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Birth to 12 years in 2:45
April 22, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Frans Hofmeester filmed his daughter every week from birth to age 12 and made a time lapse [SLVimeo]
posted by mikesch (56 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Every cyberpunk/SF novel dystopia horror story about being too plugged in/connected = right now.
posted by Fizz at 9:52 AM on April 22, 2012


That was really amazing to watch!

One of the commenters at vimeo wanted to know what she was saying, and I found myself really curious about that as well.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:53 AM on April 22, 2012


Fascinating to watch the trends in where her eyes tend to go when she's not looking right at the camera. There's about a two-year stretch around 8-9 where it's down and to the left, then it's up and to the right for a while, then sort of directly left. I wonder how consistent those trends would be across different groups of people (sex, ethnicity, class) and across individuals within groups.
posted by gurple at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Good God, does she ever shut up?--sour cream

Hah! He probably told her to talk. I like the 'bit of video every week' better than the 'photograph every day' ones. He's not just capturing her image, but a little bit of her personality every week.
posted by eye of newt at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was really funny when she was just a little baby and it kept rapidly switching amongst shots of her sitting still, puking, picking her nose, babbling, then back to sitting still again.
posted by Potsy at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fascinating to watch the trends

Agreed, also great to watch the development of personality (previously noted as Good God, does she ever shut up?) as well as self-expression through clothing (especially that first knit hat), hairstyle, and generally becoming more animated as time goes on.
posted by nickrussell at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2012


I found this simply wonderful!
posted by Anitanola at 9:57 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fascinating to watch the trends in where her eyes tend to go when she's not looking right at the camera.

You'd have to control for camera orientation/placement. If you think about it, he had to have moved everything somewhere near the beginning at least once. She starts off lying down and ends up standing. Plus she gets taller.
posted by DU at 9:57 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aw, this is lovely.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:01 AM on April 22, 2012


What we are not seeing, is the 5 other children that didn't turn out so well.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:03 AM on April 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


It is interesting to watch her change but I sort of hate how we're chronicling and recording everything to death right now. Though I guess humans have been cataloguing things forever. The technology we have just makes it more available.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2012


So cool! I found myself mesmerized by the changing hairstyles. I think having her talk worked really well.
posted by Glinn at 10:08 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just like the old Kodak ad, Turn around and she's tiny, turn around and she's grown., only that was lovely.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:18 AM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Our compulsion for documentation and preservation and retrospection will eventually squeeze the present out of existence, and we will pass through life as immortal but hollow digital skeletons.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


There is... another.
posted by Yowser at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is time-lapse? Really?

'Cause this is about how fast it goes in real-life.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2012 [20 favorites]


2nding w-g pandemonium.

I'd like to see a video of her talking about how she feels about this project. Partly just because I'd like to hear what she sounds like.
posted by sneebler at 10:24 AM on April 22, 2012


On your marks... Get set... "Go!"

aka Fun-with-YouTubeDoubler.com
posted by nickrussell at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2012


They grow up fast.
posted by Trurl at 10:29 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good God, does she ever shut up?

When she's 8. And I remember the feeling.
posted by Danila at 10:33 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the commenters at vimeo wanted to know what she was saying, and I found myself really curious about that as well.

If you carefully read her lips during the last shot she's saying "If you put that camera in my face one more time I'm leaving home."

That's why it only goes until she's 12.
posted by HuronBob at 10:46 AM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Good God, does she ever shut up?

Right about the time she turned ten, I started to think, "She's probably an amazing girl with amazing things to say. Too bad she's being reduced to an image here."

In other words, I sure hope not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:47 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I thought was really interesting was how much I liked Lotte by the end of it. I now have this weird sense that I sort of know her and that she's a good and interesting person and I want to see her keep growing. It's an illusion of course (I mean, I'm sure she's perfectly nice and I certainly want all the best for her as her life progresses, but I know that I don't actually know anything about her) but it's a surprisingly strong feeling and I wasn't expecting it.
posted by Scientist at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Our compulsion for documentation and preservation and retrospection will eventually squeeze the present out of existence, and we will pass through life as immortal but hollow digital skeletons.

This is something I'm really conflicted on. On the one hand, I see your point. A few years ago I was in the bay area for the first time and so of course we drove around SF a bit, across the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. The amount of people I saw looking at things through their cameras was amazing. I remember thinking, "It's like they're already looking forward to remembering it later", which struck me as a little sad.

On the other hand, sometimes it's just fun to look at old photos. And if you want to do that, you have to actually take the photos in the first place.
posted by jcreigh at 11:04 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just like the old Kodak ad, Turn around and she's tiny, turn around and she's grown., only that was lovely.

