Still life

 

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Last night, as I was waiting with my family for a fireworks display to begin, my little one amused herself by doing gymnastics moves. The soft glow of the early evening, and an outsized American flag in the vicinity, seemed like a picture in the making.

As darkness drew closer, my daughter continued her flips and whatever the names are, but she handed me her iPod and told me to record her moves. Being the dutiful dad that I am, I complied and made about a half-dozen videos, which she watched until the show started. It was a great show, too.

It occurred to me, as she was watching the videos of her that I had made, that any images of me from the stage in my life she’s at now are all of the still variety. The first time I was videotaped, at least to my knowledge, was probably when I was in college. At age 11–which is how old my daughter will be in a few days–no footage of me exists, and I’m quite happy about that.

Does all of the video recording, and selfie taking, and other ways to record an image for posterity have an impact on the way that today’s children grow up? It would be silly to suggest that it does not. Whether or not that’s a good thing is not for me to say, but it seems clear that watching themselves–and others, when videos are shared online–is a part of childhood now. But sometimes a good still frame can capture a moment well enough.

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