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.