Jesus, China, a Civil War Surgeon and Printing your Photos [Ramsey Portrait Art]

The 8-track tape didn’t live long enough to legally drink in America (only 20 years).

Though still being produced for a few audiophiles, I suspect that you don’t have a player for your vinyl records.

As a History major in college, I toured my state’s official library, and saw 100+ years of history stored on Microfiche.


If today you wanted to listen to an 8-track, or a vinyl record, or read history copied onto microfiche–could you? The information is there, but could you access it?

In 1995, as the aforementioned History student, I wrote a research paper about a Civil War surgeon. He was from Maine, an ardent supporter of the Northern cause . . . until he wasn’t. He switched sides. Midway through the war, he went to work as a surgeon for the Confederacy, traveled with a slave (Jim, of whom he always spoke fondly), and ended his service supporting the Southern cause.

The Civil War spanned from 1861-1865. In 1995, my Senior year in college, I couldn’t easily listen to an 8-track or a vinyl album. Yet I could interact with a surgeon who was alive during the Battle of the Alamo.


He wrote letters. 45 of them. And they were all on paper–not in an email, or on a CD, DVD, 8-track, Beta disk, or vinyl.

I held actual paper in my hands, with real ink on it, and read the letters he actually wrote.

I also have letters that my Grandfather wrote to my Grandmother during WWII. And I have the telegraph that his parents received, informing him that he was MIA. And then he was a POW. And 14 months later that he’d escaped, and was on his way home.

All of these tidbits of history were recorded for generations yet to be born–on paper and ink.

Paper and ink are enduring. They last for generations, and anyone can immediately look to see what’s there.

How old is paper, you ask? 1.5 generations after Jesus walked the Earth, the Chinese invented paper as we know it. John, the disciple of Jesus, had only recently died.

Is your family history recorded on an 8-track? A floppy disk? On an email on your Juno account?

If you have not printed your digital images on paper and ink, then YES! Your family’s history is preserved on VHS. Those memories are going the way of the dinosaur. I beg you–return to paper and ink!!!!


Occasionally we hear the question from a new client: “Do you sell digital files?”

The answer, in a word, is “no.” We’re Print Artists. We sell actual PHOTOGRAPHS.

[NOTE: An “image” is a digital recording from the camera. A “photograph” is an image that has been printed on paper.]

There are 3 reasons why we don’t sell digital images.

  1. As I explained earlier: Only paper and ink lasts. Every digital technology evolves, rendering the previous ones useless. Don’t believe me? Try to play your cassette tapes of The Eagles. I’m not only creating work for my clients, but for their kids, grandchildren, great-grandchildren . . . .
  2. Don’t print it, don’t enjoy it. You may have thousands of photo images on your computer. How often do you–or your friends–actually SEE those images? [Never.] Conversely: Come to my home, and you’ll see portraits of my family’s history on the walls. Meet me in person, ask to see my kids, and I’ll show you photos in my wallet. Paper and ink make it easy for you and others to enjoy. [POST SCRIPT: Beware of storing images on your computer! Take a guess–how many of my computers have eventually died? Answer: ALL of them. Storing your images on a computer, or an external drive, will eventually lead to no images at all. Sadly, I know this personally.]
  3. Paper, ink, and the printing process are not created equal. We work with our professional photo lab to ensure that all of our work is printed to our standards. Before I click the shutter, I know how I want the final portrait to look. 98% of the time, our lab prints it beautifully. The other 2%, I send it back for a reprint, and we work in harmony to get it right. If someone claims they’ll take the digital file to get printed (they won’t), I can’t be sure the final product will be something that their great-grandchildren will love.

If you enjoy an image, so will your future generations. If you don’t print it, they’ll never see it. Please: PRINT THE IMAGES THAT YOU LOVE. If not for you and your friends today, print them for the people you may have not met yet.

I’m mr. bill of Ramsey Portrait Art, and I approve this message.

****Regarding the Civil War surgeon. You’re wondering why he switched sides. Me, too! I have no idea. The gap in his letters doesn’t indicate.

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