Monday, February 23, 2009

gratuitous cuteness

And a serious question. Wiser bloggers than I have written wiser posts than I possibly can about when writing about other people or putting up pictures of them violates their privacy or becomes a form of benign exploitation. I've never really worried about the issue, because I've put so many topics involving other people off-limits or fictionalized them.

But with Cole, I find myself running into boundary issues. Like, most immediately, is it fair to post full frontal facial shots of him (however adorable I might find them) when I would have serious qualms about doing the same with anyone else?*

What's your view?




*With some obvious exceptions. Say, if the person gave me permission.

44 comments:

Tash said...

When I started blogging I said no fucking way. No photos. I have privacy issues (my major reason for not joining Facebook. Seriously, if someone wants to find me, they can fairly easily these days). But it was a slippery slope, and then I started posting pictures and now? Meh. I guess as long as people can't really track them back to me/put a name on it. Babies are also kinda generic -- extremely cute, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure I could pick Cole out of a lineup without some serious advance studying.

I got much more wigged out when we had Bella's website and someone realized you could google her (real) name and wind up there.

Eva said...

I don't have a problem with kid pictures (well, pictures of my own kid). Especially babies. Nobody is going to recognize that baby (though so cute) in real life and embarrass the baby by saying something about the blog.

Bon said...

i'm all over the pictures. mind you, i see a looseness regarding privacy and boundaries as part of the parent-child relationship, particularly while children are young...there's inherently an intimacy (or at least dependency, and in many ways interdependency considering the impact babies have on our day-to-day lives) that makes it difficult to compare to other relationships on those subjects.

but in terms of photos, i figure this generation will grow up expecting to have online identities, and will see them as no more odd than you and i might have viewed our parents keeping a photo album of our baby pictures. preferably not too many nudie pix or poop pix if the photo album was going to be left on the coffee table...but otherwise, really, what's the difference? this generation will always inescapably have a worldwide concept of audience. and the predators? more likely to be sitting in your living room looking at your photo album on the coffee table.

Yolanda (the callipygian chronicle) said...

Obviously, since I post photos of myself and my child on my blog (and have used all or part of her face in my mastheads), I don't have the same boundary. Exploitative? Arguably so. Benign? In intention, yes. As me about the result in about twelve years.

We don't know where technology will go and some day there may be a facial recognition database in which one can extract every image of a person ever published...but that's a big, maybe. Right now we have word-based search power of Google. Without a real world name attached to the face, it's pretty meaningless.

And, at this stage, who he is as a "person" is mostly a projection. As he grows and becomes more human, I think you will intuitively begin to wrap him in to your protective shell. And we will see less and less of his face, if we see him at all.

Right now, I just think of Cole as the only part of you that you can openly show us. And I, for one, am really glad you do. I'd never write this kind of happy ending and plot reversal, but my heart is expanded watching you live it.

Sara said...

Cole is your baby, he's your mommyhood, post the pictures.

Oneday, Cole will be older and maybe he'll say mommy don't post me online and you'll start blotting his face out of family pictures like Redneck mommy did for her daughter. (It seems like her daughters gotten over it because she's stopped blotting her face.)

I've never really gotten the privacy thing, as long as your tasteful (not showing naked pics or what have you). It's not like you hide his face when you go to the mall to protect his privacy, but you don't know those people any better than you know us.

We're with you Niobe.

Rachel said...

I post pictures of my one year old son that won't embarrass him someday. When he is older, if he asks me not to, I will quit posting his picture.

My blog is anonymous, so I don't post pictures of my friends. I occasionally post them of my youngest brother, because I know he wouldn't care.

wheelsonthebus said...

I don't do it. I write so much that's personal about them that pictures seem the last straw.

kate said...

How awesome that Bon articulated already my thoughts on the subject, and so much more eloquently than I could have.

I also think babies are really kind of anonymous.

Virginia said...

I don't know. I'm all for gratuitous cuteness but I also understand your concerns. I figure that babies aren't all that without distinguishing characteristics, like a birthmark or something else that stands out, the occasional photo has got to be okay. Or maybe I just want to keep seeing baby photos.

Also, I've tagged your for the Honest Scrap meme. Visit my blog if you like to find out the rules - and hope you don't mind.

Julia said...

You doubtlessly noticed that there has never been a face shot of Monkey on my blog. Nor of me, or JD. The Cub... well, I kinda felt that since this here internet held my hand through his entire existence, it is appropriate to post his face shots. (And then I felt that I had to also post A's, in fairness and whatnot.) Monkey doesn't know about the blog (yet?), and I feel that she is a grown enough person that I would need her permission to post her face. Not so with the Cub, not yet. Probably some day, if I am still wasting electrons when he gets to be that age.

leanne said...

