So, What About Those Photos of Little Kids With Food Smeared All Over Their Faces?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Clix Pix, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #1
    This is something which has bugged me for a long time when viewing images on the internet, and I have wondered if I'm alone in finding photos of little kids with food smeared all over their faces or liquids all over their face and dripping out of their mouths distinctly unattractive and quite definitely unappealing....even frankly disgusting and repulsive (yes, I am aware of the latter two being really strong words). In two words: NOT CUTE. Why would anyone even think that this is cute?

    Nothing to do with the child -- the kid is innocent, and for me that's part of the problem, too. How is this kid going to feel when as a young adult some years from now (if possible with the technology then) he or she views images of him/herself as a little kid with food all over their face and realizes that these images were put by a family member out there for everyone to see?

    I am not a parent, but if I were (or, more realistically at this point in my life, a grandparent) I would not dream of portraying a beloved child or grandchild or other young relative in a most unflattering light, which, make no mistake, at least for me, those kinds of food-all-over-the-face images very definitely are portraying. I am continually surprised at how many times parents or other relatives don't seem to stop and think before posting an image of a child on the internet which may not be in anyone's best interests, most particularly, especially, the child's.

    Unsurprisingly, I'm not alone in feeling the way I do, as I found when I ran a quick Google search.....

    https://www.mommyish.com/****-parents-facebook-pictures-of-food-smeared-babies/3/

    So, my question is, WHY do parents (or other family members) even do this in the first place? What do they feel is so delightful and charming about a photo of a young child with food or liquid all over his or her face? What compels them to share this kind of image on the internet?

    I really would like to know......
     
  2. Brien macrumors 68030

    Brien

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    #2
    Why does this bother you so much?

    Also, kids with messy faces barely scratches the surface of embarrassing childhood photos. My parents probably have a whole book of nekkid baby photos of me.
     
  3. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #3
    I don't know why this bothers me but it does.....

    As for photos of naked little kids in the tub I think probably there are some internet restrictions with regard to general sites on sharing those images (naked kids in the tub) so that is why we don't see many of them on the internet. (Porn is another issue and not a topic for discussion in this thread.) As was mentioned here, yes in the old days, yes, long before the internet became a thing, parents took photos of their babies in the tub and shared the prints with grandparents, aunts and uncles and anyone else who might be interested.....

    Somehow, though, for me a photo of a kid naked in the tub doesn't seem quite as embarrassing or frankly nasty as one of a child with food or liquid smeared all over his or her face..... Probably, yes, some of my own issues coming into play here but I suspect that nonetheless I am not alone in my response to seeing such photos on the internet. The kid is innocent; it is the photographer who captures the image and then shares it publicly such as on Facebook who really is responsible. Again, what prompts someone to do this in the first place?
     
  4. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #4

    I think it depends on context. We have one of our daughter that springs to mind. It was the first time she tried to feed herself so for us knowing that, despite her being covered in spaghetti bolognaise, it had a sentimental value to us but to an outsider who didnt know that, then its just a baby covered in food.
     
  5. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #5
    Following on to Ken’s thoughts, there’s an old tradition (in the US anyway) of taking photographs of kids eating (or trying to) their first birthday cake. I have some of me at age one, my parents of themselves from the 40s! Same with my wife. Parents would then share it with everyone. If they’d had Facebook in the 40s and 60s, I’m sure we’d have been part of permanent digital history. We don’t have kids but our friends who do, the same was true. Still pre Facebook but that hasn’t stopped them from scanning and throwing their kids onto social media now. So long story short, maybe today’s behavior grew out of that tradition?
     
  6. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #6
    It’s also a fleeting passage of time. Those days are long when you are in the thick of them but they really do go by fast. It’s all a milestone as kids learn to feed themselves, or finish a popsicle before it melts. I agree there is often a personal sentimentality that may not be conveyed to a random viewer. But almost all parents can identify with an image like that. My kids aren’t embarrassed by those images from their toddler days.

    I am very active on a photography site geared for women/moms and there are a number of images shared from potty training. No parts visible but I never took those photos and I do find those a bit odd to share. Even still, there is a story there that some parents wish to keep.
     
  7. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

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    #7
    I certainly follow the sentiment and I’m baffled by how uninformed some of the modern parents are. People think it’s cute to share everything about their kids without realising that as parents they’re invading the privacy of the kid.

    I’m certainly happy that internet didn’t exist when I was young. A few embarrassing pictures in an old album is much better than finding myself all over the internet from an era that I didn’t have any control on.
     
