I read about this story on the Huffington Post. Ken Heyman, an 83-year-old photographer, found an old box of images from his book, Family, a collaboration with Margaret Mead. The images depict mothers and their children from all over the world. As the HuffPost article writes, “Long-Lost Photos Show What Hasn’t Changed About Motherhood In 50 Years.” Here are a few of my faves.
Ever since my summer camp days I associate rain with movies. It was pouring this morning so what better way to celebrate this rainy day than to explore two movies that Paul and I have recently watched. Perfect Sense, directed by David MacKenzie and starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green; and Her, directed by Spike Jonze and starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson.
Both movies are set in the near future, one that is both recognizable yet foreign at the same time. These are my favorite types of science fiction stories – at once familiar and believable but also novel and exciting. The kind of story that one of my favorite sci-fi authors Robert Heinlein might write – more about how human beings fit into the future than about the gadgets and complicated systems that surround them.
Each movie tells a doomed love story while relating something profound about isolation and the human condition.
In Perfect Sense, a chef and an epidemiologist fall in love as the world around them is falling apart. A strange illness is spreading that leaves people without their senses. First, it is their sense of smell that disappears and then their sense of taste.
As the movie progresses, the lovers must cope with each new loss both in their personal lives and in their professional lives. As a chef, Ewan McGregor’s character must innovate to offer diners new and exciting offerings that showcase the look and texture of the food instead of the taste and smell. This is just one example of how life goes on.
In Her, a lonely soon-to-be divorced writer falls in love with his computer’s artificially intelligent operating system. Some of my favorite parts of the movie are how spot on the filmmakers are in capturing a totally plausible future. From the hipster costumes to the electronics that blend into daily life and whose screens look more like picture frames, these details make sense since fashion is cyclical and often nostalgic. While their love is also doomed, how the supporting characters react to this nontraditional coupling further demonstrates the resilience and adaptability of human beings.
I recommend both movies for their creativity and enduring message that despite the challenges or circumstances, love can thrive.
You’ve probably seen the ubiquitous “one-a-day” photo and video projects. Many of them are portraits documenting how a person’s face has changed over time. Others, like this one I posted last year, offer a video clip from each day of James Bernal’s life to create a portrait of a year. You might recall I played off of this idea with the video I made our Peace Corps experience, “2 years, 4 minutes.” Often, I’ve contemplated taking this on as a photo assignment myself and who knows, maybe I still will…
Here’s a look at three one-a-day projects that I think stand out by turning this meme on its head. The first is by Jonathan Harris, a photographer who turned 30 years old and decided to document his life by taking one image and writing a short story about the image before he headed to bed each night. He called his project, “Today” and his friend, Scott Thrift, made the gorgeous video below about the experience.
I appreciate that the photographer narrates his images not by explaining each one, as he did on his blog as he was shooting, but rather by meditating on the meaning of the entire project and what the process was like for him. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said and he definitely inspires me to consider trying my hand at this very project.
Jonathan Harris: Today
These next two videos show how this genre of storytelling has been co-opted but for positive purposes. Save the Children made the following video to raise awareness about the effect of war on the lives of children.
Most Shocking Second a Day Video
This next one is perhaps even more shocking. Watch it first and then read the backstory below.
One photo a day in the worst year of my life.
“One photo a day in the worse year of my life” was created by Saatchi & Saatchi and Fund B92 to shine the spotlight on domestic violence in Serbia. The statistics, which you can read here on Saatchi & Saatchi’s website, paint a bleak picture for women in Serbia.
However, even more shocking are the comments below the video on YouTube, which I suggest you skip. I don’t make it a habit to read comments on sites like YouTube because I like to avoid reading hateful and ignorant bile as much as possible. Maybe someone needs to make a video about online bullying in the comments section of YouTube…hey, that’s a really good idea…
Anyway, although the last two videos are not documentaries but rather fictional reenactments, their messages are important and well conveyed by using the one-a-day format.
Enterprising businesswomen (and moms) Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau have created a new line of female action figures with proportions that actually make sense. The I am Elemental line of action figures represent the elements that many parents want to instill in their children: bravery, energy, honesty, industry, enthusiasm, persistence, and fear. Okay, maybe we don’t want to instill fear but all the rest sound good!
My favorite action figure is Honesty who sports a pair of gorgeous wings. The action figures were funded several times over on Kickstarter (read more about their journey on their website: http://www.iamelemental.com/) and are now available for pre-order by clicking here. I know what Brooklyn is getting for the holidays!
Google has committed $50 million to inspire women of all ages to join the technological revolution. The video above is part of this initiative called, “Made with Code” to encourage a new generation of female coders.
As the mom of a baby girl, I often think about how we can expose Brooklyn to as many diverse experiences as possible to see where her natural talents lie before other voices try to convince her that she can’t. I didn’t grow up thinking I was somehow limited because I was born a girl – in fact, I always pushed myself to show the world that I could hold my own in any context – surrounded by boys or girls or both. I’m proud of both my right-brain and my left-brain skills and I hope that I can inspire my daughter to be the same way.
Since Paul has entered into the coding world, we’ve been even more cognizant of the dearth of female coders in particular and of the representation of women in the STEM professions more generally. Perhaps Brooklyn will grow up to love science, technology, engineering, and math or maybe she will want to focus on other passions – either way I hope she knows that all doors are open to her, thanks to the trailblazing women who have come before her.
Enjoy another video from Made with Code below that shows the intersection of technology and dance. What a great mix of right- and left-brain!