Monday, July 21, 2008

How young is too young?

My older son was three years and seven months old when he chose to become a photographer. He’d grown up knowing the cameras as intimately as he knew any other member of his family, so it had just been a matter of time before he wanted to get on the other side of the lens.
When I was sure he knew how to handle the camera, I let him take as many pictures as he wanted, provided I was somewhere close enough to catch the camera if it fell. With a digital camera, there were no restrictions on the number of pictures he could click, and his army of soft-toys were happy to model for him whenever he commanded them to.

By the time he was two months short of his fourth birthday, he was a good photographer. Not good for his age, Good!
[picture taken by the older one two months short of his fourth birthday]
Four was perhaps too young to think of getting my son a camera, so I desisted. In any case, he knew he could use my camera whenever he wanted, provided he asked me first.

My younger son loved nothing more than taking the camera out of its case and fiddling with the buttons. I would often try and tell him not to touch it, because I did not want him messing it up. He pretended to listen.

The one day, I found the settings on the camera quite different from what I remember leaving them as. Checked the photographs, and found four that I never clicked – one mis-focused one of my son’s leg, one nice view of the floor of the bedroom, and two studies in light and shade. It had to have been my younger son – not yet two and a half.

How young is too young to create with light.

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