As you may know, we love a bit of science with our photography. (No, wait... This isn't hard science!) And when we're generous (or it suits our purposes), we'll include psychology as a science (claws back in). Which brings us to a very interesting article from the New York Times.
It turns out that having instant access to everything isn't necessarily great. Who would have thought?
It seems that by watching back a performance of ourselves - or any activity - shortly afterwards affects how we experience it.
Once upon a time, we'd do something, enjoy it, and file it in our brains as a wonderful memory, with the associated warm feelings returning whenever we thought about it. Summer holidays were enjoyed at the time, and the photographs turned up to revive those memories months later (usually around Christmas, when the film was found in the camera and sent off to print. And you still had a couple of weeks before it came back). As for video? Who really did that?
Now, though, everything is recorded on phones, and usually watched back straight away (or shortly afterwards). And this changes how we perceive the event. Instead of remembering how we felt at the time and where we were, we remember the event in the third person - as a viewer, of ourselves, separate and distinct from being the central performer. And we don't create the same emotional connection to that.
Imagine your young daughter doing a cartwheel in the park. It was wobbly, but she landed it. To her, she was a perfect, spread star, rolling gracefully in a perfect circle. You tell her she was perfect ("hey kids. Lying is bad. Except when it's one of the good lies we're allowed to tell people!"). She glows with pride: me, a graceful gymnast; I nailed it. Another tick in the happy childhood memory columns and a boost in her self-confidence.
What if, after telling her how amazing she was, you showed her the video you'd made of it. She's happy, she watches it back. It shows someone on screen doing a mediocre interpretation of a cartwheel. Successful, but not how she saw it in her mind's eye and her first-person memory is replaced by a memory of watching herself do a not-so-good version...
Food for thought, next time you think about showing someone a video of themselves. And also, for us. Our family sessions are designed to be fun and to create amazing images. Because we don't give you immediate visual feedback, and make you wait to see your photos, you get the chance to cement the good memories before you re-live them gloriously when we show you the images! You're welcome.
And I still remember the glory of scoring a 30-yard thraker, to the rapt amazement of my teammates and the opposition. And no film exists of the ball bouncing flukily off my shin and dribbling over the goal-line to convince me it was anything but what I picture in my mind's eye...