Oh that commercial was beautiful. It was probably the direct inspiration for the big "Kodak Carousel" season finale on Mad Men. I never had kids so it wasn't until I saw that Carousel pitch that I understood my father's obsession with taking family photos.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crap, my resolve to never have children is weakening!

Damn you, Hofmeester! Damn you!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be fascinating to watch this in reverse.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 11:27 AM on April 22, 2012


I am not a kid person and know next to nothing about child development, but it really struck me how right around age 2-to-3 she goes from being just a baby (a baby is a baby is a baby) to being a defined, individual person--as far as can be gleaned from the moving image--and and then again around 9-10, morphs again into a pre-adult (as in, I'd have a pretty good idea I could recognize her in 20 years from that point). Yowza.
posted by psoas at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just sent this to my son (who just had a child).
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2012


jcreigh: The amount of people I saw looking at things through their cameras was amazing. I remember thinking, "It's like they're already looking forward to remembering it later", which struck me as a little sad.

I've caught myself doing exactly that and have tried to curb this behaviour (especially as the photos never turn out that great anyway) and live more "in the moment". Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

As for the video, I was surprised how mostly compliant and animated she was. If that had been me, I would've been sullen or even sulking for about half of it. (otoh, this is something that never would've even remotely occurred to my parents. After my dad died I sometimes wished we'd been more snap-happy, as we have barely any records of him.)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2012


Just like the old Kodak ad, Turn around and she's tiny, turn around and she's grown., only that was lovely.

I...think there's something in my eye.
posted by fancyoats at 12:13 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


We haven't had consumer video long enough, but I'd love to see someone do this all the way through, birth to death. It would be amazing and probably leave me bawling my eyes out.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:14 PM on April 22, 2012


Yowser: There is... another.
This should have been part of the FPP. What I find interesting is how much you can see going on, just in those little snippets from both videos. Not just the physical changes, since most of us probably don't think that's the most interesting part, but the way the personality is being shaped by the outside world. You can see Lotte start to become more of a girl on the cusp of being a teenager- she's better groomed and more fashionable, certainly- and Vince goes from maniac little chimp to holding himself in a way that's more typically "cool", as he is learning to be among his classmates. That's a large part of being a boy and a man, is learning to put up a posture of who you think people expect you to be, regardless of what's under the surface.

It's almost a shame that these don't go further: Vince and Lotte are both about to enter a period of life that will be turbulent and dramatic and have huge changes, and we'll see it in their faces more and more- the guardedness, the submersion of thought and speech, the final loss of innocence. But maybe I'm wrong: maybe, being photogenic children with parents interested enough to do a documentary of this, will be those type of people who never seem to lose that spark, and are just perpetually "happy" and well-adjusted into their teens and adulthood.

A way-too-personal tangent, I guess... I have a pathological hatred of being photographed, to the point of forcefully deleting pictures off of people's cameras. With almost no exception that I am aware of (besides photo ID), there exist no pictures of me past the age of about 18. That said, I have on my hard drive a few scanned pictures my mother sent me from when I was a child, mostly school pictures but some family events. While there aren't many, I can sort of see about the age where things changed- in the home, at school- and I know what was going on then, and I just never really smile since then. My lopsided face gets aloof and guarded (and I can't believe I'm sharing this, but yeah if you ever wanted to put a face to ugly ol' hincandenza... the fourth picture is about the age life became an unrecoverable wreck, the final one being my driver's license just before I turned 20). The little me was always grinning toothily, and then that stopped. I started wearing glasses at that time, and I have a pet theory that wearing glasses is not biological, it's a stress-related response to keeping the world at bay by not seeing. But maybe that's a little off-base.

And I'm not special, I think this happens to most of us, and it's a little bit heartbreaking how we are taught to shut ourselves down- but we can't not do that, because it's crazy and reckless to be happy-go-lucky. And there's a part of me that wonders how differently my life and self would have evolved if I'd fallen in with some free-spirited hippie types in my late teens, if I'd regained a childlike sense to tap into... instead of stuck in a cubicle job that pays the bills and the mortgage until I'm dead.
posted by hincandenza at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


...we're chronicling and recording everything to death right now...

Just like the old Kodak ad...

I...think there's something in my eye.

