Monday 25 February 2013

Are we over-exposed?

One of these small girls is my Grandmother
Recently I've been going through some old family photos. I've been trying to attach photos of Victorians and Edwardians to members of my family tree. They took their photography very seriously. No doubt because it was very expensive and took place so rarely. They did have a rather irritating habit of not wondering if future descendants would wonder who the pictures were of, and therefore rarely noted on the back who was in the photos!

This isn't a problem that future generations will have with the 21st Century. The proliferation of digital photography (not just cameras, but cameras in our cell-phones) means that every moment is captured. If you have the right settings and technology then not only captured, but geo-tagged and when downloaded often the faces are auto-recognised and tagged. 

Me: age about 2 or 3
Children born in 2nd millennium AD start their public life very often before birth. Their in-utero scan photos are followed by photos taken at a few minutes old, and then most life events after. And it is wonderful. Childhood is fleeting, and when I look back at mine I wish there were more photos (yes, even in the 70s and 80s photography was expensive). Having scanned a large amount of my mother's photo collection I can attest to the relatively small number of photos.

But it is more than photos, and when it comes to this I'll be the first to admit that I'm a pot calling the kettles black; or sitting in my glass house and throwing stones. The internet knows pretty much everything I do. When it isn't photographs keeping track of my day with Instagram or Blipfoto it is reading books with me (Goodreads), watching TV and movies with me (GetGlue), playing video games with me (Raptr) or travelling out and about with me (FourSquare/Trip Advisor). A lot of these websites/apps then broadcast the content again to Twitter and/or Facebook. 

I was talking with a friend over lunch on Friday and she mentioned her recent trip to Chinese New Year at Trafalgar Square; "Yes, I know.", I said, "I saw the photos on Facebook". Life on the internet doesn't leave much new conversation!