My first thought was, “what’s the big deal?” (besides, Cole is gorgeous and I love seeing the new photos of him – he has adorable outfits, too!). But then I started thinking some more about what I would do… while I don’t have a blog (I’m just way too chicken to put myself out there like that – yet I’m apparently I’m comfortable commenting with my own name?), I do have a flickr page where I post pics of my own kids. It’s private. Only friends and family get to see the photos. I felt weird about making them public – having people I don’t know looking at them. Not because of any fear, but just not feeling comfortable sharing my private moments and my kids with just anyone.

But, um, don’t let that stop you. That may just be me. And I wonder if I had a blog would I still be as protective. Maybe instead of posting lots of pics (like I do on flickr), maybe I’d be okay with posting the occasional photo? A blog without any pics just wouldn’t be the same, would it?

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I err on the side of overly conservative. If the person doesn't give me permission, I don't put it up. And that includes the twins because they can't really give me permission. I'll post someone's back, but not their face.

Antigone said...

I struggled with this. I really wanted to share Percy's picture with my internet pals since they are the reason I got through this last year, but given the degree of intimacy of many of my posts and the fact that he can't give me permission I decided to minimize the use of his image.

Wabi said...

If you are worried about your kid being recognized IRL from pics posted here, I would say that babydom is the time when you run the least risk. Infants morph so quickly that a photo posted in Feb. isn't going to resemble Cole much by June. It won't spark recognition IRL.

I realize there are more complicated issues with privacy overall, but at this stage of the game it seems like you have the most leeway.

Artblog said...

As you've probably noticed, I don't post pics of Mr A. because I don't have his permission. Of the kids I do, but strictly passworded because I don't want my identity found out. I consider them my property and thus feel I have the right to do so until they reach an age, say teenage, when once again I'd have to ask their permission.

Baby photos are soooo cute, especially yours, the little luv, I wouldn't want you to stop altogether :) Password them if youre worried!

xxx

thailandchani said...

I think baby pictures are okay.. but not pictures of small children or older children. It's primarily a safety issue. One time I posted some pictures of my young nieces and then thought about all the creeps out there who.. well.. you know.

I decided to take them down.

As for adults, I'd never post without the other adult's permission.


~*

Magpie said...

I'm completely inconsistent, and therefore useless.

Hajar said...

I post our family pics. I use a fake name and all, so I figure the privacy aspect is covered. I think as long as I don't post anyone's name and address, their faces are as anonymous on my blog as they would be on a crowded city street.

mames said...

i have posted pictures o fmy boys since day one, it just seems right. i figure, low blog reader numbers, a happy gramma in OR and a huge german shepherd in our home all make it okay. and they are so frickin cute. as is cole. please keep posting him...i need my baby fix anywhere i can get it.

slouching mom said...

Did you say something? I'm a bit distracted by the blinding cuteness...

Umm, I guess I think it naturally evolves towards more privacy as the child ages. At least that's how it's happened with me and my blog.

Jana said...

I post pictures of my kids on my blog, but I have hidden our last name so they won't show up on google searches. When my kids are old enough to ask not to be written about or have pictures of themselves posted, I'll respect that.

Marin said...

This is such an interesting issue, and reading all the comments is enlightening.

I think, even though Cole is absolutely scrumptious and beautiful, he is, in most forms, anonymous. Cole will grow up in a generation where the online identities begin in elementary school, so I don't think baby pictures of him on the Internet under a pseudonym on his mom's anonymous blog will be all that different from the experiences of his friends.

As for myself, well. I don't have a real job yet and I don't know where I'm going to end up. My friends, excepting one, don't know about my blog so putting their faces on it would be a gross violation of trust. The funny thing, though, is that their Facebooks are chock-full of information, so it's not as if any of them, if they found out, would have even the smallest problem with showing up in pictures. Sigh.

Betty M said...

Babies are cute (Cole more so than most) and generally anonymous so I would have no qualms about photos. I can often not identify close friends and families babies in photos once they are older so chances of identification are very slim. Up until about 8 I reckon most kids would not have a problem with a photo on a blog and I probably wouldn't ask. After that I think I would ask.

My Reality said...

Since I know how important your privacy is to you, I was surprised when you actually posted a picture of Cole.

You have to do what you are comfortable with; he is adorable and I love seeing pictures of him. But if if makes you uncomfortable, you have your answer.

Alice said...

I don't know. I enjoyed the picture. For me it's really a different question. I'm so technology unadvanced I can't post a picture .... well, that's really sad but I suppose that we're all at a different stages. With love, Alice

Kami said...

It is hard to know. I think about it every time I post a pic of myself or LB. I think it may be no big deal - in fact, expected, in 15 years or so. I have posted pics, but not many and I worry about it.

Then there are people that post all kinds of pics and use their real names (one I can think of uses her full name - first, middle, last and post tons of pics of her kids). That is extreme to me.

