Teach Your Children the Love of Photography!
©Darrell Young  

Daddy, can I have a camera too?

My four-year-old daughter asked me that in 1985. It brought back memories of the time my mother gave me my first little plastic camera and a roll or two of film. Of course, I got a camera for my little daughter. If I remember correctly, it was a 110-format snapshot camera. She loved it, and took albums full of pictures. Today, at 22, she's an accomplished photographer. My six-year-old boy, Ethan, took the picture on the right a few days ago. He was imitating his dad's sunset pictures.

How old were you when you got your first camera? Do you remember what kind is was? Who gave it to you?


In any case, it probably started you on a lifetime of photography. How many prints do you have from your youth? When you look at them, do they bring back the bittersweet memories of childhood? See the pictures of your parents, so young and thin and not gray. See your old friends whom you haven't seen in years. Look at yourself, so full of energy and enthusiasm for life. How about those old people who are no longer with us. Aren't those images irreplaceable? But, what if you had never taken them? What if your first camera had never been given to you? Think about it! You'd probably have taken up poodle collecting, or exotic bird grooming, instead of your beloved photography.

What about your children?

Have you given them a camera yet? Do you say, "nah, they are too young, they'd break it immediately." Well, you may be right. I have a camera or two that's been accidentally slammed to the ground by a four-year old or two. Fortunately, they make a lot of low-cost cameras out there. You can buy them at online auction sites for very little these days. So what, if it gets broken? Isn't it worth a few broken plastic cameras to have a child that enjoys photography?

Take a look at a few images my six-year-old boy, Ethan, made recently:


The perspective of a child photographer is different from an adult. They have an "in your face" attitude that makes for some interesting views of life. They are shorter, so many images are from a perspective that adults rarely see. Plus, since they have little experience, their images are sometimes quite unusual.

Think of the good things your child is learning when they are doing photography. They are mastering a skill that takes work. From this they learn concentration and self-control. Their images are rewarding to them. They learn from mistakes, and seek to do better. From this they learn self-confidence. As they experiment with their cameras, and have success, they learn to be more creative. When they see a pretty flower, or a colorful sunset, and capture it, they learn to appreciate natural things. Showing their images to their friends and family lets them have fun.

With all the gadgets and technology we use in our society, we are somewhat removed from the naturalness of this beautiful planet. What better way to teach your children good values than to help them capture little slices of time and beauty for themselves. You'll spend time together, as a family, pursuing a rewarding hobby that can even help provide family cohesiveness.

And finally, all those images your kids will take, of you, their friends, family, pets, and sunsets will capture history and memories that are precious in only a few years. Do your children and yourself a favor. Get a camera for your child. Teach them to use it. Let them join us as members of the chosen few. Let them leave a part of themselves behind for posterity. Time passes quickly, but your children can help capture it. Will you help them?

Keep on capturing time...

Copyright ©MMIII by Darrell Young, All Rights Reserved
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