I wrote on Wednesday and Friday a few thoughts on how to teach kids photography, or at least some of the ideas that I am using to teach my own kids. So far so good.
Three of these final four ideas are more principles than specific things you can do.
4. Get them to use film. The goal here isn’t some anachronistic theory that film is better than digital or even an aesthetic preference for film over digital. This is simply a way to force kids to slow down, slow down and think. With just thirty-six images on a roll they will slow way down, perhaps too slow for your taste. But you have to get them to realize the scarcity before they will husband their film resources. Point out how expensive it is to use film. Point out how few exposures you get (you have to really want that shot!). Then pay for it all anyway. Set a budget limit if you need to. They shouldn’t blast away like digital but they shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.
3. Don’t over-schedule. Give the kids time to think. Dare I say it: Cut back and eventually eliminate the TV (including the TV on the internet–same thing). That goes for you, too. Don’t do it because TV is “bad,” do it because almost everything on TV sucks. Would you spend time at a shitty movie night after night? No? But you do. Fill your head with other sorts of imagery.
2. Teach by example. Make photographs. Real photographs. Don’t worry about the kids, make them for yourself. Keep making them. At some point–this will probably take years–the kids will notice that you do something other than shuttle them around and clean up after them. That’s a moment to look forward to.
1. Don’t forget to let the kids play with photography. You may be obsessed with creating images, you may think about photography day and night. But they don’t. Not yet. Give it time.