  8. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #8
    Thanks for your responses, everyone! It makes sense that parents might want to have a tangible reminder of some milestone such as a child attempting to eat his or her first birthday cake or plate of spaghetti, and to them indeed a photo of the event would years later bring back fun memories and have sweet significance. I can see, too, how others who have also been or currently are parents would feel an immediate connection as their memories of their own children's first adventures with food would be evoked. In a setting within a Facebook account which consists mainly of family and close friends who know the child and parents, such an image would be not unexpected, especially if the account is primarily celebrating the milestones of a young family's first baby. In personal emails to grandparents and other relatives, too, sending a photo of this sort probably is frequently done as well.

    Ken is right on the money with the suggestion that context is important. I can see how in discussion forums devoted to child-raising such images might be shared, too, and within that kind of setting this certainly makes sense. I agree with Molly that photos of potty-training and some rather personal bodily functions and activities should not be shared (and yes, one wonders why a parent would even think to take pictures during such a time!). In other sites on the internet, though, for viewers looking at an image wholly out of context, an image of a little girl or little boy with food or liquid on the face and/or in the hair can indeed present as an unflattering photo of "just a child covered in food." I guess it all boils down to a matter of the parents stopping to think before they post such an image of their child on the internet-- "is this an appropriate site for this photo? Why am I sharing this particular photo of my child with strangers?"
     
  9. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #9
    The forums I frequent have a heavy emphasis on storytelling and photojournalism. Yes, plenty of people post photos of pretty brides and wedding couples and high school seniors. But honestly, for a lot of young mothers who are also photographers (or learning to be), photoing their everyday life is how they get through life. This is in no way to give an air of superiority over people who are not parents, but even a "well done" potty training image can evoke a sentimental feeling, and while I personally never took any images like that, I don't feel all are bad or even embarassing. I also see a lot of nursing (baby) images where there's nothing left to the imagination of the mom, and someday that tiny baby will be a grown man who has this stage immortalized. But should we feel shame just for capturing a moment in time? That is a stage of innocence, of a Madonna like moment.

    Plenty of people don't like photos of buildings or random macro images of a nut and bolt, but that doesn't mean others should stop taking photos of them and posting them. Sure, some hardware isn't going to feel embarassed down the road, but not all images will evoke the same reactions from all people. It's kind of all subjective. :)
     
  10. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #10
    Very true, that -- everything is indeed very subjective and we all are human with our own backgrounds and perspectives, likes and dislikes...... :)
     
  11. Mark0 macrumors 6502

    Mark0

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    #11
    First off, great thread with plenty of food for thought.
    I have taken images of my two boys when they are learning to eat (as well as other developmental stages) and as a parent I do find it great to look back on. Some of the images we've taken are in my view, quite amusing as it shows a lot about their character at the time. I do not however, post photos like that anywhere other than on iCloud Photo Sharing for my wife and the grandparents to see. It's also a good way to have them 'backed up'.

    I agree. My wee boy so far enjoys seeing images of himself when he was younger, and I suspect this will wane and transform into embarrassment as he gets older.

    Exactly why I keep things to the family and not posted everywhere. It amazes me that folk live their lives on fb, snapchat and the likes. I think the 'Digital Footprint' as it is called will be a much bigger issue in the future, for not only me, but my children. It's something I am quite aware of and think about. It's even made me question my activity on forums such as this. I'd even considered binning fb, but I unfortunately need it for a work account and well, it's surprised me as a really good way for my photography to hit an audience.
     
  12. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #12
    I agree things will be worse for our kids as they get older. My daughter turns 13 on Saturday and has been begging me for an Instagram account and I refuse, even though I personally am quite active on Instagram, both privately and publically with two separate accounts.

    In the end, though, I think messy toddler faces will be the least of their concerns as they navigate social media.
     
  13. kenoh, Dec 19, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #13

    Excellent points. When hiring new team members I do the knowledge on them trying to glean as much intel as possible ahead of the interview. The risk of course for our kids is that as more of their lives become "public record" then there is more of an issue of embarrassment should people find these pics later.

    Your Digital Footprint needs managed and protected as much as your bank details.
     
  14. laptech macrumors 6502

    laptech

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    #14
    In my opinion, the biggest misconception that people make about messy food face pictures of children being put on the internet are the ones the OP makes.

