Many call photography the most democratic art. While the subjects of photographs may be open to interpretation, the camera lens is not. It is an unimpressionable artist’s tool, capturing merely what is placed in front of it.
This may be the main reason it is such a persuasive art form and why children seem to be more and more drawn to it. As the photography world and the technological world continue to find common ground, children and young teens are finding the once daunting and expensive world of cameras and photography more inviting.
Photography is being used more and more in classrooms and after school programs to educate children and to encourage them to express themselves. Photography can been used to strengthen literary skills, first by encouraging children to take pictures, and then asking them to write about what they have photographed.
Global and cultural awareness has also been improved through children’s photography. The idea of “pen pals” has taken on a whole new meaning, as pictures can be posted on the web and shared over the whole world.
Just learning how to use a camera is a lesson that spans different subjects. From the science of photo lenses and light optics to the artistry of composition and subject matter, photography is a tool that can be used in almost any classroom.
Once children have learned to take their own pictures, they are also more apt to understand what they are seeing when they look at other pictures. Subjects like history and social studies will only grow more poignant and rich as a child can appreciate a photograph from a different time period.
Parents can also use photography to encourage their children to learn about their family histories and backgrounds. Pictures that the children take of their family members, combined with older family heirloom pictures, make a great family tree and a wonderful project for a rainy afternoon.
There are even special cameras especially for children that will encourage them to take on photography as a hobby. There are disposable cameras with images of Barbie, The Simpsons, and Spider-Man. These are perfect for little children who are interested in cameras but may not be ready to handle a real one yet. There is also a Polaroid i-Zone Pocket Camera that includes a radio, which is always a fun detail.
Of course digital cameras are always great, as it is exciting for kids to see the picture they have just taken, and there is less pressure to only take “good pictures.” The ones that don’t come out well can be thrown away and replaced with pictures they prefer.