My Photographer

Last spring, in a desperate attempt to get a shot of myself in a shirt I had just made, and with my tripod nowhere to be found, I handed my expensive digital SLR camera to my then 2 year-old son, Little Buddha. He had been begging to use my camera for awhile, but I had been hesitant to put such a pricey piece of breakable equipment into his hands. I was pleasantly surprised with his best shot. When I blogged it, Rachel suggested that perhaps I could get him some cheapy digital camera to practice with. I passed this idea on to my parents who were asking what to get the boys for their 3rd birthday last May. The gifts were a hit, and Little Buddha became an instant shutterbug (Tiny Dancer likes the camera fine, but not in the same sort of obsessive way as his brother and his mother).

It has been a delightful thing to see LB’s developing eye for composition and color. Of course there are hazards to handing a camera, even a cheap and theoretically indestructible one, to a 3 year-old. Most notably – he is at the perfect height to get numerous shots of people’s backsides, as well as tummy rolls and the underside of double chins. Not pretty, my friends. Not pretty. Still, I’m thrilled to support his new hobby.

He took his camera on our vacation this summer, and played the role of the tourist quite well.

Little Buddha and Tiny Dancer at the National Zoo

Then one afternoon at the beach, he got out his camera and simply went to work with it, without any of the rest of us noticing him quietly clicking away. When I uploaded his pics, I was astonished not only with the quality of the composition, but with the fact that he clearly actively worked to develop several different compositions of the same subject matter.

The Coca-Cola Series

In the next set, he manipulated not only the objects in the photo, but also his own perspective. What I love about these is that I personally rarely think to photograph a person without their face (unless I am doing a shot of myself modeling something I made and am specifically trying to focus on the handmade object). It is hard for me to think outside my own conventions on this count, so I was particularly impressed to see what he came up with here – much better, I think, than if he had included my face. I also really love the combination of the white tabletop, white mug, and white MacBook, with the little bit of pink top (handmade, of course!) and the unexpected black plastic beetle.

The Mommy-Mac-Mug-Bug Series

I don’t know that I would ever have thought to get a camera for a 3 year-old if it hadn’t been for Rachel’s encouragement – yet another example of how the craftblog community is supporting me in my own efforts to support my kids’ creativity.

So keep those ideas coming. The contest is still on, till midnight October 8th. So please make sure to leave your idea about nurturing a culture of creativity in the home. Creativity is however you define it, too – it doesn’t just pertain to crafts, or visual arts, or music. I’ve gotten great comments so far, so if you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, check them out.

11 thoughts on “My Photographer

  1. I’m not sure I’ve commented before, but your son’s photos just compelled me to do so.

    I love the one with the upside down coke can. And the beetle series is priceless. We all know how much Moms (myself included) fear large bugs. He has “the eye”, that son of yours! I know nobody has to tell you to be proud.

    We used to give our girls our old film cameras but the problem for small ones is always having to look through the view finder with only one eye, so the new line of kid friendly cameras that allows them to look with both eyes is such a cool idea. I can recall my oldest holding the camera with one hand while her other hand was clamped firmly over the eye not looking through the lens, because it was the only way she could manage. Now she is 26 and an accomplished (and published) photographer.

    It’s never too early to encourage creativity.

  2. What camera is that? Could you point me in the right direction to find it, or a similar one? I have an almost 6yo and a 3yo, and they’d both love that, especially the 6yo. I tried disposable cameras, but I’d really rather have a sturdy digital.

    Thanks for this post! Great pictures.

  3. My boys were gifted those same cameras for xmas. They love them! And you are right- we get a lot of shots of stuff I don’t want shots of!

  4. What a great idea! It’s like a visual insight into how kids see the world. I think fostering creativity sometimes means not doing things. For example, not pushing them to colour inside the lines, or not asking them what their drawing is a picture of. That gives them the idea that ‘art’ has to be a picture of a thing, and encourages them to put boundaries on their expression. When my friend’s kid shows me his pictures instead I’ll say that I like the colours he picked or something like that.

  5. I LOVE it!! How very cool to see his creative side coming out so strongly.

    what camera is that? And, does it have a screen that shows the pictures after he’s taken them? Monkey has a poopy little digital camera and I think it’s just too small for little fingers. A bigger one would def be easier for her to manage.

  6. Oh yay! Can I retroactively make my entry into your creativity contest be “get your kids cheap digital cameras”???

    Those shots are really outstanding. I adore the Mom/Mac/bug series. I’m very impressed, and I can’t wait to see his talent develop.

    The one thing I’m disappointed about is that we didn’t see any examples from the backside/tummy roll series. šŸ™‚

  7. Those pics are so great! My favorite in the Coke series is the one with the little piece of green candy in it. I hope you plan to frame them and mount them on the wall!! Maybe you could take him to some kind of photography exhibit, too…

    Carole (as always, I can’t remember my log in)

  8. My not-quite-two-year-old always wants my camera (My D80? I don’t think so, sweetie!). I want to get her that Fisher Price camera in the next year, by the time she’s 3 or maybe for her 3rd birthday.

    These are great photos. He should be very proud.

  9. this is so great and inspiring. love the freedom and creativity in his shots… i feel like i can learn so much from this post in loosening up in my own photography!

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