A 1950’s Kodak was a black box camera with a plastic handle. Held in my hands at waist high I peered into the lens on the top, held still, and pressed the lever. Twelve pictures later, the roll of black and white film was dropped off at the camera shop, then anxiously waited for, and finally picked up a week later. Inside the white envelope with my name and address on the front, was a smaller packet with negatives and photos. At last! I considered the photo taking a success if three pictures looked good.
Without a doubt, children benefit when photography is added to their repertoire of life skills.
Photography develops critical as well as creative thinking. To compose a scene, pose a person, consider the lighting, and pore over photography books for ideas requires thinking skills and unique perceptions.
How does photography affect children? It enhances whatever the child loves – from sports, to poetry, to pets, to fashion, to friends and family. A photo collection makes that love ‘even better.’ Children become more observant which carries over to the details used in writing and in conversations. Independent thinking improves because picture taking goes beyond ‘shoot and snap’. It requires analysis for the ‘best’ angle; decision making for the lighting and shadows, and creative thinking for the tilt of someone’s head. With today’s cameras and camera phones, a child finds a world of color, shapes, and light to explore – and think about.
Are cameras for children? Absolutely!
Photography became a natural part of my children’s lives that continues to enrich them even today. My son captures ‘snaps” small animals eating seeds, bread, and apples. Indoors, he tracks down spiders, researches their behavior, and creates photo stories. My daughter is the traveler. Getting up early to catch the morning light, she explores the cities and mountains. A snowstorm in NYC became a photo-op of a winter wonderland. Canvases on the wall of her home showcase her work.
Recently I created an album of beach pictures from Florida to California to the Gulf to Long Island. The final sand photo shows long shadows with my flip-flop toes and shadow next to my brother’s shadow. The album title is “I Am Happiest at the Beach”.