There is this girl, with a phone…

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Cloud formation. Possibly a massive Bulldog, not sure. / Photos by KidZond.

 

No really, there is this girl, with a phone. She takes a lot of pictures. Far better than what you will see here. Yet this 20 something girl, a friend of my Sister-in-Law, is an artist. As in, she draws things, paints things, and now…

She uses her phone to take a myriad of pictures.

I seen this in the early spring of this year. And it got me to thinking; dangerous, I know.

Most of us have smartphones now, and with smartphones, cameras. When we aren’t snapping photos of ourselves, we use this little camera to take picture of family, friends, silly signs, and well, just about everything. Like mushrooms growing outside my children’s gymnastic class.

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Mushrooms, growing in the most unexpected place. / Photo by KidZond.

 

I took it upon myself to follow this girls ‘Advice’ and start snapping pictures of what was around me. Found myself intrigued by the darndest things, mostly nature, and well. Flowers.

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Flowers. / Photo by KidZond.

And well, more flowers.

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Another flower. / photo by KidZond.

 

Of course there was more than flowers to take pictures of. Bugs for instance.

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Inch worm. Not inching at the moment. / Photo by KidZond.

 

And bugs making…well more bugs.

 

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Lady bug doing her thing to help the environment. / Photo by KidZond.

 

There were of course parties to attend, some of them, well…they happened while I was at work. The party-goers were still at my house when I got home.

 

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Had to be a wild party, see what happens when you go to work? / Photo by KidZond.

 

Sometimes, it was the ordinary that caught my eye. Something as simple as the remains of an orange on the kitchen table.

 

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This is not a banana, orange you glad? / Photo by KidZond.

 

Or rainbow butterflies, they exist you know, in the land of imagination.

 

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They like Milkweed too. / Photo by KidZond.

 

These are not the grandest pictures. Simple ones, a few of many I have taken over the summer. Odd things that caught my eye. Little pieces of data to fill my cloud storage and remind me of this year. This wasn’t the best year, nor the worst. It was a year of change in my household, new job, new schedules, things to try, horizons to expand.

Many years back, I used a Minolta 35mm camera to take pictures. Loved doing that. Haven’t broke down and bought a digital camera yet. Just started to play with my phone. I have no intention to get ‘serious’ about photography. I did that years ago, classes, the equipment, and the dream.

Yet the desire to capture the moment is still there. Look for the unexpected. The girl? With the phone? Now, she is an artist. She has a real eye.

I hope one day she will move beyond her phone, use that talent of an artist’s eye she has.

And I hope you do too. Selfies are fine, family and friends will capture that moment you will talk about years later. But the mundane, the simple beauty around us everyday? We should all try to capture it more. Let people see a piece of our bit of the world.

Could lead to an explosion of pictures. You know, like this one.

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Fireworks! (Not the 4th’s, but still) / Photo by KidZond.

And years from now, when your great-grandchildren look upon these digital images. They will get to know a little more of you than just family and friends. More than events and places, but of the little things that surrounded your life. Pieces of you that rarely get passed on in stories. I know mine will, and it will all be because…

There is this girl, with a phone…

 

ALL PHOTOS ARE THE PROPERTY OF KIDZOND, AND ARE COPYRIGHT 2018.  UNAUTHORIZED USE IS EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN. UNLESS I GET SOME MONEY OUT OF IT, IF SO, LET’S TALK, I AM CHEAP. IF YOU FEEL COMPELLED TO STEAL A PHOTO, OR PHOTOS, I DO HAVE PICTURES OF SPIDERS, NASTY ONES. I ALSO HAVE PICTURES OF MOTHS. I AM NOT AFRAID TO USE THE MOTH PICTURES.
BUT SERIOUSLY, COPYRIGHT 2018, KIDZOND.

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POSSIBLE ATTACK MOTH, STILL WORKING ON TRAINING. / PHOTO BY KIDZOND

 

 

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Ode to a naked plastic woman.

Or why Barbie is a cultural martyr.

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Alas, poor Barbara Millicent Roberts, she played well. / Photos by KidZond.

 

I was mowing the grass this past weekend when I came upon the scene of the crime. A mud spattered naked plastic woman, her body prone on the grass, her decapitated head supine. My reaction was one I have had often over the years.

“Oh really? What the hell?! Do you kids know how much these cost?!” I quickly looked around for children to yell at. None present at the crime scene. I estimate the body had been there for a week. If I called the police, Ken would have had a lot of explaining to do. I’m sure my children would be great material witnesses.

