Want to create a retrospective of your high school experience? Senior Tolu Omokehinde did just that using time-lapse photography to capture scenes from his last seven months as a student at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. The final product is a mosaic of high school life, both generically recognizable, and touchingly personal. It’s also a look into the future of how we capture memories, and how we package them up for later recall.
The video from Omokehinde caught my attention because I went to Blair High School for one year many moons ago. (It was located in a different building then.) My brother also went there several years later, and graduated as one of the chief editors for the online newspaper Silver Chips. Omokehinde was also an editor for Silver Chips, which is where his video first appeared.
The difference between when my brother worked the school newspaper a decade ago and today, is that back then, the cutting edge in online media was an interactive, photo-driven map tracking the 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C. area. The map was such a big deal that my brother made The Washington Post when he created it.
Today, we’ve got video at our disposal, and the ability to distribute it easily thanks to broadband connections and the wonder of platforms like Vimeo and YouTube. Omokehinde shows just how compelling the medium can be, and how it can be used to shape our historical recollections. Video theoretically offers a more realistic portrayal of events, but in reality it’s just as easily manipulated as the photos and captions on a yearbook page. School buses at sunrise and industrious students bustling down hallways show one side of high school life, but only one side of many.
And in the future when we’re browsing our video yearbooks in the cloud, will our recollections of high school be any more truthful for the video record? Probably not. Richer, perhaps, but just as faulty as our unaided memories, or the photos on an old-school yearbook page.