I had the honor and the pleasure to give a talk at my daughter’s kindergarten on Friday. We recently moved to a new place and once the kindergarten teacher heard I was a photographer, she asked me to come down and talk a bit with the kids about what I do.
Of course I said yes. I also offered to take some portraits of the kids and stuff – just for funzees. I asked the teacher to tell the kids to bring a favorite toy or set of clothes. It was amazing to hear what 5 year-olds think about photography and I am going to share some of this discussion here.
When the teacher and I initially talked about me coming to talk, she said she is going to make a huge deal out of it. I said OK and pulled my shoulders. How big of a deal can it be?
BIG. It turned out. They had a photography week that week in which that did several very interesting things. First they spent quite a deal of time talking about photography. Why do we photograph? What are we doing with the pictures (I re-did some of this discussion and the answers were. how to put it…. kinda morbid….)
The next thing that happened is that every kid made a fake camera from corrugated paper and plastic cups. They decorate it very well, and during my whole stay I was repeatedly “shot” while shooting. (See picture on the left for a great Sunday morning project for the photo-loving kid).
Last thing is that indeed each adorable kid brought they favorite thing of set of clothes costume. I never said custom, but it turned out fun in that way.
I asked the teacher for a room to set up in, and after setting up (clamp/butterfly lighting style) she gathered and kids and we had a nice little chat.
We looked as several pictures from Annie Leibovitz book Women and in some pictures from her Olympic Portraits book.
Me: Why do people take pictures?
They: To fill our albums; So we will not miss our friends when they are not near us; So we will remember those who died.
Me: What can we tell about people in photographs?
They: what they wore; What they felt; If they are dead; If they are not here.
We looked at Annie’s Teacher portrait – It is a wonderful portrait of a young teacher.
Me: Who is that lady?
They: Is she dead now? (Me: no); She is a teacher; She is in school; She holds a chalk so she is the teacher; she is sad because all her students are gone.
We had a few more rounds with Annie’s portraits and in each the question of “Are They Alive” rose. I guess that once kids get stuck on a theme they GET STUCK on a theme.
Later we had a portrait session. The nice thing about kids is that they connect quite easily. It is enough that you both like the same fruit to have a friendly discussion. And if you like Bakogans (I did not know them before, I think they are the devil now, yet I love them), you are a best friend.
With some it was harder, and we had to chat for a while to get a smile / moment. I spent about 2-3 minutes with most kids, shooting only 15-20 seconds.
As I said, the children were instructed to bring a favorite set of clothes or a favorite toy/thing/object, many came in costumes. I always asked why. Some said “Cuz mummy told me”, some said “This is what I want to be” and some said “We share a certain quality”.
All and all it was a very fun day and me and the kids had a great time. Click the image on the top to see a sample portrait bigger.
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