Yeah, me too. Turn around, and Kodak is dead.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


And that was probably oversharing, so... sorry.
posted by hincandenza at 12:31 PM on April 22, 2012


That Kodak ad reminds me of John Lewis's famous "Always a woman" ad, which tugs at the same heartstrings. There's something really compelling about watching this kind of progression.
posted by ukdanae at 12:40 PM on April 22, 2012


I can't wait for the one that features a puppy! And then one with a Hobbit. OMG did you see that scene in LOTR with the wee Hobbittses? Fer cute!
posted by Brocktoon at 12:54 PM on April 22, 2012


I like the part at the end where it says "to be continued". I thought "Oh, good. she's not dead."
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:56 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That Kodak ad reminds me of John Lewis's famous "Always a woman " ad, which tugs at the same heartstrings. There's something really compelling about watching this kind of progression.

Ugly tears. Every. Single. Time.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:04 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was lovely to me. No kids, but I've watched younger relatives grow up from babydom to fully-fledged adulthood (including oversharing about their sex lives on facebook, which is... weird) and I would have loved to document them like this.
posted by Angharad at 1:15 PM on April 22, 2012


Many ages ago (definitely pre-internet), I recall reading a story of a photographer who, when their daughter was born, bought an adult woman's swimsuit. They then proceeded to take a photo of the daughter every year (or, maybe every 6 mos. Can't recall) in the swimsuit. They carried-out the project up until the daughter seemingly grew into the swimsuit.

Damned if I can find any reference to it, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2012


"They grow up fast" sounds trite and cliche, but goddamn if it's not true. My son is three, and his babyhood, his infancy, is now history. I have mixed feelings about that (ubercuteness vs constant vigilance), but as someone who only wanted one kid, I'm almost swayed by emotions that tell me to "have another!". Almost. This video is cute, but a little scary. I want my son to be the man I hope him to be, but I think I'm gonna have a hard time letting go of the boy he is now.
posted by zardoz at 2:38 PM on April 22, 2012


The best thing I ever heard about children and time: the days are long but the years are short.

It is true, too true.
posted by jadepearl at 3:36 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Am I gonna be the first one to mention Michael Apted's Up Series? (7-up, 14-up, 21-up, 28-up, 35-up, 42-up, 49-up, and I'm not sure if they did 56 yet...). Truly an amazing series of movies. Anyway, that's what this reminds me of.
posted by marble at 4:08 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just about every time I go home, my dad says something along the lines of how every time he looks at me, he sees me as a two or three year old, alongside or inside what I look like now. And now I'm graduating from college and going off to start my own adult life... I can't imagine how he feels. It almost makes me scared of having children.
posted by MadamM at 4:18 PM on April 22, 2012


It almost makes me scared of having children.

Having children is pretty terrifying, to be honest.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:22 PM on April 22, 2012


Jesus Christ, I thought I was such an awesome mom by remembering to even put batteries in the camera before my kid's graduation.

Once again, I am a parenting failure.
posted by kinetic at 4:57 PM on April 22, 2012


I'm not sure if they did 56 yet...

According to wikipedia it should premiere mid-May this year.
posted by Lina Lamont at 4:59 PM on April 22, 2012


And that was probably oversharing, so... sorry.
There are about 8 photos of me in existence because, you know, fuck that noise.
So I think I understand what it took for you to make that comment.

Thank you.
posted by fullerine at 5:21 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This really strikes a chord with me.

My little brother just turned 13 last year. I saw him just before Christmas and again a few weeks ago. I'm pretty sure he spent the intervening months growing taller just to spite me. I can remember holding him when he was a tiny red faced newborn who barely fit in my arms, and again when he was a fat drooly-mouthed toddler. Now he has to stoop down a little to hug me, his voice has gone deep and he pauses before he speaks to consider his words. Sometimes I look at him and all I can see is the man he's going to become, and sometimes I have to fight off the impulse to pick him up and carry him around under my arm like I used to.
posted by fight or flight at 4:06 AM on April 23, 2012


One of the commenters at vimeo wanted to know what she was saying, and I found myself really curious about that as well.

Yes. There's something horribly reductionist about these videos; it's reducing her to her appearance. It's worse because she's visibly speaking, but we're not going to hear any of that. Her personality will only be expressed via her image.

I hope there's a better family-only cut that lets you hear what she's talking about, what her obsessions and thoughts and concerns are. Tracking that over 12 years is far more interesting to me than watching hairstyles change.
posted by fightorflight at 5:28 AM on April 23, 2012


I don't think the video is horribly anything. What you look like is a real and legitimate part of who you are, how other people experience and remember you, and, after a certain age, how you deliberately express your own self.

