The Modern Family

Pushing some of my work through Google + rather than FB or Flickr has been an interesting experience.

My first realisation was that my cataloging was pretty poor. I need to invest some serious time in this. Finding images I wanted was difficult. Even my keywords were not always helpful. Collections were non-existent as I thought I could compile them easily through keywords. Oh dear.

More to the point finding images  that I thought worth sharing was also hard. There were’t that many. On the plus side I found a few images that I had only ever looked at in colour but seemed to have potential in black & white. This is one I came across. I called it the modern family. It seemed to me to sum up how society has changed. Two children absorbed in their iPads or similar. A disinterested father. And a dog that looked far and away the brightest of the bunch. A Pomeranian naturally.

It resonated even more strongly after thinking of my own childhood. Dad and I used to walk miles in the countryside together. He would have a camera. I would have probably had a pair of old binoculars and The Observer’s Book of Birds. We would walk through Haugh Wood (pronounced hoff) or even all the way to West Wood. He might pick blackberries and make wine in the shed later. The only tablet we had was aspirin. No dog sadly. Sometimes we would walk along the river. I even managed to tickle a trout once or twice. Days of innocence indeed.

Here though is the modern family as I recorded it last year. I wonder how you feel about family life today.

The Modern Family

The Modern Family


26 thoughts on “The Modern Family

      • It is a strangely spooky pic. As you say the dog has the only interested look. Everyone else is in their own little world.

        We have no family life hence my comment.

        I leave my photos in date order. I have a mean photographic memory, so to speak, so can normally call them up approx in the right month of the right year, and I am too idle to file accordingly.

        If I had written this post about families it would have been at least 2000 words. Ah. That will be why I have written a number of posts about families ….

  1. Your observations on family life really connect with observations Susan and I have made. On a trip last year, we had a couple of hours in an airport. We watched some family groups in restaurants as they waited for their flights. There were no conversations. In one case each member of the family (they must have been five to 40, had their heads down and were in their own cyber space. They weren’t talking to one another even during the meal!
    Another group was just like your photograph. Two girls and a boy with mum and dad. Only dad didn’t have a digital device. He sat there staring into space while the others looked into their devices. The only interaction was when one of the girls wanted to show her mum something on her device.
    We see this repeated in people’s homes. And the only activities outside of the home seem to be organized ones. The role of ‘parent’ to drive the children from one organized activity to another. And of course the vehicles are equipped with entertainment devices for longer journeys.
    I remember our long drives out west with our children. Susan would spend weeks before the trip making up games we could play together on the journey. The best times were spent walking in the wild and looking for animals and birds, and marvelling at mountains and rivers.
    This is too long for a comment – but to finish, they say this is the most connected society in history and the most isolated. Great post and a very serious issue for our human future.

  2. I think you have hit the situation on the head with this image, Andrew. It is so typical of what we see everywhere…the we being figurative as I hardly am anywhere but here and not everywhere at all.
    As a couple with no children we can only observe, but I am quite certain had we children this could be us. I am not sure which is worse….being sullen when in one’s folks’ (ooh, a double possessive) company is any worse than being glued to an iPad and oblivious to one’s surroundings. I was always willing to do things with my parents and only became rebellious once out of the house.
    I think the exchange between you and rough sums it up well. 🙂

    I thought using LR was supposed to solve the issue you are having…well, with finding images and not necessarily with your opinion of them. About the main reason I have got it on my computer, although still unused, was for the cataloging feature.

    • Steve, LR does solve the problem. If you diligently complete the task of cataloging with each preserved image. However if you are like me and you flit from one image to another and always think you’ll do the boring bit later, well, the result is chaos!

      I seem to have struck a chord with this picture. I will respond more fully tomorrow for it is already approaching bed time here. I am however looking forward to more SG gems when I wake up in the morning. Today was a very productive one for you from what I have seen so far.

      • I will look forward to your post on the morrow, Andrew.
        Today was slim pickings as I was pretty beat from yesterday and woke today at 2 unable to sleep. So I succumbed to the need for rest and only have a little to show.

  3. This is one excellent post. The comments are excellent and the exchanges can’t be beat. I’m not suret you will see my comment since I am weighing in late here and you are now asleep.

    Anyhoo, the pic is an excellent example of some of society’s ills. I call it the implosion of family life. There is not point in having children if you as a parent are going turn your child over to an electronic device. There is no parenting anymore and it is the parent/s ultimately for what your child does and how your child behaves.

    The man, if he had any backbone could have said, “we are going for a walk down to the harbor. We”ll be taking the dog. You will be leaving your phones, ipad, etc. at home. If you refuse to leave those behind, I will take them away for a week.” At least that’s how things went in our house.I took away privileges according to behavior. My children also had chores to complete before they could play, etc.

    Anyhow, I think that maybe those of us that want to get on our soapboxes in our blog should do so. I believe there is not enough being written about this ever increasing problem. Whether you have children of your own does not matter. There are basic principles at work here. You are the boss when you have children- the same as when you have a dog/s. You are the boss and the dogs and children are the best comparison-from my perspective. 🙂

    The best kind of discipline for children and dogs- “kind firmness.” Not too stern and to too lax. 🙂

    • Woo hoo Yvonne. Does that mean, as a non-parent, I get to moan about my pet peeve? Children who do not stand up for older people on buses. Isn’t not using a mobile/pad in company a bit like the discourtesy of not turning off a television when a guest arrives at your house?

