LONG BEACH, Calif. – Dec. 20, 2010 – To print photos in faraway places, Doug Henderson travels the world with a small battery-powered Epson PictureMate® Charm Compact Photo Printer. The photographer often hands out 4” x 6” prints to the people he photographs, many in remote regions who never before saw themselves in a photo. During a recent trip to West Africa, he saw the prints recreate the same magic he has seen in other third world countries.
“Holding photos of loved ones in their own hands is a miracle to these indigenous people,” said Henderson, an Oklahoma-based photographer and designer. Known for his travel photography and widely published photos of the Oklahoma City bombing, Henderson also teaches digital photography, leads photo safaris, and authors books. He is currently working on a photo book documenting the slave trading castles that imprisoned millions of African people before transported as slave labor.
Charming a Small Village
Henderson stopped by a small village of mud huts in central Ghana and arranged to photograph its inhabitants if he gave them prints in return. “As I unpacked my equipment, I was yet again amazed by the sturdiness of the PictureMate Charm,” said Henderson. “That little printer bounces in the back of a four-wheel drive for days in incredible heat, humidity and dust, and along the African coast in salt water and rain.” Surrounded by women in bright cotton dresses and wide-eyed children, he took a few photos and then inserted the flash card into the printer resting on the red-clay earth beside him. After pressing the Print button, he printed a 4” x 6” photo in as fast as 37 seconds. “After they saw that first picture, everyone at once wanted their photo taken,” said Henderson. After photographing each of them, he quickly previewed the photos on PictureMate Charm’s 2.5-inch LCD photo viewer, and used PC-free photo editing to crop, remove red eye or enhance the image.
“I am always surprised that such a small-format printer can produce that sort of print quality, color and detail in the middle of nowhere,” said Henderson. As soon as the photos leave the printer, they are dry, smudge-, scratch- and water-resistant, no matter how many hands reach out for them. The prints are also fade resistant, lasting up to four times longer than traditional photo lab prints. The PictureMate Charm can also print wirelessly from PDAs and digital camera cell phones with an optional Bluetooth® adapter.
After leaving the village, Henderson continued his West African trip in Ghana, Gambia and Senegal, photographing the remains of slave-trading castles for his book project. Earlier in the year, he also traveled to Uganda to photograph an AIDS orphanage. He made another excursion to the Amazon rainforest, where he left behind a few hundred 4” x 6” print miracles” in remote river villages.
“When I first had the idea to travel with the PictureMate Charm, I didn’t expect to get much out of a battery-operated printer that probably wasn’t made for trips to sub-Saharan or tropical climates,” he said. “But I’m always amazed at how well this little printer travels, how long the battery lasts, how beautiful the 4” x 6" prints are, and how I can now give back to those people in faraway places who let me take their photographs.”