Andrew Funderburg holds a photo that’s around a hundred years old, depicting a soldier from the First World War. On the back, an inscription: “Stephen Gurney – WWI (Mary Gurney Wallis’ Brother.); was killed in action shortly after photo was taken.” The image has sentimental value to Funderburg, who’s the soldier’s great-nephew and the founder of Fundy Software in Beaverton, Oregon.
“One of our core beliefs here is that prints are a bridge across generations,” Funderburg said. “This print is the perfect example – it sat in a box for 30-plus years” before being discovered by his mother, Funderburg said, giving her and him some connection to their past.
“I Googled the studio [that photographed Gurney], and incredibly it is still open and in business,” Funderburg told Digital Trends. He recently embarked on an adventure to France where he is filming a documentary, Power of Print, about the importance of the printed photo, and will be live-streaming his trip to France on Facebook. During the trip, Funderburg will visit the studio that took this image of his great-uncle, and he, too, will have his photo taken in the same place – wearing the same outfit (or as close to one he can find) as his great uncle. It’s an emotional journey, one that Funderburg wants to share.
The point is to illustrate the power of print, and bring it full circle. If digital images had been a thing back in WWI, chances are that photo would be stuck on a hard drive that’s no longer accessible. But because of the print, Funderburg and his family ended up uncovering a connection to the past – something that digital images can’t give you.
It is a big reason why Fundy Software is campaigning to push its users – professional photographers – to promote and print their clients’ images. Fundy’s primary product is Fundy Designer, software that helps photographers build and design albums for their clients more easily and faster than using traditional solutions like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop.
Offering prints as part of the service is something many photographers these days have moved away from. Funderburg said that as professional digital images started becoming popular in the latter part of the last decade, people started opting to get digital copies of their images instead of print. But that trend is changing: People are finding that the digital images just don’t have the same longevity as prints do, often being lost on a hard drive or accidentally deleted as unused files. Thousands of memories –images of family, friends, events – lost forever.
The trend, Funderburg said, is starting to tilt back in favor of print in large part thanks to the realization that digital doesn’t last. “That is one thing we have to remember: If we aren’t printing important things from our lives, even if we just write on the back of a print, or in a wedding album – our time on this Earth is just going to be erased.”
To further the cause, Fundy launched its Storyteller campaign, which focuses on the impact that printed photos can have over us. Pro photographers, like Melissa Ghionis, Pye Jirsa, and Jen Rozenbaum, share stories about the power of print and what it means to them and their clients.
So while in the digital age it’s easy to save photos to a hard drive, you may want to put some onto paper. We are not suggesting that you print every mundane photo you snap with your phone, but it may be worthwhile to print some of the more important moments, because you never know what moments will matter to your descendants, years down the line.
Updated 7/19/2016 to correct spelling of Gurney, which was incorrectly spelled as Garney.