On Sunday afternoon I asked my youngest son if he wanted to go out and shoot. After a moment’s hesitation he replied:
-Can I go out by myself?
-Sure, I replied.
I loaded the camera with a charged battery and an empty memory card. He put the toys he wanted to photograph in a bag and went outside.
He was probably out for a half hour or so and when he came back he was so happy. While smiling he told me that he’d made some great photographs and now it was just for me to publish them. But there was no time to look at them on Sunday, so he had to wait until today.
I find it really exciting to look at another photographers work; it’s a thrill to look at pictures that come from someone else’s view point. I always wonder if I’ll be able to see what the photographer was thinking when they took the photo; if I’ll be able to see what he or she want’s to say with the picture. When I looked through my sons picture I asked him:
-What do you want to tell?
-Oh, he replied, I don’t want to tell anything. I just wanted to try different things.
When I look through his pictures that is all I see. Because all of his images are filled with him trying different things, exploring different opportunities around his toys. All the pictures are based on curiosity and a desire to investigate questions such as: “What can I do with these toy?” and “How can I get these toys to interact?” Together we looked at his pictures and talked about what he’d done. He talked about how he could get one toy to balance against the other, and it never would have if not for the stability of the AT-AT.
I’m amazed how, throughout his photo-session, he explored not only photography, but also the opportunities and limitations that come with the toys and their construction. We also talked a little bit about the background and that he seemed to have forgotten to look at the background, because in several pictures there is a plastic bag in the background of the scene and it looked unintentional. When we talked about the background and that it is something a photographer always has to think about. He then precedes to give me some great advice:
-You can’t just look at the mistakes, you have to see what you can.
And that is something that I’ll take with me the next time I go out and photograph. I will try to see what works instead of focusing only on what I can’t get to work.