On Flickr, I belong to a group called Growing Up Star Wars. It’s essentially a collection of old photos of kids in the 1970s wearing Star Wars clothing, playing with Star Wars toys, etc. Better yet, it is full of 70s furniture, clothing, hairstyles, and sensibilities. Another thing I love about it is that the quality of the photos is a little hazy. Imperfect. They feel like the past, just like black and white photos might.
It got me to thinking that my son who is now six, won’t look at old photos in the same way. His childhood is being documented by higher resolution and higher quality photography. Additionally, any blurry or imperfect shots can be discarded. Why keep a bad shot when I can just take hundreds more and get a better one?
How will he view the past? His will all be documented in crisp, bright, beautiful shots. Will it change his perception? Will he have more vivid memories of his childhood or will it allow him to just look back and have a more idyllic view of the past? Will he have any form of nostalgia, or will having access to the images of the past make it easier to discard that longing for yesterday?
His last day of school is this week and it got me to remembering the feeling I used to have that last week. It built up and up over the week until you felt like you were going to explode. The excitement and anticipation were wonderful. You didn’t realize at the time that it was another step forward on your journey, you didn’t care. I’m sure he’ll have fond memories of days like he’ll have this week, but I wonder if the photos I take will alter his perceptions at all.