If you are looking for a perfect gift for a young child or you want to see things from a different perspective, a camera is a perfect choice. The pictures they take can give you an intriguing view of what they value or what captures their curiosity. Looking at pictures with the child photographer may also prompt some interesting conversation!
A Child With a Camera
Putting a camera in the hands of a child can bring about some amazing results and can encourage a child's creativity. Viewing pictures they have taken can be very exciting as well.
First and foremost, I am not naïve and I feel the need to express this fact before I write an article that may make me appear as though I am a writer that lives in la la land. I know that sadly, not all children have the childhood they deserve. Many live in extreme poverty and are personally exposed to and experience the consequences of societies plagued with corruption, violence and a disregard for basic human rights. Providing these children with a camera for a short period of time would undoubtedly provide a deeper insight into their daily plight. The resulting photographs would also be demonstrative of the environmental factors that contribute to a “lost childhood”. Many of us, as adults, may be shocked by the images digitally captured and ready to print. I will one day write an article from this perspective but this article is not based on that side of reality.
Children, in general, look at the world around them far differently than you or I do. I know I am not providing earth shattering news when I make this statement. But have you ever taken the time to see it through their eyes? I have personally found an easy way to do this and the results are often inspiring and thought provoking.
I bought my grandson a Fisher Price camera when he was almost three years old. It was digital, appeared to made of a rubber type material and very rugged. It was a huge hit! He used it frequently, snapped photo’s to his hearts delight, and dropped the camera too many times to count. After three years of use it wore out and I had to replace it with another. This time I purchased an additional memory card to give him greater “mileage” with his photo shoots! Why would I spend a significant amount of money on a camera, not once, but twice for a child of his young age? Simply because it was well worth it.
His first camera allowed me to see his world through his eyes. As I looked at his pictures of his parents and other members of his family I realized that he felt the attachment and knew that we were “his”. His numerous self-portraits with the big smile made me smile. There were pictures of his house, taken as he was pulling away in the car. I inquired about them and his response was, “It’s where I come back to Me-Me!” He felt secure in going, knowing he was returning.
The camera had different applications as well. He modified some of his pictures on occasion. He put glasses on his father. It happened to be a night his dad didn’t read to him before bed. He added a huge hat on his mother’s head within days of her having her hair cut and restyled. He put a new nose on a picture of me. I am not going to interpret that… I will just keep reminding myself that sometimes kids do things spontaneously without reason!
When he received his second camera, he was almost 6 and it is the one he continues to use. The images he captures with this one have expanded to include the world around him. They have captured the beauty in simplicity that I often failed or forgotten how to truly see. The photographs have given me a different theory of why children may walk so much slower at times; The world really does look a bit different from a 2 ½’ perspective. I’ve learned to walk a little slower and wait when I need to as he trudges along, stopping frequently to snap his shutter.
Recently, I bought him IMAX Under the Sea. As he was watching it, I left the room and returned to find him clicking away. He told me he was taking pictures of the sea creatures as though he was there. That evening, when I loaded the photographs onto the computer, I saw beauty and color but I also saw HIS imagination and could easily identify what had enthralled him.
The ordinary through the eyes of a child truly can become extraordinary.
Two camera’s…an incredible gift for both of us. If I have to purchase five more I will, without hesitation.