Photography is the only field of art that allows us to capture space at a specific time. It was such a bewildering invention that people attributed it to witchcraft when it was first introduced. Myths and legends of cameras capturing and imprisoning the soul of their subject in photos are usually a common trope of stories involving time travel in the past or contacts of untouched civilizations. This was also true in real life.
Nowadays, the camera, a once magical invention, is ubiquitous. Gone are the days of the daguerreotype and the big box cameras. These have been replaced with DSLR cameras. Even that has been replaced camera phones with resolutions the likes of the old masters could fail to comprehend. Even film, which allows the camera to do its function, has now been replaced with SD cards. Photography has gone digital.
It may seem that photography has lost its wonder. However, the truth is far from it. The ubiquity of the camera phone has taken it away from the hands of professionals and given it to everybody. Even kids know how to handle cameras. Although they may not exhibit the same shock and wonder our ancestors showed when they first encountered the light-capturing machine, they are still enamored by the images that photograph brings.
In the hands of a child, a camera is a beautiful machine. A glance at photography’s kid wall art will show you the perspective these little tykes can bring. These photos are fresh. The images offer such new views without being bogged down by complicated things like focal length, aperture, or shutter speed. Some even bring to mind the experimental pictures that our predecessors did when the camera and the art of photography were in their infancy.
As for their subjects, those which they choose to aim their camera at, nothing is just as pure. Kids just simply take pictures of things they like. Bring a kid into a famous landmark and hand him a camera. Chances are they would instead photograph the flowers instead of the Eiffel Tower. They would instead take pictures of the birds rather than the Taj Mahal. They might consider taking a view of the Statue of Liberty, but only because it’s a massive statue of a lady. Hence, consider yourself blessed when a child takes your picture. That means they like you.
Since they are just experiencing the world, kids tend to be curious. Photography helps let them express that unbridled curiosity. When you hand a camera to a child, the only instruction you should only give them two instructions. Of course, the first should be to tell them not to drop that camera. The second should be what button to press to take pictures. Only those. Kids don’t have a need for such things as shutter speed, lumens, and light temperature. They will learn that once they grow older.
For now, what is important is to introduce kids to the wonders of the camera. Other than that, it is for them to explore. Letting them explore is not only fun but is also beneficial to their growth. Kids who learn through experimentation and exploration retain their knowledge more. Sooner or later, who knows, you might have an award-winning photographer at your hands.
That said, it would be unwise if you hand your child a DSLR or an old film camera. You should always consider which camera to hand your kid. DSLRs are too complicated for them, with all the knobs, buttons, and options. They are expensive too. Film cameras are also out of the question as although it is very easy to teach kids how to handle one, film is just expensive. It is also finite.
A good starter camera for a child would be the point-and-click digital camera. Those are cheap and sturdy enough that they would not be an expensive waste should they break. With the name point and click, they will be very easy to handle and require few instructions. Furthermore, with digital cameras, they will be able to take more pictures until they are able to fill their memory card.
In the end, photography is a hobby that anyone should experience at least once, even kids. Teaching kids the essential functions of a camera and letting them loose can often result in incredible images that empower their curiosity and expressiveness.