Children and Cameras
Children in Front of the Camera
If your house is anything like ours, the phrase "children and cameras" probably means the children are in front of the camera while you take their photos. Everyone loves taking photos of their children.
This is where digital cameras are absolutely fantastic. Our camera is on the go more often than not. I have to admit that I've worn out more cameras than I care to say.
Most of our photos are of the boys as they are the cutest people in the house! Cameras are absolutely terrific for capturing your child's growth and development. The old saying -"picture is worth a thousand words" - definitely applies when it comes to recording a child's childhood. More than likely you've looked back at a photo of your child when they were a baby and realised how quickly they've grown up! Photos are a great way to record that growth.
Children Behind the Camera
Recently I realised, however, that there's more to cameras than just taking photos of the smallest, loudest, most active people (i.e., the kids!) in the house. Instead of putting the children in front of the camera, let's put them behind the camera!
The theory behind this is that cameras allow children to:
- See the world from a different perspective
- Record the environment around them
- Use technology in a meaningful way
- Be creative.
How did I come to this realisation about children and cameras? The "revelation" dawned upon me during one of our recent walks. Here's how the story goes:
Spring is well and truly here in this part of the world (which is Australia - in case you're reading from other parts of the world). To prove the arrival of the season, wild flowers have sprung up in empty fields turning the island into a place of beauty.
The boys and I stopped to have a closer look at the field of flowers. To say it was beautiful is an understatement. It was one of the moments where I just had to bring out the camera. Now what could make this scene perfect? The addition of my boys, of course! Yes, I realise that for everyone else in the world the photo would have been great without the boys - but I'm biased just as you are of your children!
The boys were duly lined up in the foreground and told to smile: "Cheese, please!" and their photograph taken. However, our youngest had a surprise for me. Out came an old phone he'd squirreled away in his pocket. While I'm taking a photo of him, he took a photo of me taking a photograph of them.
Now I had a choice. I could be frustrated with my "uncooperative subjects" or inspired by the idea of combining children and cameras to take us on a new path of adventure. Thankfully, the later seemed like a more profitable course of action.
With the invention of digital cameras and mobile phones, photography is now something that can be engaged in by anyone regardless of age. While David clicked away with the old phone, Daniel borrowed my camera. Together, they spent ages quietly moving all over the field taking photos.
Some of their photos turned out really well - crisp and clean and well balanced. I was most impressed when they managed to sneak up on some bees and snap a photograph of them. Who knows? This could be the beginning of a life-long career in photography!
The wonderful thing about using a camera is that it caused the boys to stop what they were doing and take careful note of what was around them. For a brief period of time, the boys ceased jumping and running through the normal course of the day and crept through a field in search of small insects. Life slowed down - well, for a little time anyway. It wasn't long before the boys were back on their scooters and off in search of the water to play in down near the island boat ramp.
While I have some terrific photos to look back on as a result of our romp in the field, I came away with something else. That something else was a determination to involve children and cameras in ways that the boys are more involved on the other side of the camera (i.e., taking the photos) as taking photos helps them to focus in on things very effectively. Who knows where this journey of cameras and children will take us? We could use cameras to take short videos - or create our own short animated film. It is possible!
Whatever the season is where you are living, I hope you find something interesting to explore and photograph as well. I also hope that you are encouraged to combine children and cameras so your child is involved in taking more photographs.
If you'd like some information about buying cameras for children, try this article: 'Buying Cameras for Children'. One encouraging thing I noticed in this article is the mention about protective casing for digital cameras which help to prevent against damage due to bumps and water. Hmmm - if only I'd known about this a few cameras back!