      Nasty chores. Although I did vacuum and dust and light the fire before my parents came home from work on Fridays and Saturdays. My partner lit the fire at 5.30am before he went out to do his paper rounds in the morning. I think he lived in a paper bag on t’ side o’ t’ road.

      • It matters not if you are a parent. One can see for themselves what goes on with today’s children. I do not feel anyone should be excluded from commenting on any subject. One does not need to be an authority of any given subject to offer an opinion.

        I am not sure anymore about writing or commenting on my blog or anyone else’s. It seems I frequently misspell a word or change tense or possessive form in the same sentence. I think that I have proofed my writing and after my comment is posted, I see all my errors which are very evident in my comment above your comment.

        Back to the chores. It seems your upbringing was quite a bit more privilged than mine or my children’s. I had to work. However, that is not to say that work in one’s childhood gives one a free pass in adulthood as far as ambition is concerned. I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum. I suppose ambition and motivation have nothing to do with how hard one worked in their formative years.

        Respect and good manners seems to be a thing of the past. Individuals of all ages I have noticed, do not show respect for the handicapped, pregnant, or the elderly.

  4. I felt a bit sad actually looking at the picture above. Maybe the Like is inappropriate in this case. A childhood robbed of meaning. I once heard this being said “Over-indulgence and neglect are the worst forms of child abuse.” Maybe too heavy for this post but something to ponder isn’t it in our increasingly materialistic world. Thank you for the eye-opener. Sharon

  5. Trout abuse! You’re not supposed to tickle ’em! 😉

    I remember my dad looking about as bored as the chap in your photo. Maybe it was the endless variety programmes on telly that did it.

  6. I could rattle on for hours (but I won’t) about the demise of family life as we knew it. When I came back to writing this comment, I found myself writing about women but then decided to delete it. The picture you took is a perfect example of middle-class modern urban society. It makes me quite sad looking at it but it does through up a lot of truths.

    All but one of my 5 children have flown the nest, but I’m thankful that their childhood and teen years were nothing like the photograph above. I have one of my daughters staying here at the moment (yes, I shouldn’t even be on this damn computer, I should be spending time with her!) and I just asked her what her thoughts were. “It’s just the way it is mum, everyone gets lost in their own little worlds now but it wasn’t like that when we were little. Please can you get off the computer now and talk to ME!”

    • “I approve your message”, Lottie. All so true. The “I approve (This) message” is often part of an on-air, ad when politicians run for office here in the states. I thought it sounded very silly the first time I heard those words. 🙂

  7. And backpackers’ hostels worldwide – once the most social, bubbly of places – have turned as quiet as public libraries. Bit of a shame.
    But then again, i do have my fair share of the blame: here i am communicating with total or partial strangers, rather than stepping into the neghborhood cafe’ to grumble about the weather or the news with the locals…

  8. Just reading through the comments gave me a smile now and again and a nod here and there.. Andrew, family life , the modern way… says it all methinks.. xx

  9. Divide, conquer and control through technology – it has always been the plan. It is there to distract from individuality, original thinking and much more. If I were that man gazing, I wouldn’t have given my children mind-control EMF toys and would now toss them in the sea. They are limiting, disempowering and damaging. I often see Mothers or Fathers “with” their babies in pushchairs but, instead of a bonding, connecting, dialogue between the two – the parent is on the mobile i.e. not present, elsewhere.

    My childhood was also spent in the woods, or exploring the countryside on my bike, observing, learning. I was always late home, rosy cheeks with oxygen and light, wide eyed with my day’s adventures – and fit not sedentary. I couldn’t get interested in tv, especially the news which I could see lacked integrity and as repetitive and formulaic as any soap opera, plus ca change.

    My Father, as a boy, once walked miles roaming the moors and collecting blackberries (picked from the bushes, not lost gadgets!) but as it was Summer, didn’t realise the time until it looked a little dusk and he and a younger boy still had to walk home with their delicious prize. He was 8 years old and it was a 17 mile roundtrip, but he was and is at 85, independent, healthy and strong. A Romanian recently told me how shocked he was to see the overprotected and restricted children here. Yes and that is abuse.

    Technology can pulse frequencies. We are electrical beings and affected by mass external frequencies outside of nature. Humans function ideally at the Schuman Resonance – above this, say 11.0 Hz, can insight riots (e.g. in London arranged for when the children were off schoool to join in); below, say 5.0 Hz will induce laxity: “what can I do about anything?” e.g. when they want to give bankers mega bonuses at taxpayers’ expense but don’t want alpha males to object as they did during the Poll Tax Riots. (Since the 80s, phthalates in plastics immitating oestrogen in men and women have softened that attitude, as well.) In Tim Rifat’s book, “Remote Viewing” he revealse that the pulse 6.66 Hz results in suicides.

    I’ve never carried a mobile phone for 10 years – and the head of a mobile company in Belgium not only doesn’t use one himself, but won’t have them on the top two floors of his building where his office is.

    All that aside, I love your photographs, Andrew, as I’ve said before, the flora and fauna studies are stunning.

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