Shrinivas V Malji, proprietor of the studio, explains: “In the era of digitisation, the charm of getting the photograph printed and preserving it for cherishing the memories is somewhat getting faded off. Today, consumers do not realise the importance of printed photographs.

“The quote was really a trigger to make people realise that memories can only be brought to life through print and not by just saving them in the hard disk of a computer or a phone.”

He says such a thought process can also boost the declining photography printing business. “There should be more initiatives like this at a larger forum that will indeed support the declining printing business.”

The studio, a family-owned business, was established in 1983 by Malji’s father Vasudev G Malji. During the initial days, the small studio used to print black and white.
Today, it is into wedding photography, enlargement printing, photo frames and laminations, digital photo albums, tabletop photography, candid photography, digital design editing and mixing, and more.

Photography, print and more
According to Malji, in printed photographs, the intent is to preserve it more carefully, unlike the digital one, which is always there in the ‘folder’, but can be lost in the bundle of ‘files’ and ‘folders’.

Malji says, “It leads an unknown person to imagine the lifestyle, family, culture and personality by merely looking at the beautiful moments captured and frozen into a printed photograph.”

For Malji, print means “making alive a moment that has been captured in the past, but still make it so refreshing that you feel and live the moment again”.

Apart from print, for Malji, the process of taking a photograph is as inspiring as a printed photograph. Multiple elements such as the aspect ratio, angle of capture, colours, sharpness, texture and more are equally important in photography as with a printed photograph.

He adds that colour correction is equally important in print. However, printing a photograph can be, at times, tricky. Malji says fluorescent colours are especially tricky to print due to the complexity involved in printing such shades.

Bittersweet outlook
Like all other print establishments, Malji’s studio also suffered great losses during the lockdown period. Due to the lockdown restrictions, almost no weddings or other functions were conducted during the period, which resulted in zero business for the studio. However, he expects things to be normal with the easing of restrictions and reduction in caseload of Covid-19.

About digital media outsmarting print, Malji is of the opinion that digital could see at least 30% growth over print in years to come. He says, “The smile factor on digital media mainly depends on the devices through which it is consumed and the image quality.”

He believes that there will be more changes in terms of technology related to photography and printing equipment. “There will be more options with low-cost printing solutions, but there will be questions related to their durability and long-life usage,” Malji says.

Will digital photos make printed photographs obsolete 10 years from now? “Not completely, but print will have challenges to face,” concludes Malji.

Rapid fire with Shrinivas Malji

A short note about Dharwad
Dharwad is one of the major destinations and cultural headquarters of North Karnataka. The name Dharwad originated from the Sanskrit word Dwarawata, which means ‘door town’ and is quite famous for its Dharwad peda – a milk-based sweetmeat. Dharwad is quite popular for its historical temples and monuments. It has a number of sacred and pious religious sites, which are revered among the Hindu community.

Favourite photographer
Max Vadukul.

Favourite colour

Favourite genre of photography
Fine art portraits.

A quote that keeps you going
 “Patience is the key to success.”