I recently visited the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden in my beloved Bronx. I spent two hours enjoying the beginning of spring by taking pictures and relaxing among 10,000 orchids and 500 like-minded people. Most people were taking pictures with their smartphones or tablets. I was part of the crowd, equipped with my iPad, but by the end of my visit I went to the garden’s bookstore and gift shop.
The books were displayed in a beautiful setting among flowers, plants, and mood lighting, but the store wasn’t busy. This allowed me to compare a few of the flower photography prints in the books to the photos I took with my iPad. The iPad photos were all right compared to the professional pieces, but they did not jump out off the screen the way they did when I was looking at the printed material. I thought about all of the people who bypassed the store to beat the traffic home and missed out on a big part of the experience.
I have been taking photos of popular bookstores throughout New York City the last few months, and I find it sad that they are slowly disappearing. Though many protest, I still find an attraction to the physical printed piece, which always seems to have a lasting impression that its digital counterparts can’t seem to replicate. When the bookstore becomes extinct, both a visual and physical component of reading will be lost. The sense of touch as experienced with textured paper or the smell of a piece straight off the press is just as much of the fun as the content.
I must confess, however, that this blog was written on my iPad and my Botanical Garden photos have all been uploaded to my Facebook profile. There’s no doubt that digital technology makes our lives easier and information much more accessible. If I ever need to look up one of the flowers from the garden, I don’t have to go all the way back to the store––I can find it online.
In my next post, I will be sharing the results of a survey I conducted of younger generations and their feelings toward printed pieces and print aggregators like bookstores and libraries. You know this dinosaur loves his print, but how important is it to the new hands in this industry? Stay tuned to find out.
Author: Joe Corbo