Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Kid’s Perspective

From Ivy’s perspective.

It is so easy to forget that children are not also people. I remember when I was a child, I was perfectly cognizant of how little respect children got in the wider world. Many grownups believed that because children did not have a lot of life experience that also meant they were stupid.

This is not true. In fact, children may actually be a bit “smarter” than grown ups, sometimes, who think they know everything and have closed themselves off to learning new perspectives, new ideas, new thought patterns… new tricks.
So I have a challenge for you.

Try to look at the world from a child’s point of view.

Get down on the floor. Look up at a person, a place, a thing from down at a kid’s height. What does it make you feel? How is it different from up top? Is it entertaining having everyone’s butt at your eye level?

Pay attention to your own kid… what do THEY pay attention to? Once, many months ago, I told G to tell me what to take a picture of as we went on our morning walk, and I was surprised to find him pointing again and again at something I never even noticed. He wanted picture after picture of hubcaps. Hubcaps! It makes sense. They are shiny and round and right at his eye level as he rides in the stroller. I never noticed. But they have their own drama and beauty. Learn to see the world from another perspective and it can’t help but widen your own viewpoint.

In fact, why don’t you let your kid take some pictures. You can gear it to their age level or ability. My toddlers get to tell me what they want, or they press the button while I hold it. An older child might be able to use a camera on their own. Get them their own point and shoot disposable camera or show them how to use yours and let them just go to town.THEIR town. Let them shoot as many shots as they want of their world from their perspective. I can almost guarantee that you will be surprised by what they are looking at, and what they think is important enough to capture on film.

From Gabriel’s perspective.


Natasha said...

I love this photo from Gabriel's perspective. I totally took you up on the challenge and found two hilarious of our doorknobs is shiny so my daughter likes to stand on her tiptoes, look at herself in the reflection and wave. It makes her laugh and when I did it I understood why. AND she loved playing with her fridge magnets ..when I sat on the floor with her it was like sitting in front of a canvas preparing to paint. It was awesome....thanks for making me open my eyes and find truly cool things all through my daughter's eyes!

Oh and I used to teach a photojournalism class and there is NOTHING like giving kids a camera and setting them completely opens up your world...right on Rowena!

Anonymous said...

I give my 5 yr old my camera all the time and I love his pictures. When I was about 5 my mom let me hold her camera for the first time--you know, before the digital age--a Pentax and she let me take pictures of what I wanted. I took pics of my Holly Hobby doll and the dog.

When you get on the floor with them and notice what they notice--they'll remember that.

Rowena said...

My father was a photographer and filmmaker, and very serious. We were never allowed to play with his nikon, and rarely allowed to step into his studio. One year, my sister got an old camera for modelling for a friend, and I loved the pictures she made. She didn't get much time in the darkroom though, so it all faded. She also got a typewriter when I was about 7. I got a tape recorder. BOOORing.

Do you think it's a coincidence that when I grew up, I became a writer and photographer? Hmmm.

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