Barbie’s have been a part of my life for many years. Long before I had daughters who would beg me to buy them one, and throw a fit when their sister (or brother) took theirs. Finding one decapitated and discarded wasn’t really a shock as much as it was an annoyance. Then again, Barbie’s heads don’t just ‘pop on’ anymore like they did when I was a kid.

When I was young, my favorite playmates were my niece and nephew. Both were in my age bracket, being that my niece was just 2 younger than me, my nephew 4 years younger. The three of us would play with my nieces Barbie’s. Join with my nephew and I’s G.I. Joe’s who, back then, were the same size. Inevitably these creative play dates would turn to rivalries and my nieces Barbie’s would suffer the consequences. It never ended well for my nephew and I. Usually we would get in trouble for putting G.I. Joe’s head on Barbie bodies, snickering as we handed them back to my niece. This and other devious plots, would irritate my niece enough to place a call, in the form of a scream, to my Mother and Sister. Luckily, for my niece, she soon got a sister to play with, and could then ignore us boys.

I grew up with Barbie’s, and when I became a man I was still fascinated by that impish smile of hers, her stand out eyes, and perfectly contoured figure. So, I of course, sought out the same in women.

Which of course is an utter lie.

Nor did my nieces, or my daughters, for that matter, ever want to be Barbie. They may have wanted to be what she was career or imagination wise, but not her.

Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, she has had approximately 130 careers in her ‘lifetime’. Has done almost anything a little girl could possibly image.

Then again I have seen Barbie do some amazing things over the years. She has cast spells, vanquished monsters, sang at talent shows and even explored the vast depths of the bathtub. Once she even climbed to the top of the roof. Took a ladder to get her down. I will say that Barbie and her friend Barbie should never have ridden in the back of my pick up truck to work. Who knows what they did back there unbelted and sitting in my truck bed. Although it did make two little girls very giggly.

Barbie has gotten a bad rap as of late. Ironically it’s an old rap that comes up now and again. The concept that she is a bad influence and shows girls an unrealistic view of what they should look like. Sorry I don’t buy that. Here’s why.

Years ago I worked in the printing industry, I worked on a computer system that was the precursor to Photoshop. I edited images of all sorts, twisting reality to the advertisers desire. From taking a photo of heavy construction equipment, shot in a garage, and putting it in a work zone setting, to making a green eye woman have the most startling blue eyes. I did a fair amount of work altering what models looked like. Photography is nice, but electronic editing makes it sell.

Then came the day I bumped into two teenage girls in a grocery store fawning over a cover picture I had actually worked on. I listened to them say how much they wanted to be just like her (it was a photo of a movie star) and how perfect she was. I did the bold thing and interrupted them. I pointed out all the work I had done to this movie star to make her perfect and flawless. They were both fascinated and shocked. Electronic photo editing was in its infancy back then, so the idea that this photo wasn’t ‘real’ was new to them. Yet those two teenage girls walked away knowing that perfection in the advertising industry is an illusion.

Do I fault the advertisers? No, they are selling a product, in this case a magazine. They have to compete with hundreds of other magazines, so they need images to stand out. Just like it was more economical for the heavy construction equipment to have their photo shoot in a well-lit garage and have the outside environment added.

Do I blame the actress for not being flawless? No, she’s human. The picture I worked on was probably after the poor woman having to sit for two or more hours as the photographer took hundreds of pictures. So she had to endure fans blowing her hair, bright lights blinding her eyes and countless touch ups of make-up. Her eyes being red, hair a little messy, and the touch of crows feet are normal. Flawless was my creation. It was what I was paid to do.

So how does Photoshop image of an actress relate to Barbie? Glad you asked.

Because in both cases these are unrealistic depictions of woman. One is a doll created for children’s entertainment. The other is a person whose altered photograph is used to sell a product. Neither is real. Both have been targets of those who think we are damaging little girls minds into believing they must look like this or that. And counter argument that it’s just ‘fine’ and girls know the difference.

I’ve had to have these fights, these arguments with my older daughters as they felt the pressures from society that they must conform to what society thinks is ‘perfect’. Young girls are assault daily with images and ads as to what they could do or buy to make them perfect and thus happy. The beauty lies within argument only goes so far.

Of course when it comes to advertisement I have a leg up on most parents. I did it for a living, so I know the ins and outs. I could counter my two older daughters desire to be just like *pick a pop star* and let them know they were just as human as they are. Yet not once in those teenage years did my daughters hold up a Barbie Doll and tell me they wanted to look just like her.

So while I can say that media, in all of its forms can be maddening for a teenage girl or boy for that matter, I have to disagree that Barbie is warping young minds. Especially when I find one lying naked, headless, in my backyard. Not too sure who aspires to be like that. Or naked with only one shoe on 90% of the time.

