Ben, Baddeck and Tech.
Ben loves Baddeck, his grandparents live there and he just can't get enough of the place. He will jump at any opportunity to stay the night, or 3-4 nights away from home, hitting the streets of the quaint town where everyone knows everyone and the kids roam freely. Exactly the way I used to hit the streets in good old Sydney Mines.
Things have changed here I think, I don't see kids playing outside a lot, I hear other parents talking about how their kids don't know how to play. Ben's friends in Baddeck play outside, a lot. They roam the streets, gone all day not sitting inside on a tablet. Well, I'm sure there is a lot of that, but only after spotlight tag, running to the ice cream shop or for a slice at his grandfather's pizza shop, Tom's Pizza.
Where have all the kids gone? Is it our fault or is this just the way life is evolving? Don't get me wrong, I don't think all kids sit inside on a device, actually I know they don't, but I would be lying if I said I don't have to cut Ben off of playing Xbox and force him to get outside often. I feel I have to set up "hanging out" with his friends sometimes. I often text parents of his friends and tell them Ben is on the way over, or ask them to send their kids over to our place, without their iPads.
Anyway, I miss him like crazy when he is gone, but he is so happy and having so much fun that it makes it worth it. Most times when we show up to take him home he is pissed that he has to leave! I LOVE the fact that he is being a kid similar to the way I was a kid, but in a completely different world.
When I think about it and try to understand being born into a world with the internet and the technology that we have today, it blows my mind. It's just so normal to him.
Think about it, I'm almost 40, I was gradually introduced to this world of tech. He was born into it. He doesn't know a world without the internet, an iPhone, which is one of the most ridiculous things we have ever known as humans, is just....here. We had to witness it all happen. Almost like a microwave. For me that thing was just here...there was never a moment that I can remember in my life that a microwave was a big deal. But, I bet it blew my grandmothers mind. Actually, she never had one, we used a toaster oven and it was the shit, but you get the point.
The generation my age and older are the last of the non-interneter's. We knew the landline phone, or finding your friends by where their bikes were, or "calling" for your friends, three rings and you were supposed to hang up the phone and when not being in constant contact with everyone at all time was normal. You didn't fall into a state of panic if you couldn't talk to someone at that very moment. Today, if you don't reply to an email in 10 minutes you will get a text, a facebook message and then a phone call. Chillllllll out everyone.
Are we the lucky ones, or are they?
I really don't know. I know I LOVE how fortunate Ben is to have grandparents that will call us and tell us to bring him to Baddeck for a few days, I'm fortunate that he gets to experience a little different type of life in Baddeck, it really means a lot to me. I also love technology and use it for nearly everything I do...it excites me, so I can't hate on it. My business is what it is because of it.
It sort of makes me think about this blog and why I do it. It is 100% technology, the same stuff I am sort of complaining about, I will tell Ben to get off of his iPad while I type this out and upload the photos. But, am I doing the same thing? Would it be ok if he was glued to the screen of a device if he was learning?
The camera phone, for example, is killing photography. I have no doubt that millions of people are taking photos that are amazing but mean nothing, they won't be seen by anyone, or maybe not even looked at again from the person who snapped it, so what is the point? Photos will sit on a phone and maybe not even get backed up for storage. Most likely they will end up deleted when the current phone is replaced with a newer model, rendering the photo and that moment basically meaningless.
I'm not hating on technology, but maybe we are going about it in the wrong way now when it comes to photography. I almost refuse to use my iPhone for photos. Nothing I post on Instagram or my Facebook page is shot with the phone anymore and most photographers I know do the same.
To me, there is just something about using an actual camera to make an image, editing the photo the way we would develop a photo from film and then being proud to present it, show it, let it live somewhere. Sure, I am using technology to do it all, and there are some film guys out there right now hating on me shooting digital, but that is ok. I do me, you do you.
I like to take photos and hope to have them mean something, to me. The photos in this post were taken last night, they are just quick snaps of Ben and maybe that is all they will ever be. But at least here they have a home, one that isn't stuck on a card or hard drive. They mean something now because they are part of this meandering blog post.
I follow a few photographers who will post photos on instagram that were shot on film from 20+ years ago and they are remarkable. That is photography and thanks to technology we get to see them. Will we have photos that we shot available to us in 20 years to re-post? I hope so.
Back to Ben....I hope that our kids are not losing that sense of creativity and adventure that they need. I think it is our job as parents to show them options, show them that their minds will take over when they are bored and their imaginations will produce things far cooler than any game or youtube video can. Be the bad guy/girl and hide the device, toss your kid outside and tell them to suck it up.
If I'm right, they will thank us for it later, if I am wrong...well, we all turned out ok, right?
I am a wedding and portrait photographer in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Over the last 14 years I have photographed thousands of people, families and hundreds of weddings locally and abroad.
I now focus on wedding and high school senior photography. If you have a unique idea for some images, let me know!
Cape Breton Island Wedding Photographer • Scott McIntyre