The Message Project: Capture the joy of childhood
Think back to your childhood. Through the soft, lemony glow of nostalgia where the images in your head look strangely like they were taken on a Super 8 camera, regardless of how long ago you were born. Back to a sense of utter freedom, of cheeky fun, of anything is possible.
Throughout our whole lives, our childhood is a reference point. A childhood spent trying out new things makes scientists of us all – discoverers, explorers, experimenters, solvers. No matter the character we develop or the interests that we grow to have later, in childhood we are open to life’s curiosities and we are free to discover what they mean in our lives. What we find out when we are young resonates across our entire life one way or another. Whether we win, whether we fail, whether we believe ourselves or choose not to.
Back in the olden days when I was seven, photographs were somehow always orange and film was such a novelty that the majority of the footage is of people standing still, waving shyly at the camera. Just lots and lots of people, smiling and waving as the camera shakily panned across them. Like the hands in a photo brought mysteriously to life. How far we have come in only twenty years (oh, okay, thirty-four years, but who’s counting, right?).
Those lurid photos and shaky film of mine spark so many precious memories and, in many ways, spark my very self. It’s the very fleeting nature of this documentation that means it is a memory-trigger only, not the whole life lived.
Nowadays, it’s holding back that is the hard bit. Restricted only by our enthusiasm, our own children’s lives will be there for them, laid out end to end with enough footage to circle the globe and (hopefully) return home. On the one hand, great fun and very reassuring, on the other, somehow terrifyingly ‘directorial’. Because it’s not our kids creating these memories, it’s us capturing them instead. Our version of their childhood, seen through our eyes only. Their thoughts and feelings, their aspirations and wonderings – none of this can be captured by the click of the camera. It’s important to remember that and perhaps adjust our idea of what a photo or video is accordingly.
These little pictures will one day anchor them to their own childhood, just as mine do for me. Technology today means that we have the best chance ever of grabbing the essence of childhood and bottling it. Interviews, words on a photo, photos of artwork, video footage of every day play – it all has the power to help them believe in themselves as they grow, believe the way we believe. To somehow see themselves through our proud, loving eyes.
Evidence that they were young once, that they imagined a life and went on to make it real. A reminder that being young is wonderful but that remembering being young is somehow even more so…
What do you hold most dear from your own childhood?
This post is part of Mount Franklin’s #themessageproject, celebrating the work of the McGrath Foundation.
About Bron: “The world is an amazing place. Home is… also amazing (ish) (somewhat) (okay, not really, but what can you do?). I gave up the travelling and corporate life to raise 3 crazy little Tsunamis (Maxi 8, Cappers 6, The Badoo (twenty)4) and work from home writing and editing. I’m the hard-working and irreplaceable (can you tell I wrote my own profile)”