The Barbie, naked, muddy, decapitated is still annoying. As with those painted with sharpies, or those whose hair has been cut short, or whose dress is now sleeveless because, well, it’s summer. This is a monetary thing for a parent. It also is proper respect for your belongings. Or your sisters belongings. I suspect that my son Nick is a hitman for Ken. I’ll have to talk to him about this in the near future. Not a good career choice.

If I had to take a guess,  I would suspect, that if that poor Barbie could talk, she would tell me of the wonderful adventure she had, prior to her untimely demise. It is possible she was on a secret mission for the King and was attacked by a dragon. Or maybe she was a spy that was uncovered. Trust me, there is a story there. There always is.

Barbie is a cultural icon. She has been around longer than me. Yet in that time she has been on millions, if not billions of adventures. 130 careers? I don’t think so. She has done more than that. Much more. She gives children, yes even little boys, a way to express their imagination in ways children before Barbie’s came along could not fathom.

So maybe it is a little too early to melt Barbie at the stake. We may want to give the old gal a break and let the next generation of little girls and boys just Play Barbie’s. She may be an unrealistic image of a woman’s body, yet she is also a vehicle to explore the vast world of imagination.

 

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When you travel in a suitcase, clothes are optional.

 

You can find more about Barbie at http://barbie.mattel.com/shop

 

[KidZond in no way endorses any product. The product mention in this blog is for entertainment purposes only. And yes, I have played Barbie’s, and still do to this day upon request.]

 

 

Is that a butt?

Alexis Self Portrait

Alexis, Self Portrait.

By Js Kendrick

 

So…I came across a butt tonight. Kind of took me by surprise actually. I had originally planned to write about kids asking those “Why is the sky blue?” questions, had a funny story about my second oldest, Kayla, when she was about 8 asking me where blood came from (specifically where did it originally come from. Bone marrow, apparently, was not the answer). I had a cute angle and all. Needed a picture to go with it. So I searched my photos.

That was a mistake.

“Whoa wait! Is that a butt? Are you bleeping serious?!” I said to my laptop as I looked at the picture. My laptop didn’t answer me, just sat there on my kitchen table, showing me the incriminating evidence. I had to cock my head sideways to make sure I wasn’t overreacting. No, it was a butt.

This wasn’t a cute butt, nor a sexy butt, not even a famous butt. It was a blurry butt of my daughter Alexis. Taken a good year or so back. I have a hunch she had help from a certain little brother. That or she understands my phone better than I do, which wouldn’t shock me either.

This butt must go!

Of course I deleted it, noting the message popping up warned me it would be deleted off my cloud too. You’re darn right I want it off the cloud! ‘Click’ / Delete.

Then I scoured the endless photos I have. I have quite a few photos, no, I have zillions. Quite a few of them blurry and well of very odd and artistic angles. Mostly close-ups of my younger children. Some of stuffed animals and of course of our two cats and dog.

I didn’t take those pictures. Yet I looked at them. I wondered.

[Cue Gears Grinding in my head].

“So…they take my phone to play games, then take pictures, make silly videos, and this stuff is synched with my cloud, which is synched to my laptop…”

I had blurry butt pictures. They are getting smarter. This is a major issue with children, the older they get, the smarted they seem to get. Damnit.

“So what will they do next? Start uploading pictures to the web? Um, can they do that? Not sure I could.” My brow furrowed. The gears ground to a halt.

Okay I’m pretty sure I am safe for now. They do have tablets, yet we of course put blockers on them. Even on my phone, for say YouTube. And we try to keep on top of it, but yeah, they are getting smarter. So…yeah, going to have to figure it out.

This is not my fathers camera. My dad had a Polaroid. It used film. If I took a picture I used film, that was found out. That went over…poorly.

Now, I can take as many pictures as I want on my phone, same with their tablets. My little Nexters have their Millennial siblings beat hands down. I was freaked when my older two played games and talked to strangers (They called them ‘other players’ sure…) and used web cams. They were over 18 at the time, still, dad here.

But what now? They are only 9 and 6. What do I have to combat in 5 years time? We already do all the ‘internet safety’ discussions. The ‘sometimes the little skits on YouTube that feature little toys are not always meant for little eyes’ talks.

We do our best, be as vigilant, as parental, as possible. Then I get photos of blurry butts on my phone. Seriously?

I should point out that I am a big believer in technology. I find it fantastic. I can get the weather anytime I want, know what is going on in the world, converse with friends that live thousands of miles away, read about anything and everything. For me? A baby boomer who grew up with 3 channels and computers the size of warehouses? This day and age is just…awesome!

Except for blurry butts.

Blurry butts I can do without.