Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Kids and Cameras

My daughter loves to borrow my digital camera. She'll snatch it from the book shelf that I keep it on and take pictures of just about everything in site-- the kitchen cabinets, the couch, her little brother's chin. She will usually scamper through the house and take pictures until the cameras' memory card is completely full. And then she'll run over and show me all of the beautiful (her word) pictures that she has taken. She's darn proud of herself, by the way, as she beams with delight while I review her shots. Yes, I'm pleased that she has such a knack for photography, but there's just one problem: she's only four years old.

Digital cameras are the greatest invention since sliced bread. In fact, I'm not sure how we survived without them. Back in the stone age, we had to go through an entire roll of film and then take it or send it some place to get developed. The whole process could take days, even weeks. So we weren't really sure if that photo of our great Aunt Tilly turned out or not until the film came back. With the digital age, that hassle is gone. No more waiting game. Suddenly we have instant gratification and if we don't like how the picture looks then we just get rid of it and take another one. Which is why my four year old loves my digital camera.

It's almost as though she thinks it's a toy, albeit an expensive one. I tell her over and over again that I don't want her to play with my camera, but then when she gets a hold of it she has so much fun that I feel like a tyrant if I take it away from her. I'll say, "Just one picture, honey" and she'll take ten. I'll say, "Be careful with the camera, honey" and she'll hold it gingerly and continue on her merry way.

I'll admit she does know to handle it with care and she's very good about turning the camera off when she's done using it. But for me, it's just a little disconcerting to do a review of my saved pictures and to come across a picture of the ceiling fan. I feel bad deleting it because it's something my little girl "made". This picture-- as silly as it is-- is her artistic expression, so to speak, so I feel that deleting it is the same as if I were to toss away one of her finger paintings. It's very hard for me to do it.

But I do it anyway. Delete delete delete. I have to. This puppy only holds so much space and my computer hard drive is already overrun with my daughter's "artistic expression". I can't possibly have a need for another picture of the living room ottoman, so delete it it is. No more wasted space on my camera card. Until the next time, when she find the camera in my new hiding place and turns it on and lets her creativity flow once again.

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