Sunday, November 21, 2010

Schrödinger's Penguin: Getting Baby on Tape

The observer effect is a pretty well known theory. The idea goes like this (if you're willing to oversimplify... of course, I am), just the act of observing something changes it. I have found this to be only too true when attempting to document my infant son.

Early on, I knew he couldn't REALLY understand what I was trying to do. I knew to him the seizure inducing flashes of light were just an odd quirk of his reality. As he got a little older, he learned to squint at the red-eye light, and now, well, now he's just a ham. Sometimes, you capture what you expect, like how he feels about Zucchini:

The part of this I understand, is his predictable reaction to my documentation efforts. The part that amuses me is the Schrödinger's cat part. The part where you don't really know what you've got 'till you bust open that box and find out. The first amusing version of this came early on when I tried to document his amusement with lion sounds:

Most recently, I was trying to capture his adorable clapping (it inspired a whole post). Instead of the amusement of reinforced clapping, I got this:

Honestly, it's the unpredictability that amuses me. Much like the cat in the box, I'll have to think of my grandfather's answer "The only good cat's a dead cat." So, for me, maybe the only best video's a funny video.

What has trying to document people taught you? Do you ham for the camera? Ever look for the camera you JUST KNOW must be there?

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