Why do we take photographs?
One of my favourite things to do when I was a little girl was to open my mother’s chest of drawers. The wooden one that used to be my grandmothers, it smelt of pressed flowers. I would unlock the door and pull out three albums, pale blue, yellow and pink. Inside were faded Polaroid’s of baby me. Born two and a half months premature I was fascinated by the images. Tiny and unrecognisable, held gently by a young looking girl that I did not recognise, who had my mother’s smile.
You have probably turned through the crinkled pages of your own family photo albums and re-lived the sepia the memories you saw in the pictures. Moments happen all the time and they can happen fast. A first step, a swing of a bat, laughter and a flickering birthday candle in a cake with blue icing.
Now a mother myself I find myself often looking through the lens. Seeking to capture my son’s childhood, a mood, or a feeling. To encapsulate the times that will be lost to the shadows of my hazy sleep deprived brain. A moment in time can be frozen, preserved forever, never to come again. We document our lives in filtered cue cards to help us recall with greater clarity, the experiences of parenthood.
Is a picture worth a thousand words?
There are, at last count, 1120 photos in my iPhoto library. 1120 of them are of my son.
Social media has spurred a proliferation of images. The world is one of snaps and emoji’s. Gifs and photo feeds. My mobile screen is filled with thousands of photographs, memories, black and white stills. Some are professional and posed, others snapped in an opportunistic, blurry edged movement. Do we still value the modern photograph the same as those taken 20 years ago? I can still recall when you had to wind up bulky cameras borrowed from your neighbours and trek to get them printed on film.
Pictures were carefully placed in bound files and brought out on special occasions.
Has this technology changed the value of a photo forever?
Tap, swipe, delete. It is so easy to take photos today, and equally to delete them. I cast off blurry pictures and duplicate images. Have we lost respect for photos, have they become disposable? One regret is that I haven’t taken more photographs. The other is that I haven’t thrown more away. Some comment that the current generation is over photographed. That parents discard pictures that don’t show ‘perfection’. That they are not realistic. Will the pose and pretence encourage vanity, promote anxiety? Parenting is imperfection. The shots where I am tired, fed up, where the house is a mess, that’s life. Whilst I enjoy a rose tinted filer #Lionessmama Instagram community was created for haggard headshots and crying children. For support and unity. For a giggle.
Are their risks in being a ‘Sharent?’
With more than 600 million monthly users on Instagram www.cartridgesave.co.uk asked 1040 people aged over 18: “Are you happy sharing photos of your children online?” The results found that 83% of parents who responded to the survey were wary of sharing photos of their children online, while just 17% were fine with it. (Read the article on Geek Extreme).
Who do you take pictures for, and who do you share them to? Do we put our children & selves at risk in having an online presence? There is argument for and against but I think the most reassuring element to the statistic above that parents are ‘wary’. That they are understanding and aware of the risks. Of the digital footprints of our children and that sharing images is fast becoming a societal norm.
We are a world online.
Do we spend too much time behind the camera?
An Instagram community that I love is #Mummyshot. Created for the images of your children that are taken when your children don’t know. The views we often has as parents. You come to notice that parents can fade away behind the camera, unseen. Or that you are so focused wanting to create beautiful memories that you forget to be involved making them. To play and dance and sing.
Sometimes I need to step back and just enjoy. It’s important to be a participant and not just a spectator. Decide to put the camera down as well as picking it up.
Why do you take photos, do you think they are treasured? Do you think we share to much and are we missing our children’s childhoods stuck behind a lens?
Disclaimer: This information is from a press release by Cartridge Save.
