This morning my youngest daughter presented a beautiful portrait she had drawn of one of her good friends. It was amazing! Since I can not (for the life of me) draw anything but stick figures, it baffles me how some artists can recreate dimension and shadow and bring a blank piece of paper to life. Because of my background as a photographer, I tend to home in on certain details of an image. I noticed there were certain marks in areas around the subjects nose that appeared to be acne. I asked my daughter if by any chance she had made a photocopy of the girl and then added the pencil and and shading brushes over the top. Her response was tearful. She thought I was being an absolutely terrible mother by asking such a question. She did let me know the spots I saw were areas where her pencil landed in the process of creation and needed to be blended out, but she could not get beyond the fact I had even asked the question in the first place.
How do we teach our children integrity and honesty in today’s digital world? Everyday they watch others right-click (AKA: steal) images for their use in presentations for school. This practice is taught and encouraged. Okay, “steal” is probably a harsh word when it comes to what they are taught in class…they are only using the images for educational purposes, right?
Because we have a new generation that has been taught that just taking something is okay, I feel it is especially important to teach my children the importance of integrity. As far as I am aware, copyright law is not taught in public school. This, in my own profession, it is a big problem. It is too easy to steal someone else’s work and call it your own. It happens in every profession – in an office when someone allows others to believe someone else’s idea or work is their own, in photography when someone right-clicks an image and reposts it without permission (even if it is just on their FB page), and in art when someone takes a smart phone pic and prints out art to hang on their wall. It gives the saying “locks are just there to keep the honest people honest” a renewed meaning.
Integrity and honesty go hand-in-hand in my opinion. Authenticity is important…and I must say it is a struggle I personally go through everyday as a photographer in the world of Photoshop – what is real & what is Photoshop (but that is a topic for another blog post!). The discussion of my daughter’s incredible art piece will be an issue revisited again this evening. I need to let her know how proud I am of her artistic ability. I just hope she understands that, by me making inquiries, I am just doing my job as a mom. – Georgia