Photojournalism and the toddler

Petroglyphs of portland

One of our go to fun things and conversation starters with Primo is to give him the digital camera and let him explore his world from behind the view finder. He cruises around the house or the yard snapping photo after photo of anything and everything that strikes his fancy. After he has gone and taken some pictures we grab the USB cable and pull the pictures on to the laptop to talk about what he has found. I ask him what is in this picture and why he decided to take it. There are stories in each of the snapshots and hearing Primo talk about what he sees has been really funny at times.

Like any artist there are a couple of reoccurring themes in Primo’s pictures. He loves to snap the chalk drawing, ants on the sidewalk, or water designs from spilled cups down by his feet. His toes are in a lot of these shots framing the action between parallel lines. The other reoccurring subject of Primo’s pictures are closeup of things that interest him. The picture to the right is a close up of the gas cap from a friend car. If the gas tank can be accessed Primo will open the door and check it out. He can identify if it is opened from the outside or from a button or lever in the car fairly quickly and breaks cars into categories based on this information.  Where the spare tire is on the car is another way of separating vehicles into classes.

Tighten past 3 clicks

Extreme close-up portraits are a staple of Primo’s artistic expression and as much as we try to frame ourselves in the  picture the shot usually is of a chin or ear. Through taking the pictures we talk about how to better frame the subject in the view finder and how to capture what he is wanting to. We talk about the story of each picture and encourage him to expand on these by asking sillier and sillier questions. It is a fun and engaging process that he loves and really brings out a creative streak in his eye and his story telling and I would encourage others with toddlers to let them explore their world through the view finder of a digital camera. Teach them how to be careful and take care of the camera, it is best if you have a camera that little hands can hold and use with ease. We started by having Primo point out what he wanted me to take a picture of and then once he got the process he took the pictures himself. Has anyone else enjoyed toddler photojournalism?

  4 comments for “Photojournalism and the toddler

  1. 06/29/2010 at 8:23 am

    Awesome approach to bringing out a child’s creativity! I bought my son, now 7, a Flip camera 2 years ago and we’ve gotten some interesting footage. As you mentioned, the responses to the simple question “What caught your interest here?” have been enlightening and often hysterical.
    Kevin Gainey´s last blog post ..New iPhone Anyone

  2. 06/29/2010 at 8:35 am

    yeah, that conversation is where the meat of the interaction is and the stories that come are really the best part.

  3. 06/29/2010 at 2:49 pm

    We first let our then 4-year-old daughter use our digital camera at an anniversary party a couple of years ago. What really struck us was that the reactions she got from her subjects was much different from what she might get if it were an adult taking the pictures. People let their guard down when the photographer is a child.

    Thanks for the reminder to let the kids use the camera more.

  4. 06/30/2010 at 8:42 am

    I really like this. As soon as Will is old enough not to shatter a digital camera to pieces I’m definitely stealing this idea from you and adopting it as my own. I like the way you’ve fostered his creativity. Hell, it made me want to go out and take pictures!
    Daddy Files´s last blog post ..A Quick Baby Update

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