I love taking photos and try to print our favourites. I worry that I spend too much time with my camera/phone, but I know I’d regret it when my daughter’s older if I didn’t have them. #stayclassymama
What I’ve noticed is this: since stating blogging, I have way less photos of my kid’s faces (I try to keep them out of the blog) and loads of photos of them doing things from weird angles. So sad. I need to cop on, don’t I! This post is a bit of an awakening! #stayclassymama
I sometimes think we are too addicted to taking photos. Prime example yesterday i thought “oh crap i don’t have anything for my instagram feed”. I HATE THAT!! I don’t want to take photos just for the sake of it, but that’s where we are now! And yes sometimes I do force myself to put the phone away and just be int he moment. It’ll be gone before we know it and I’d rather have the memory (in my head) of playing and being with my child. But having said that we are so lucky to be able to document our/our children’s lives now but I do miss proper printed out photos. I’m a back of the head/side on photographer of my daughter, I feel it helps “protect” her from this online world in some way (though realistically I wonder how much). It’s now kind of my style too. Great post xx #Stayclassymama
I am a serial photo sharing machine, Instagram is by far my social media of choice and my children (mainly my youngest as the eldest isn’t keen on having his photo taken) are the sole participants in my little squares, I know that to some people this would be ridiculous but we brand rep for a few different shops and I love to take photographs way more than I love to be in them. I have some photos that are for social media and some that are for me, I also love the #mummyshot. A few of my friends have commented on my oversharing and things but they are my children and it is my choice what I choose to let people see, I am wary about what the children are wearing and make sure nothing is on show that I would be concerned about the world seeing but I love to share our life with others. I have now started putting my camera away after fifteen minutes (yes I am so juvenile that I need to set myself time limits :’)) so that I can properly join in the fun as I started too feel like I was too busy observing and not busy enough joining in but I still love nothing more than flicking through my photos in the evening and remembering how much fun the day has been. #stayclassymama
Yes! I definitely spend too much time behind the camera but I do love photography, the feeling of getting ‘that shot’ when you do is brilliant. I am quite good at rotating photographs and updating photos in our house. I have a wall with polaroids that I clip on, so I update these all the time, which I love doing. I do as many others do worry about sharing pictures of the kids online, how will they feel about it when they’re older. Hmmm, still not sure on this one. #stayclassymam
We get photos printed for family but not for ourselves. I love looking back through the computer files but it isn’t the same 🙁 I remember looking through my baby photo albums and loving them, my sister did a photobook for her kids and it’s beautiful. #StayClassyMama
When I was pregnant I had all of these lovely ideas of making ‘scrapbooks’ with photos at jaunty angles and quirky drawings, glitter and ribbons adorning them… however… reality has not allowed me to achieve this while working full time, planning a wedding and running a blog. I have found solace in my partners obsession with getting our most beautiful photos printed onto canvasses which are hung around our living room… I have thousands of photos but the most special are often drawn by our artist friend or printed onto canvasses… or simply framed and on our bedside table <3 #stayclassymama
Great post about this topic. My iPhone is filled with images, and I love that — and I stop and get present so I can be in the memory, not just look at it! #stayclassymama xo
I definitely spend a lot of time behind the camera but I do think it’ll be lovely to have so many photos to look back on. I take and keep less than perfect ones but I do discard a lot. I don’t think it’ll be as fun as it was to look through old photo albums but everything is digital now and our children won’t know any different! #stayclassymama
What an interesting post that really got me thinking. I’ll be completely honest I’m guilty of taking hundreds of pictures in the hope of finding that special one. The way I take pictures has altered since I started my blog and my presence online increased. I have over 4000 pictures on my cloud. Do I value them all? Probably not. Would I be gutted if I woke up and half were missing? Definitely! #stayclassymama
I literally was just thinking about this yesterday when I was sorting through some old photos. By old, I mean ON PAPER. I do kind of feel like we don’t cherish them the same anymore. They’re scattered about on our phones, computers, and zip sticks. The framed photo is truly dying. I don’t think I like it!
