Vimal Parmar: How about creating a printing culture around the World Photography Day?

The World Photography Day is celebrated on 19 August. The aim: to bring photographers and photo enthusiasts worldwide together to honour the art, science, and history of photography. From its humble beginnings in the 19th century to today's digital avatar, photography has evolved.

19 Aug 2023 | By PrintWeek Team

The World Photography Day owes its existence to the vision of India's pioneering photographer, O P Sharma. He proposed this day to celebrate photography's global impact and penned persuasive letters to photography societies, such as the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and the Photographic Society of America (PSA). His idea resonated with photography enthusiasts worldwide, emphasising how photography's universal language transcends borders to capture shared human experiences.

And so, since 1991, on 19 August has been recognised as World Photography Day.

The significance of 19 August lies in its association with the official announcement of the daguerreotype process by the French government in 1839. Developed by Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce, this technique produced images on silver-plated copper sheets, revealing images when developed with mercury vapour.

Our print community has several photo enthusiasts. One need not use a fancy DSLR or a mirrorless camera. These days, a smartphone is good enough. One need not be a member of a photography club to celebrate this day. Each and every citizen can be a part of this celebration. A few suggestions: embark on photo walks; embrace new techniques; create a photo essay.

Decide on a theme and create a series of images around this topic. The subject could be anything. Could be a bunch of abstract images, a day in the life of someone, images made at a park where one goes for morning walks or better still how one single job at your press goes through from start to finish – including people who handle the job, will make it a fab fable. About 40-50 images should be good enough. Let the project end in a compact photobook no bigger than A4 in size. Or maybe even A5. Sign every book and gift the book to friends and family. 

As printers (and master printers), it is our duty to keep the print flag flying high. No other industry will do it for us. The onus is on us to promote print – not just signages, publications and packaging but the printing of photographs too.

Meanwhile here are some numbers to crunch. Rise Above Research, a market intelligence and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging industry, estimates that 1.6 trillion photos will be shot in 2023. This represents a 7.5% increase over 2022 and growth is expected to continue, driven by the popularity of smartphones.

And to quote Research and Markets, "The global photo printing market in 2022 was valued at USD 20.41 billion. The market value is projected to reach USD 29.19 billion by 2028."

With 10 million weddings in India and about 1.5 crore wedding albums being printed annually, and growing, shows the opportunity available. But the best is yet to come, in terms of consumer photobooks which are yet to take off in India. The opportunity is huge, given the number of photo enthusiasts in India.

A bit of nudge, maybe a push, can help open this segment where the volumes could go beyond the current wedding album numbers. Kinds of subjects can be varied – travel books, birthday books, family albums, and school books.

In terms of printing technology, we are no longer dependent on a single technology. Today the options for printing photographs are several – silver halide, inkjet, electrophotography, and dye diffusion thermal transfer (D2T2). And so are a huge number of customised photo products where sublimation printing also has a role to play.

The photo print segment has not made it easy for 1.4-billion Indians to reach us. On a generic level, if eggs, almonds and millets can be marketed, why not photo printing? More so since smartphones, these days are capable of producing good printable images.

So let us work towards not only celebrating Happy World Photography Day but creating one photobook and gifting one photobook on this day. Smile, please.

Vimal Parmar is an independent marketing consultant and digital print evangelist