A Promise is a Promise

A Promise is a Promise

The poet Robert Service once said, “A promise made is a debt unpaid“. I have several debts that need to be paid. How about you? Have you ever promised someone that you’d send them their photo and then just forget about it. Maybe on purpose. Maybe out of just laziness. Maybe your just too busy and a little unorganized. For me it’s more the latter than the other two.

It’s nagging at me and I must follow through. “In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.” Why do I promise such things? The woman above, is one of many photos I promised to send back to India after my workshop there. But, I will confess to you here, I have yet to do it. I will. But I haven’t…yet. I have a stack of little scraps of paper but now it’s a matter of trying to remember whose picture goes with whose name. What I try to do, but often forget at the actual moment, is take a picture of my subjects holding their address that they have just written. This is the easiest way to remember whose photo goes with each address.

Now, I can hear some of you saying, “Matt, why didn’t you just use your Pogo printer?”  I do like to use that, and it saves me a lot of trouble when it works. My problem is, the batteries don’t seem to ever stay charged. I only seem to get one to two prints from each battery. I may look into the point-and-shoot version of it. But for now, I know this week is filled with printing and mailing.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.

15 Comments

  1. johnbatdorffii

    Matt,

    I too have a stack of addresses to mail prints to…I looked into the Polaroid Point/Shoot but it was out of stock at the time. I'll be curious what you think of it (if you pick it up). The film is not cheap but I guess it's cheaper than mailing prints… 😉

    Reply
  2. kevin dowie

    Matt, I have the same issue, promises to keep, photos to send (and I will). Wish I'd thought of the photograph the note idea!

    Reply
  3. Jon McCormack

    Matt,

    As you well know, this is totally worth doing. Every time I get to give someone a photograph it makes my day, let alone theirs!

    One comment on the polaroid point & shoot. I have one and I'm not a huge fan. Poor battery life, long time to print, small images. I've had a couple of times where I ran out of battery and there was still a line of kids – that broke some hearts (including mine)!

    Last time I was in India I took a small portable HP printer that could print 4x6s. I'd print photos back in the hotel at night and drop them off in the morning – that worked well since I was in the same place for a while.

    Most of the time I just do a bulk order to mpix. Images arrive in a few days and I send them off.

    Reply
  4. Kirk Carter

    Assuming you have only a handful of confused photos/addresses, perhaps you could send each person all the prints, with apologies about the extras. Sure, it will cost a couple of bucks. But you'll feel so much better.

    Reply
  5. peter berg

    yes, less pomises, more action:)

    i really really like the pic by the way… something about the framing hit me right away. nice job.

    Reply
  6. Matt Brandon

    Kirk, I guess that would be a way around if I only had a dozen or so. But usually I return with over 4,000 image from a trip like this. So not a real option. But thanks for the suggestion. I will work it out…eventually. I just have to learn to be more diligent at photographing the addresses.

    Reply
  7. Matt Brandon

    Jon, I knew you had the Pogo camera and I was hoping you would comment. Though it's not what I wanted to hear. Sorry, for both of us, that it seems as unreliable as the printer. I was counting on it. The printer sounds like it might work, maybe… How heavy is it? What model is it?

    Reply
  8. Matt Brandon

    It works IF you can remember to do it.

    Reply
  9. Matt Brandon

    John, My lucky friend. As you can read from Jon M.'s post, it looks like the Pogo camera is not much better than the printer, only a little handier. Maybe we should just go back to the Polaroid 300 and shoot film again.

    Reply
  10. ShellyHan

    wow–what great timing. I was just working through several of my own scraps of paper and following up on e-mails to those I promised to send pictures. I also was confused about who was who, even though at the time I was absolutely sure I would remember…
    This is such a great idea to take a picture of the address with the person. Thanks for sharing and here's to promises kept!

    Reply
  11. Antoine R

    I just bought a pogo printer for the same use and already have trouble getting some additional Zink paper (I'm in France). So I'm quite disappointed to hear I might be disappointed in the field. I'm preparing a 12 months continuous travel and I expect this tool to help me solve the issue of photo gift. Well, I guess I'll just do what I can to recharge it as often as possible… Because I also already have quite a lot of photos to print and post!

    Reply
  12. Marcus

    I like the photo-the-note idea. I do that with my iPhone when I see numbers I need to remember or something.

    Mind you, the note in the image would be little help to me, I must say! I'll try to remember all this when I am in India in September/October.

    Reply
  13. Matt Brandon

    “Mind you, the note in the image would be little help to me”

    AHH! But it would. All you would need to do is print the photo of the note or photocopy the it. Then tape it to the envelope. If you are mailing it from abroad, just right in big letters at the bottom, INDIA. Once he gets to India it will have no problem being delivered. Whether you understand the writing or not isn't really the issue. The issue is, it gets to the person.

    Reply
  14. Marcus

    I'm not sure that I would rely on New Zealand Post to cope with that….they seem to have trouble with plain English addresses sometimes!!

    Reply

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