I guess we will know if we did the right thing or not in a decade or two.

Cutie, btw!

Ahuva Batya said...

I post pictures. I should be more paranoid, but I'm not. Maybe I'm just hoping a talent agency will see them and realize he's the next face of Gap Kids. I kid, I kid. Spouse has asked that I not post pictures of him and I respect that. Mostly.

thirtysomething said...

I say now it is fine. He is SO adorable, you must share his exquisiteness (that a word? probably not, but still fitting)with us. I agree with SM, as he ages, you will probably increase the privacy level.
I seriously cannot stop looking at this picture. I mean could his eyes be ANY more gorgeous? And, he is starting to "talk" to you and look at you now too, isn't he? Baby-sations, I call 'em.

Lisa b said...

I don't know, but it sure is cute and it really is lovely to see his sweet face knowing all you have gone through to get him here.

lifecanbeashit said...

I love photos. im a baby photo freak and there are pics all over the place of G. I dont post pics of people other than myself, S and G. I would never post pics of my sisters kids if they were in a pic with G.

I love your photos of your very cute little man!

Hugs
xxx

Trish said...

Ok- this is a hard one. I post pictures of my kids. I use their real names (first only) on my blog. However, I respect that some people don't feel comfortable doing that. I would draw the line with embarrasing things. I would not post pictures that my kids might be embarrased by when they are older. Right now, Lauren loves to see her and her sister's pictures on my blog. She also loves looking at pictures on other people's blogs. I agree with a previous commentor that this generation of kids will expect their identities to be online. I think that sites like facebook, twitter, and myspace will only get more popular. Maybe kids will even be expected to blog and create personal websites in school. I mean you can already earn a college degree online and my state (and I am sure many others) offer high school and middle school courses online. So, post pictures if you like. You are Cole's mommy and you won't post anything that would be inappropriate. Babies are too cute to keep to ourselves anyway :)

Angela said...

I don't think I could have an objective opinion here. I love that you've posted photos of him way too much.

Just Meim said...

I think the pics are fine. (And we all adore seeing them!)

I used to be completely paranoid about putting pic online, even going so far as to insist that a photographer take down a shot of my DD from his portfolio!

Now, I've relaxed. I know that it would be pretty hard to find out where to find us other than the broad scope of the state we live in. I haven't posted anyone's names, and I am careful not to mention anything too personal about location,etc.

I think you are fine. Think of all the millions of photos of child models that you can see online. Your posts are probably even more secure than those.

Besides, a face that cute deserves to be shared! ;)

Elizabeth said...

I love all the photos you post. Even the empty paper bag on top of the microwave :-)

So how has it been with your parents/extended family now that he is here?

Grad3 said...

First- how adorable is he???

Second- I will only post pic of my little one up to a point. But I don't know where that point it yet- school age??? I figure I will know when I get there.

Birdies Mama said...

you know me Niobe. I'm not shy about photos. Maybe I should be? I think baby photos are OK, and I don't think I am recognizable from photo to "real life".

Your boy is SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!!!
Mushy baby smooches to you beautiful baby!

p.s. thank you for your comment on my last post my dear. =)

Mad said...

I worry far less about the pictures than the words. Now that M is older, I no longer allow myself to fret over her vexing behaviours b/c they are too much a part of her personality now rather than generic toddler ways. I do protect our anonymity with pseudonyms but I figure that as long as I am not posting pics that compromise her dignity, then it's not that much different than showing snaps to friends or taking her out in public.

Mad said...

Also, there is only one baby picture of me in existence. Frankly, I don't think I'd mind if my baby pics were all over the web so long as they existed.

excavator said...

My view is that he's gratuitously adorable.

Sorry; I know that's no help. I suppose it's debatable if you should or shouldn't...but I'm glad you did!

http://grayquill.blogspot.com/ said...

Beautiful Baby - Blink twice and he will be grown and gone. That is how quick it happens. Cherish each and every moment.
I think your awareness of the need for boundaries will help you.
As my uncle said let your conscious be your guide but don't let your conscious guide you.
Good Luck

Karen said...

When I started my blog it was mostly anecdotes... things I didn't want to forget. Just an electronic journal, really, that no one knew about but me. After a time I shared the address with a few friends and the relatives, and often I include a cute picture or two with the story. However, I've always used nicknames for my kids... and I'm not sure anyone's going to just happen upon my blog. So for now, I feel like it's OK.

You take beautiful pictures... keep posting them! If you decide not to continue to post pics of Cole's face, I know that you will find another way to show him that will be just as amazing.

calliope said...

first off- Cole is BEAUTIFUL!

I feel like since I post under a fake name that I am (sorta, kinda) ok in posting photos. As a chronicler of this part of my life I add photos as often as I can.

Christine said...

what bon said. . .

dear lord that child is just YUMMY to look at!

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