My kids are like other kids. Well, I’d like to think they are. They’re the children of divorced parents and their father, Me, is a Geologist who has a “side hack” as a professional photographer. I know there are millions of children with divorced parents, possible future topic, but I'm fairly certain the number of children who have a geologist and professional photographer as a parent is much less.
Photography was a passion of mine in high school but was set aside due to my interests in sports, music, girls, cars, and work. I picked it back up in college after finding my other passion, geology. Geology has given me a career and experiences that I will forever cherish. I always found the photos in geologic text books and reports to be lacking the photographic techniques I learned in high school. Soon after college, life got in the way again, marriage, kids, career and divorce. After getting back on my feet, post-divorce, I picked up the camera once again. This time it was to capture the magic my children started to create. My son’s little league games is where my passion was reignited. Many of the parents were thankful for the photos I shared but some would often ask if I did it professionally. This year I decided to start my own company and its been one of my most rewarding journeys. I love being behind the camera and decided to share it with my children.
At first my kids were shy around the camera and didn’t want to have their picture taken. I often had to sneak and hide to get shots. Until one day, after going through my collection of older camera equipment, I decided to give them my Nikon D70 DSLR with a 50mm 1:1.4D. Initially, they reacted as if I had given them knife. It had always been the rule that they did not touch dad’s camera(s) and suddenly they were holding one.
My son asked, “What do you want me to do with this?”
I responded with, “Take Pictures!”
He then responded with, “Of What?”
My final response was, “Anything you want.”
I set the camera to auto, taught the two of them how to press the shutter release, gave them some easy to follow instructions about how to take a good photo, and most importantly told them to have fun. Then I cut them loose. The first time I did this, most of the photos were unusable, but we had lots of fun going through pictures together. It was fun to watch them start their journey with photography.
This weekend, I again, encouraged the two of them to take pictures. I handed them the camera and cut them loose. This time I followed them around the house as they took turns with the camera. I soon let them explore alone. I also let my son explore the neighborhood around the house. I couldn't wait to get the camera back and see what they had captured. What I found was both anticipated and a complete surprise. Some of the photos in this article where shot by them and capture the magic of photography from their perspective. The others were shot by me, to capture the magic of their photography from my perspective.
Photography is about learning, exploring, and capturing life’s magic. I hope this experneice has encouraged my children to explore photography. At the very least, their interest and curiosity behind the camera has changed their attitude towards being in front of the camera. They’re now my hams. They have also started to ask for the camera on a regular basis. If you want to see the world through your child’s eye, give them a camera and let them explore. I promise you will like the results.