Also, frankly, I'm not really that interested in what this random child has to say. For that, I have the 12-year-olds I'm actually acquainted with. The pleasure of this piece is getting a glimpse of the first 12 years of a stranger's life in a just a few moments, absorbing tiny clues about what she was really like at and between each of those ~624 moments, wondering how it felt to watch her grow up, and thinking about people you know and who you've seen grow up and change. The fact that it's intentionally more evocative of an experience than educational about its subject doesn't diminish the work, and certainly doesn't diminish the child.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:47 AM on April 23, 2012


I'm not really that interested in what this random child has to say.
Yet you are in what she looks like. And as you admit that all you're getting is tiny clues as to what she was actually like; you use the gaps as space to project whatever you like -- the people you've known, the feelings you imagine she has -- onto her canvas. Little more than objectifying, that.

Thinking about this more, I think what actually unsettles me about the video is that she is clearly and obviously speaking, but the sound has been removed. She has something (quite a lot!) to say; but it's not considered relevant. Her personality is subsumed by the needs of the work.
posted by fightorflight at 9:23 AM on April 23, 2012


The subjects of most art are really objects. Certainly I don't see how Lotte is different from anyone who's painted, photographed or videotaped doing anything other than talking all about their thoughts and feelings. Objectification isn't inherently bad. In fact, in this context I think it's the appropriate level of interaction with what this child (hopefully) and her guardian have themselves chosen to share with us. When somebody is a stranger to you, as this girl is to all of us, their image is all you get and all you're meant to get. Trying to know more about somebody than they're telling you is just an offense of another kind.

I mean, I've seen the entire Up! series marble posted about higher up, and while it's fascinating to watch, several of the participants apparently feel quite unhappy about having been led to put so much of their true young selves permanently out for public consumption. That's why it's so common for parents to be criticised for overexposing their children's personalities to the internet, and rightly so IMO.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:38 AM on April 23, 2012


weapons-grade pandemonium: Our compulsion for documentation and preservation and retrospection will eventually squeeze the present out of existence, and we will pass through life as immortal but hollow digital skeletons.

jcreigh: This is something I'm really conflicted on. On the one hand, I see your point. A few years ago I was in the bay area for the first time and so of course we drove around SF a bit, across the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. The amount of people I saw looking at things through their cameras was amazing. I remember thinking, "It's like they're already looking forward to remembering it later", which struck me as a little sad.

On the other hand, sometimes it's just fun to look at old photos. And if you want to do that, you have to actually take the photos in the first place.


From what I've seen, people capture things on film for a handful of reasons:
1) They will never return to this place, and want a personalized memento - they're visiting San Francisco, and they are near the Golden Gate, an iconic structure that is almost universal in recognition, but this is their personal record of their visit.

2) They want to commemorate time spent with family and/or friends, marking that they were together at this point in time, in their lives, in this location. They're enjoying themselves, and want a record of the moment.

3) There is some appreciation of the visual before the person with the camera. Maybe it's an ephemeral moment, something seen from a particular vantage point, with lighting that hits just right in this moment, or it's just something pretty, like a flower or a landscape.

And then there are combinations of some or all of the above. And all of this is considered pretty normal. People had limited collections of personal photos, from trips and time spent with those close to them.

But this phenomenon of obsessively recording the world, for whatever reason, has become more accessible in the last decade. With digital cameras and recorders, the lag between capturing a moment and re-watching it are gone, the cost of developing film is gone, and photos and video are stored on increasingly large digital media instead of boxes of photos and crates of video tapes. The photographer isn't limited in shots to the number of rolls he or she carries.

Take 20 pics of you and your friends, hanging out and making silly faces, post them online, and people comment on them. Become a flâneur behind your camera, capturing a place you've seen every day on your way to work, or a place you'll never see again, but filter your experience through your lens. Why not? You have another 12 gigs of space on this flash card. Record your children's lives as much as you can, when you're not at work or asleep.

This last point came to me, recently. My son just turned 8 months old, but I only see him on evenings and weekends. He's asleep when I leave for work, and he's often an hour or two away from bedtime when I return home. On the weekends, I'd spend all day with him, except my wife and I have things to get done, so we take turns playing with him and doing errands and chores, and before we know it, we're back to work.

I'm of two minds: I wish I've taken more pictures of my son, recorded his changes. He has six teeth poking out of his gums, and two more on the way, and I can't remember when the first to poked out. So I try to convince myself that the world is ever-changing, and it's foolish to try to capture it all. But I still mourn the moments passed, and remember the tour guide who berated me for trying to capture everything instead of just experiencing the moment. I'd like to think it was easier for him to say, as he lives those sorts of experiences every day, but I think he is right. Enjoy more than you capture, you'll always feel like you missed holding onto something, no matter how much you record.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:05 PM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Which is to say, I wish I did something like this from the start of my son's life)
posted by filthy light thief at 5:07 PM on April 23, 2012


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