    Such pictures are put in families facebook and instagram pages, or in parenting forums but the problem once a picture is put on the internet, you've lost control of it. Even if accounts are set to family and/or friends viewing only, more often than not another family member or friend will think a picture is cute, copy it and put it on a completely different website. If the account is set to public viewing then people will use such pictures for their own gain. For example, media sites like Yahoo may want to do a feature on cute children pics and ask viewers to take a poll as to which one it cute. So an employee of the company who have accounts on social media platforms and public forums will be looking for pics to use.

    Suddenly a picture that had 'context' behind it's original reason for posting is quickly lost because others have used the picture for other reasons. Then over time, whilst viewing other media sites, you'll come across articles that have pictures of children with messy food faces and you'll say to yourself, 'why has this media site created a news item that involves pictures of children with messy food faces and suddenly we end up with people with opinions such as the OP, all because the pictures were taken out of context to be used by others for financial gain (reports gain views, the site where the report is has adverts, thus the site owner gains financially)
     
  15. kallisti, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

    kallisti macrumors 68000

    kallisti

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    #15
    Not sure if your thread was specifically in response to the image of my son I posted in the POTD thread on Sunday.

    In regard to that particular pic, I don't find anything about it that he would find embarrassing in the future. He *loves* it now and specifically asked me to take it, wanting a pic of him with a milk mustache. Granted, he also asks me to take pics of him that would be embarrassing in the future and I don't oblige him. But a pic with milk dribbling around his mouth? In what world is that ever going to be a source of shame? Or rather, for what well adjusted human being will a pic of them as a child capturing a moment appropriate for their age cause distress?

    One of your objections seems to be that these types of pics aren't flattering. So what? I wasn't aware that portrait/candid photography was limited to showing people at their best. Interesting people pics tend to reveal something about the subject that reflects their personality. Sometimes this is just them smiling at the camera. More often it includes background elements that speak to them as an individual. Or expressions that reveal something about them, making them seem more human. Good lighting and good composition to tell the story you want to tell. There are many, many powerful and compelling people pics out there that aren't of the subject smiling at the camera and looking their best....

    Pics of children can be generic "school" pics with generic lighting and forced smiles on their faces. These pics are boring and uninteresting. Great for sharing with relatives, but they rarely capture the personality of the kiddo.

    More interesting are the pics that capture fleeting expressions (whether joy, wonder, sadness, anger, etc.). Or pics that reflect the sometimes messy realities of childhood. For young kids, this often involves eating/drinking.

    I agree with you that snapshots of kids eating aren't interesting. But I think it has more to do with crappy lighting/composition than the actual fact of facial messiness in the pic. For technically/artistically "good" photos, facial messiness can be important for the impact of an image. Several years ago I had an exhibit where one of the photos was of my son with baby food smeared around his mouth looking into the camera with a similar expression to the one in my POTD pic. It was the most favorably received photo in the exhibit. The baby food served as an element to tell a story about him at that age and resulted in a more powerful image than a pic of him with a clean face smiling at the camera.

    Perhaps your biggest criticism regards the posting of pics of children on the internet. This is a very valid concern. Is it ethical to remove their choice in decisions regarding having their images online? In general I agree with you (and others in the thread) that it isn't a good idea. I made an exception to my usual practice of not sharing by posting the pic of my son in the POTD thread earlier this week. Was possibly an error in judgment. Not something I do regularly. On the other hand, I'm not sure it really matters in either the short term or the long term.

    I belong to a service that tracks the use of my images on other websites. If any of my pics are used commercially without my consent, I have a way of tracking them and taking appropriate legal action. Probably not perfect however.
     
  16. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I admit that for my senior yearbook my baby photo was of me licking the beaters to my mom’s mixer after she made chocolate cake or frosting (I was probably 3). No shame in enjoying chocolate!! :D
     
  17. F-Train macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I think that that photo is quite good.
     
  18. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #18
    I am 46 and did that last weekend when my daughter (7) made a cake! Took ages to get it all out of my beard! :oops:
     
  19. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #19
    I agree but I am biased.
     
  20. Clix Pix thread starter macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #20
    I appreciate everyone's input and thoughtful responses to my questions and if I offended anyone, my apologies, as that was not my intent. Many thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking discussion!
     
  21. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #21
    Now that’s a picture we want to see in the POTD thread!
     
  22. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #22
    Yep will post it right after the one of you shooting a Sony
     
  23. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #23
    No worries. I fancy a bit of clay pigeon shooting! :p
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24
    I found that more often then not, those types of pictures, are more staged and less spontaneous. With that said, little ones can and do that sort of thing and while not my cup of tea, the parents who snap those photos think its cute. To each their own ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     

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23 December 17, 2018