A few weeks ago, a client asked me to come to her home the night of the Tabb High School prom. Her son, a senior, and his group of friends and their dates were all meeting at her house for dinner and photos. Alongside many parents, I documented the evening and then took a few minutes to get fun shots like this:
As the kids climbed into the limo, I made a joke about being their paparazzi. I snapped a few flashy shots while they made exaggerated faces. To avoid embarrassing the kids, I won’t post them here. Sorry.
The paparazzi moment got me thinking about how celebrities deal with them. I certainly do not want to be part of that lifestyle, but it would be nice to have life documented. Many fun moments, special occasions, celebrations would all be on permanent record. Even more, everyday moments like going to Starbucks with your best friend or taking your kids to the playground would be caught on film. Paparazzi photos are designed to capture the celebrity, not the special moments. They don’t show the complete picture of her life, but she’s in them. She really lived those moments. The photos aren’t the whole picture, but they are part of it.
Today’s smartphones, photo apps and cost-friendly cameras let us document our lives more than ever before. I once read that “Every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s.”
But as you document, are you in the photos? Are you the subject of the photos or the paparazzi? There is something to be said for having your life documented with you IN the photos. And more than the popular selfies (self-portraits), these photos should be natural and spontaneous. This is where the advantages of the paparazzi come in. I will never condone their tactics, but I would like to have photos of those sweet moments in my life. I wish I could have a photo of the time my two-year-old daughter so proudly shared her ice cream with me. Or the first time I helped my four-year-old son ride his bike. Or even just one of the moments they climbed up into my lap for a cuddle.
It may be time to for me to hand the camera over to my own paparazzi – my husband, my friends, even my kids. At least for a while. In the meantime, I need to schedule another photo session with my own family. Yes, even photographers hire photographers. We know we can't document it all ourselves. How will your family be documented? Will you be in the photos of the story of your lives? Let's talk about it.
If anybody who loves a good film festival, check out Visions Film Festival and Conference in Wilmington, NC on March 30, 2012.
From the site:
"Hosted by the Film Studies Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, VISIONS is the first international film festival and conference dedicated exclusively to showcasing and celebrating the work of undergraduate filmmakers and film scholars from universities around the world. VISIONS is also the first event of its kind to be organized and programmed entirely by undergraduate film students just like you.
Students who are selected to participate in the festival and conference have the opportunity to show their film or present their research through a day of public screenings and presentations, with awards for excellence presented at the end of each event.
By bringing together undergraduate film students of such diverse backgrounds and strong passions for film in such a way, VISIONS' goal is to encourage connectivity and the spread of ideas amongst a growing global audience and industry. The VISIONS programming committee strives to unite the international community of those undergraduate filmmakers and film scholars by programming imaginative, daring and boundary-pushing work that celebrates a passion for film.
VISIONS programs works from a wide cultural spectrum and invites others to join in and explore aesthetic and conceptual values in a national and international cooperative. Each year, we look forward to working with a new, diverse group of peers with a multitude of backgrounds and interests to mutually enrich the experiences of everyone involved."
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