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Author Topic: Reflections of a Grandparent  (Read 958 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: August 05, 2010, 10:05:00 PM »
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Hi Folks:

This doesn't really have any purpose per se, but my niece, nephew-in-law and great-nephew are here for a visit at the moment.  It's been wonderful having them here and aside from a few cuts and scrapes from playground equipment and things, we've been having a lot of fun.  I've noticed, however, a trend with his parents that I've also seen with my grandsons, and that is that his parents don't go anywhere without a digital still camera AND a digital video camera.  The little guy's parents do invest time with him (and I think that's wonderful), but often there seems to be more interest in capturing the moment than experiencing the moment.  

Yes, when I was little my dad had a Super 8 camera that he'd take out for birthdays and Christmases, and we did have an odd collection of different cameras over the years.  Somewhere in my mother's dresser are several folders of baby photos and things, but it's not like it is today.  Maybe the times they are a changing.  Maybe I'm just getting old.  What's better?  Images of what you saw, or memories of what you were engaged in?  Are we training our kids to be paparazzi proof?  Okay, end of rant.

Mike.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 03:45:15 AM »
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We've got a couple of digi-movie cameras, but just don't use them, and it's the inability to interact when using them that is the main cause. At least with still photography I can take a photo, then carry on, even if sometimes the interaction is about getting them to let me take an alternative pose!

I think you also raise another important issue - that of family photography generally. I think it's something not taken seriously by what we might call 'the photography establishment'. Family photography appears to be regarded as the preserve of snapshooters, not a serious endeavour for serious photographers. A quick look through a photography magazine or book is unlikely to reveal articles or chapters on photographing your family. Is it just portraiture, or does a different dynamic put it into a different or sub-category?
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RSL
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 12:24:45 PM »
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Quote from: Chairman Bill
We've got a couple of digi-movie cameras, but just don't use them, and it's the inability to interact when using them that is the main cause. At least with still photography I can take a photo, then carry on, even if sometimes the interaction is about getting them to let me take an alternative pose!

I think you also raise another important issue - that of family photography generally. I think it's something not taken seriously by what we might call 'the photography establishment'. Family photography appears to be regarded as the preserve of snapshooters, not a serious endeavour for serious photographers. A quick look through a photography magazine or book is unlikely to reveal articles or chapters on photographing your family. Is it just portraiture, or does a different dynamic put it into a different or sub-category?

Bill, Yes, but... I think family photographs eventually can gain value as historical artifacts. Take a look at the early photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue to see what I mean. Lartigue certainly was a serious photographer, from a very young age, and those early pictures have value that goes far beyond the fact that they were "family" pictures.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 04:32:40 PM »
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I agree, but really, family photography seems rarely to be taken seriously, yet there is a very different dynamic at play than with more general portraiture
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 02:21:32 PM »
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I had my daughter and two granddchildren staying with me - they went home last week - and they do seem to spend a lot of time with a tiny chrome  camera and a mobile 'phone.

The thing is, they seem to giggle for a few moments and that's it: end of life of exposure other than to stick it on my machine too.

As a record of current life, for the edification of future civilizations or, less excitingly, just near-future generations, I don't think it will be much use at all. Unlike the large formats used by our ancestors, the tiny images are, basically, jpeg crap that isn't going to grace any wall in any museum.

If you take the Sally Mann ethic, then I do think it is a great project for a family, but only if the skills are there and the mind. I have no interest, personally, in shooting such pics, and I wonder what they really imply. There are very few family snaps of my doing - I found it practically impossible just to do it lightly, and of all those years, I have one shot of the granddaughters that's a double portrait in the drizzle (which doesn't show) and the other is a double of my son and daughter near a window at home in Scotland, which I shot just to use up the end of a roll on the 'blad, with a 150 stuck on it, that I'd been using for a job. And that's enough. The relative innocence is there - they were good kids.

However, I wish I had been able to do many more of my wife. I only have a print torn from her International Driving Licence from the 80s, which I kept, and a friend shot a jpeg of the two of us on the terrace one day. There are no negs, other than some colour 35mm ones that I know exist that we used as location illustrations for a recce we did in France. She hated cameras and being in front of them, despite (or because of) working beside me on the jobs we used to do. There are some files from the D200 that I did of her sitting at a café table after one of the chemo courses, but it doesn't even look like her. My memory gives superior results.

Bitter sweet is perhaps what it all ends up being.

Rob C

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