Remember contact sheets? Or proof sheets? They’re from the old day, you know….film days. Basically, a contact sheet is a film positive print of several thumbnails showing the images from a roll of film. They came standard with film processing up until a few years ago. Now I don’t know anyone who does them.
Boo. I love contact sheets, and since I couldn’t find them anymore, I started making them myself. True, they’re digital, but the thing I love most about them is still intact. I get to see all (or in this digital age, a selection) of photos all laid out and printed on the same page, as thumbnails.
Over the years I’ve collected a number of contact sheets; mostly from the old days, but also some newer ones. I’ve framed and hung them and I have them in my photo albums. I think they tell a story (like the storyboards like a lot of photographers do these days). Without having to print and frame up to a dozen photos, you can order a contact sheet at a big size, say, 13×19, and frame it! It is really awesome to see them framed. I think of them not really as proofs, but as pieces of art.
I’ve recently started giving a few clients contact sheets like this. They can use them to pick the photos they want printed (remember that all monitors see and display colors differently, so a contact sheet gives you the truest representation of what your photos will look like once printed). For that reason alone, they’re extremely valuable.
This is one I created from a series of self-portraits (in which Jack is subtlely photobombing me. Look up “contact sheets” on Pinterest and you’ll likely find a lot of way to highlight them. And when you get one printed, take my advice and get it BIG. As large as possible.
You’ll love it. Honest.