photographed children
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26-01-2012, 11:58 PM
photographed children
I own about a dozen pictures of myself as a child - all of them grey, most of them small and curled. I think i was a cute little kid, but back then, i rarely saw an image of myself and never thought about my appearance, except to hope my face was clean enough and my clothes tidy enough to satisfy aunts and teachers. Most of the time, i was oblivious of how i looked.

That was a long time ago. My kids were photographed on special occasions, outings, performances and at school picture days, in coulour; they and we and relatives could have copies; some were even framed and displayed around the house. The kids were generally aware of, and concerned with their their looks.

Children today are photographed about every hour, from birth, in all situations, poses, costumes and activities. They see these pictures immediately, almost like looking in mirrors. They are surrounded with both still and moving images of themselves; constantly aware of scrutiny, of eyes on them, of being shown - possibly to anyone in the world - in any given moment.

Do you think being photographed never, sometimes or frequently; seeing very few, some or many depictions of oneself, makes a difference? Does it affect how one behaves? Does it affect self-image, self-esteem, or confidence? Does it affect character?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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27-01-2012, 12:39 AM
RE: photographed children
I don't know what only a few photos feels like. But as far as many photos making an impact, yes, definately. Also now, people don't just get a copy, it is plastered all over the web on facebook and other social media. I realized this a year ago how conscious my daughter (6yrs) is of it when she did something silly that I took a photo of and she said "and don't post that on Facebook!"

In one light, kids have some great material to look back on, very cool. In another light, it is restraining and debilitating because of the constant fear of having something embarrassing or horrible captured forever and spread like wildfire.

I take a lot of photos and I always ask if it's okay to take photos of any people that may be in them. Permission is huge and can help the subject feel a sense of power verses being unwillingly put in the spotlight, a feeling that isn't comfy for many. Just like us, there are days my daughter feels like being the focus and other days she'd rather not. Respect goes a long way in self esteem and image. A lot of self esteem/image issues and disorders come from a feeling of lack of control.

How does it feel not having many photos?

My grandparents only have a few photos from when they were younger and I wish there were more of them. I made a printed book of the few they have and I look at it often, wanting to know more about them before they grew older. I wonder if they felt the same way. I know when I look at photos old feelings come flooding back of that moment or time in my life, so maybe for every person this could be positive or negative in different ways.
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27-01-2012, 04:16 AM
RE: photographed children
Well of me there aren't too many pictures of my childhood. We only made pictures when there was something special, babtism, easter, the zoo, when hiking.... and it was always annoying to me.
It was most annoying when my grandfather took the pictures because he had to take 5 until he was pleased with the outcome so all natural pose and mimic is gone by that time.
My mother just made pictures when noone knew. And a week later she would show them and put them in an album.
We still have the album, I have never been embarassed by the pics that were done. Always a nice memory even back as a child. Looking through the album and remembering what day that was and what we did then etc...
But we did not have photos hanging on the walls, they were always in albums.

Never cared for what I look like until I moved from the countryside into the big city (when I was 14) and looks were so important to everyone there, advertisement with models everywhere. No way to escape it in the city.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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27-01-2012, 09:11 AM
RE: photographed children
Seeing a grandchild react to ubiquitous depictions of herself, and preen for photos, what i began to wonder about was the process of personality construction. How does it differ from my generation?

We constructed an image of ourselves from what we felt and understood inside our heads, combined with how others reacted to us; from a slow increment of interactions with world and experiences and introspection. Disapproval by adults was of our actions and moral shortcomings... or so we assumed. That disapproval often resulted in low self-esteem - but just as often, it resulted in greater effort to achieve an approved standard of performance.

Our children, now in early middle age, were far more conscious of how they were seen than of how they behaved, and very little aware of their own inner motivations. Far more concerned with clothing and hair - that is, form - than physical or mental agility, virtue or skill. In their generation, low self-esteem was far more likely to stem from poor body image than poor performance. (Hence, i think, the prevalence of eating disorders in their generation, which were practically unknown in mine.)
I realize this is more a result of a different cultural trend... but then, the increased picture-taking was also as much a result of that same cultural trend as of improved technology. Marshall McLuhan strikes again....

Are these little children of today going to become incurable narcissists?
Is there anything the current culture and technology to direct their attention to internal development, rather than outward presentation?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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27-01-2012, 11:02 AM
RE: photographed children
When I was growing up, we had books for entertainment and the very rare movie to go to. I was 19 years old when I saw the first TV set in my native Hungary.

We did an awful lot of reading, thinking, walking alone in the woods, trying to figure things out, write poetry when the mood was right and never wondered what we looked like until we started dating and even then not a lot.

I credit this process for many in our generation developing vivid imagination and creativity that I sadly missed seeing in our children, even though we did our best to compensate.

Of course glaring exceptions exist in both the old and the new -- I can only report on my own experience -- but I think the garishly coloured plastic toys from the cradle on, and the incessant preoccupation with ‘looks’ constantly reinforced from every direction (have you ever seen a TV commercial on how to improve your brain, as opposed to your hair?) does not help.

On the other hand I may just be a crabby old fart, bitching about the next generation, exactly as my father was bitching about ours.

Things change and people adept.
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27-01-2012, 11:08 AM
RE: photographed children
(27-01-2012 11:02 AM)Zat Wrote:  When I was growing up, we had books for entertainment and the very rare movie to go to. I was 19 years old when I saw the first TV set in my native Hungary.

We did an awful lot of reading, thinking, walking alone in the woods, trying to figure things out, write poetry when the mood was right and never wondered what we looked like until we started dating and even then not a lot.

I credit this process for many in our generation developing vivid imagination and creativity that I sadly missed seeing in our children, even though we did our best to compensate.

Of course glaring exceptions exist in both the old and the new -- I can only report on my own experience -- but I think the garishly coloured plastic toys from the cradle on, and the incessant preoccupation with ‘looks’ constantly reinforced from every direction (have you ever seen a TV commercial on how to improve your brain, as opposed to your hair?) does not help.

On the other hand I may just be a crabby old fart, bitching about the next generation, exactly as my father was bitching about ours.

Things change and people adept.

Welcome to the crabby old fart club. We meet Tuesday mornings for doughnuts. Big Grin

We're pretty adept at adapting.Cool

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27-01-2012, 03:47 PM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2012 03:54 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: photographed children
Every time someone takes my picture I lose a piece of my soul. LadyJane and her profession of photography are evil I say, pure evil. Big Grin

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02-02-2012, 12:37 AM
RE: photographed children
There are 5 surviving pictures of me. I keep it that way...........................................................at all costs.

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19-02-2012, 10:27 AM
RE: photographed children
I was not photographed in great amounts as a child. As I got older, though, my mother insisted on taking pictures of me on outings, almost every day before school, ect.
Today there are not many left and I like it that way.
I think that if you are taking excessive pictures of a child as they are growing older, they will either grow tired of it and not wish to have their picture taken any longer or they might get a large ego.

As far as the toll it has on their emotional well-being, I can imagine some might be afraid of certain pictures being shared or found. That's the only thing I can think of.
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22-02-2012, 10:15 PM
RE: photographed children
Never thought about that, but it certainly could have an impact on the huge uprising in the undeserved ego of this upcoming generation. I can't remember the statistic perfectly offhand, but contrast to the past an outrageous % of Americas youth believe they are a very important person, like 80% or something ridiculous.


Edit: I found it.

"In the 1950s, 12 percent of high school seniors said they were a “very important person.” By the ’90s, 80 percent said they believed that they were. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/opinion/11brooks.html
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