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August 06, 2005

Harrison's photos

While Louise, Emma, and I snipped beans, Harrison built Lego Duplo vehicles. His grandpa was impressed and encouraged Harrison to take a picture of his creation.

He also took a picture of himself. His grandmother looked at the shot and told him that he was supposed to smile. So he took another. I think the photos are funny.

I wonder how digital photography will affect our culture? Young children can snap away, without wasting film and see instant results. Their photos can be shared quickly by email, the web, and even cell phones. I think images are very powerful and hopefully kids will become better producers and consumers of digital media through increased interaction.

When I teach people how to make imovies I start with just photos, text, and music. You can send a really powerful message with just these three elements when combined correctly. If you want to see a sample go to Sfett.net and click on the movie titled Sweatshops. This little movie has been shown around the world via the Internet. I was told that the high school student who created this video was contacted by the CEOs of the companies (Nike, Gap, Barbie) mentioned at the end of the movie. I guess they wanted to tell their side of the story.

Posted by jennifer at August 6, 2005 09:00 AM


I think it's great that Harrison's using a camera at such a young age. You're right, Jenn, that digital photography offers a kind of instant gratification that hasn't been available before with the medium. I almost suspect that it's going to become more important to teach kids about the fundamentals of art/design as they pertain to photography than before. They're able to see instant feedback of their exposure, focus, etc.; now they can concentrate on composition.

He also took a picture of himself. His grandmother looked at the shot and told him that he was supposed to smile.


Photographers hate that kids are taught to smile for the camera. Camera smiles — by kids and adults — are so fake and forced. They're not natural. They're not pleasant. I prefer the first photo of Harrison (the one on the left) to the second photo, and by a wide margin. It's real. The one on the right has no sincerity to it.

I've been working with kids a lot lately, taking their photos. Inevitably, I waste several minutes telling them not to smile, not to look at the camera, not to pose. It's only once the kids have dropped these learned behaviors that the real photographs begin to happen.

Posed, smiling shots are fine for formal portraits, but they're generally not appropriate for other circumstances.

Posted by: jdroth at August 11, 2005 10:09 PM

(Not that I'm opinionated or anything...)

Posted by: jdroth at August 11, 2005 10:10 PM

Jd, I knew I'd get a comment from you on this post. I agree I like shots where kids are not smiling for the camera. If they are smiing in reaction to something else, that's great.

I'm surprised at how popular the cell phone camera has become. I see parents using them all the time at functions to take pictures of their kids. And now a picture of the person who is calling you can appear on your phone. Pretty nifty.

Posted by: Jennifer G [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2005 08:51 AM