This makes me miss the 90’s. LOL
Smooches & #stayclassymama
Photos are so powerful, they provoke such strong memories and thoughts for me, I have thousands of photos of my son and I love looking back through and reliving the moments we shared. I try not to overshare him as I’m aware of digital footprint and scared by it, I do wish we still used film though! #StayClassyMama
I try to take lots of photos to remember all the special times but do feel uncomfortable sharing them on line,so I don’t.I’m not sure why really.I think if I was more technically proficent then I would feel more confident about what was safe.So for now they are a magical window that I keep mostly just for us.#StayClassyMama
I take lots of photos and periodically we have them printed, I found one of the packs from the first month after Hugo was born. I sat and looked through them. I sometimes take pictures for my insta yeah, I edit them, I don’t feel bad anymore. I almost have a double photo reel. Ones for me at home, the ones I treasure, then the ones that go out to the world. I think it’s about making sure that children know how to handle themselves online rather than shield them from it entirely. #Stayclassymama
This really made me think. I take loads of photos of my daughter, but they’re not saved in any sort of treasured album – they just go off into the cloud, and many of them never get looked at again. It’s great that I have so many of them, but is it possible that because I have so many, I don’t give them the attention that they deserve? I suspect I’ll be mulling this over for some time. #stayclassymama
I am forever taking photos of my children, capturing moments which I think should be remembered. I wondered if some of these photos would ever be looked at until recently when my children went throughthem all, and loved and laughed at photos of them all when they were younger. They can’t remember any of the memories that were captured, so I realised it is important. Sometimes though I have to tell myself to step away from the lens and just enjoy the moment. A little of both is important #stayclassymama
I guess as a blogger/vlogger I don’t worry about sharing images of my children but I do have a strict internal code. If they don’t want their photo taken I don’t take it. I try not to get them to pose but recently it has become a fun game for me and Ellie to mess around in front of the camera. I will never post a bath shot or any sort of unclothed shot (I have them but they are just for me). It’s not that I don’t love seeing them but I am not sure how I would feel as a 31 year old having that sort of image on the internet of me. Even if all the delicate bits are covered. I will try and give an honest account of things and I won’t sugar coat the bad days but I also wouldn’t make it sound like everything is all their fault, because often it is my attitude and reactions that have dictated the overall mood.
I am of the mind that you need to be careful or at least mindful of what you are sharing. However our children are being born into the digital social age and I think if we spend to much time pushing against it we won’t know how to help them embrace it safely.
Sorry for the essay response but this is a topic I am very passionate about.
I don’t think we give photographs the same respect anymore – we don’t get them printed and take the time to lovingly arrange them in albums for future generations to pore over like we used to. Every now and then I like to go and get all the imperfect picture printed and put them in an album. I print the pictures that are blurry, fuzzy, catch the kids at inopportune moments. These images are what they will love to look at and laugh about in years to come. I remember my favourite pictures as a child were the ones that were accidentally double exposed. Imperfect pictures – this could become a new hashtag community I think! #StayClassyMama
This is a brilliant topic to highlight. My comments could go on and on! You make some really good points and I have really mixed feelings about the way we can delete imperfections now, about photo shopping, filters creating a slightly false picture. About the quantity of photos we take. It’s a great debate – I love posts that get me thinking! Alison x #stayclassymama
Great post! I think about this all the time, and it factors into my should I post or should I not post debate with myself. Why am I taking them if I don’t share them? This also was a question I wouldn’t have ever had to ask myself 20 years ago. I still print out every picture because I have always loved looking through my parent’s old pictures from the 50s through the 80s when I was not born or too young to remember how things were. #stayclassymama
I think that as bloggers, we probably spend too much time behind the camera. But at the same time we do end up with some amazing shots. I personally don’t delete any photos of Peachy. Even imperfect blurry ones. I just don’t share those. They are just for our family to see. They are moments I treasure. #StayClassyMama
I take photographs of my children to help us all remember our life and the things we do, the places we go.
I don’t share pics of them on my blog, but I do with my family and friends via Facebook. I live really far from them all so I use the photos of my kids on facebook as a way of keeping them ín touch’ with each other.
But ulimately the photos are for me. I have 2 external hard drives full of photos of my girls. It’s madness but that won’t stop me.