Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Memory Has Just Been Sold

When I was little and at a family gathering, if there was going to be a photo taken of all the kids, it was a thing.  Some adult got us all gathered together like monkeys and formed us in some order, usually on steps or with a chosen pretty background. 
I'm not in this pic but my sis Rach  (3rd row from bottom left) and Terry (top middle) made it. So many funny things about this picture that I could share.  Two is that I wore the shirt that my cousin Debbie has on as hand me downs years later.  And that there must have been a thing about sailors back then because I had many of those types of shirts that I see in this pic worn by my sis and cousin Eva. 
We were given instructions, when to smile, look alert. Usually two were taken so you had a chance to fix your screwed up expression or hair or everyone would be disappointed two weeks later when you got the pictures back.  Actually Polaroids were the big thing in this particular era. And then we dispersed and it was over.  No one would follow us around or take candid shots.  We were free from most eyes. Our playtime was undocumented and not monitored.   That left our imaginations room to blossom and go crazy.  I was fully aware of what I now know as my freedom back then.  I was in my own world, completely open to anything I could think or do and more importantly, completely alone.
Now, I see all these babies, photographed and filmed throughout their entire growth period, toddlers into tweens and beyond.  As if they learn that phone is just an extension of their mother or parent looking through at them.  As a matter of fact, they actually look at the camera or phone eye adoringly, as if it is alive from pretty early on.  By 2 they're already performing in a way.  They know they gotta put it on for momma so to speak.  The camera likes happy, smiles, and cute action!
I worry this is not a good trend. When it's the only thing you know, then it's probably not unusual for the child but to me its as though the parents are unintentionally stripping a right from the kids very early on.  These kids have that God given right to their privacy, not to be photographed or filmed and then shared with the world or other family members.  I mean, those memories belong to us as individuals, not the makers of Instagram. The other problem is that pictures and videos can be revealing at times and the world sees those things that perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to if we are truly protecting those kids.  This is not an issue in one or two photos during life events, when the kids are posing and are consenting in a way.  But on a daily basis and on every occasion, I feel it's changing trust and those beautiful exchanges you can have with your mom for example as a child.  The moment you realize how much she loves you in that glance that you share.  If that is replaced with the camera, does it have the same effect?

I may be overthinking this but I think we should respect children's rights and limit our filming and pictures.  Or at the least the sharing of them all.

I used my imagination to make this quick-style curry chicken with potatoes, chick peas and tomatoes.  P bought one of those hundred dollar free-range whole roasted chickens from Greene Grape, so I stripped the leftover meat into cubes the second day.  To add lots of flavor to the potatoes I boiled them in chicken stock, garlic and salt before adding them to the mix.  A lemon dressed leafy green salad with Feta on the side was a nice cool accompaniment.

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