Sunday, June 18, 2006

Daughter's perspective


Composition by Dahlia. Deerfield Beach, Florida, December 2006.

I'm not the only one in my family who likes to shoot pictures. When we were on vacation last winter, we bought our eldest son his first real camera. We went on walkabouts and took pictures of a landscape that had been significantly altered by the 2005 hurricane season.

His little sister didn't want to be left out. So I took her on walkabouts, too. What shocked me about both of them was how similarly they approached the process. They both talked themselves through each composition decision, taking ample time to observe the scene from a number of perspectives before taking the shot. They both ended up taking pictures that were very much unconventional and unique.

Aside from confirming once again that the apples didn't fall far from the tree, they gave me a chance to share a passion that I've had since I was their age. I learned that fatherhood isn't just about maintaining daily schedules and ensuring the fridge is full. I learned that dads can connect with their kids in simple ways that don't fit the rigid stereotypes of parenthood. Although my wife is the real artist in our family, I hope the time we spent then - and since - has helped them appreciate that they, too, have the power to view their world through a unique set of eyes, and share their vision with those who love them.

Your turn: How do you get kids to be passionate about creativity and discovery? Any suggestions?

13 comments:

bhd said...

Lovely. But wow! A picture from the future!

Dara said...

As a former teacher, I loved to ask my students "What if?" What would happen if they could only use 4 crayon colors, what would their pictures look like? What if they had to play their recorder without using the G, what songs would they come up with? What if they had to use 3 new words in an essay or poem? I do this myself when writing a piece or designing a quilt, and sometimes the results are quite amazing! Michele says good evening.

atpanda said...

Was it your son who did the road picture some time ago? I liked that one too! I think it is so great that you encourage them to find fun away from the TV. :-)

Tracie said...

My daughter is only two, but already she is proving to have quite an imagination. (Lately it has been all about flying) I try to encourage her to tell me all about what she is pretending and the stories she comes up with are incredible (not that I'm biased or anything)also she draws pictures.

Michele says hi!

Michelle said...

This is beautiful!

I don't have children, but when I do have kids, I'd like to give them a sketchapd, paint, brushes, crayons, pastels, even a disposable camera... teach her/him the basics and let him/her rock and roll!!!

Michele sent me. :)

~A~ said...

My tip is not to discourage them. Working with Girl Scouts I see a lot of girls stop trying because they're afraid of what someone (most of the time the adult in their life) would say.

Especially when it comes to art I make a point to say things that are not critical or judgmental. If we're working on practicing a certain element in art (IE; line, color, perspective, so on) and they're getting off task, I'll guide them back to what they need to be doing but never suggest that they're wrong.

My kids also love playing with my camera. I'm always taking pictures so it just came natural for them to want to do the same. Being a little closer to the Earth, they tend to see more than us big peoples. ;)

Wordnerd said...

Amazing -- she has her father's "eye." I think the best thing a parent can do is to not stifle, criticize, or discourage their creativity, whatever way they choose to express it. Aside from that, show them your passion, and that it's okay to have a passion for something. Then sit back and watch.

keda said...

i think you already know and have seen my thoughts on this!

what a lovely picture! its amazing how our syles rub off on our kids though isnt it? this is reminicent of your pictures.. and the lets are similar o mine!

what a lovely experience. thank you for sharing this beautiful image. noth the picture itself and the life behund it.

ChaCha said...

Great picture, betcha it makes you proud.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

First of all, as I looked at the title of your post and the picture, I thought to myself.."the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"..and then, in reading what you said--there it was!

You are doing it Carmi...by exposing them to things of a creative nature like photography...you peak their interest and especially they see and pick up your passion for it without you telling them to 'love' it..you know?
I would play ART games with them...painting and drawing and Crayons and clay...And take them to "live" theatre...let them tell you what they like...
I don't have children but if I did, that is the kind of thing I would do. It seems to me you are already inspiring them by example and giving them the means to discover for themselves what things stir their own creativity...! FABULOUS Carmi...!

Cat said...

I love watching my daughter, 8, go about and find new things. At her age it's quite easy for her to say "when I grow up I'm going to..."

My son is older, 14, and I see that waning. It makes me wonder if, as we grow up, this slowly happens without our knowledge. We forget we are still allowed to dream and able to shoot for the stars.

When does this happen? I try every day to keep my children's eyes full of stars and I hope that in the process I can remind myself how to do the same.

Great post!

srp said...

Mississippi Women's University offers weeklong day camps for kids. They have a wide variety of courses such as cooking, theatre arts, painting, general art, guitar, computer, and others, including photography. Nyssa did several of these camps.

In theatre arts the kids put on a musical, designed the sets and built them, learned the music and put it on for parents at the end of the week.

In photography, they took walk abouts on campus and took photos in black and white, some at home. Then they taught them to develop and print their work in 5 x 7 and 8 x 10.

In art camp she learned to do two color prints by drawing her picture, carving the first outline in the rubber block and printing; then carving a second more detailed version and reprinting. Of course she drew a cat.

All of these were so much fun that the kids never really knew how much they were learning. I only wish they had started them sooner so she would have been able to do all of them.

kenju said...

I remember reading this before, but I can't imagine why I didn't comment.
It's nice to see SRP's comment - she has disappeared from the web. :-(