If You Give a Child a Camera

It’s been a week since we got back from our mother/daughter Disney trip and I’ve finally gotten around to looking through our pictures from the trip. Even though I’m not much of a photographer I love putting pictures of our family travels into albums so we can look over them later and remember the fun times we had. Just yesterday my son asked to look at the pictures from our last trip to Florida and I know that looking at the photos and asking questions about them helps consolidate the memories of our time together.

Recently I decided to let my kids in on the fun by giving them a camera of their own. It’s a real digital camera by Vtech that doesn’t have great picture quality but is easy to use and durable. It seemed like the ideal thing to give my daughter to bring along on our latest Disney trip.

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I pretty much let her have free rein to use it whenever she wanted. I was quite curious to see what she would deem photo worthy and what the trip would look like from her point of view. Tonight I went through her pictures to see the results. It wasn’t quite what I expected.

Airports and planes seemed to figure prominently. Here’s the courtyard at Long Beach Airport:

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Her shadow at the airport

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Pebbles in the courtyard

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And a few shots of the clouds while up in the air:

She liked the Lego store in Downtown Disney

And took a few more random shots in the area

This is the entrance plaza

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And the person in front of us in line at the ticket booth

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She took a few pictures of the back streets in California Adventure

And a random palm tree

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And a surprisingly pretty image from who knows where:

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And that’s about it. After I deleted the images that were too blurry to make out, anyway.

So that’s what happens when you give a five year old a camera at Disneyland. No castle pictures, no princesses, no rides. Just a few random shots now and then. I think the main theme that you can draw through all her pictures is that she took them when she was bored. At the airport, on the plane, waiting to get in, waiting for lunch. That’s when the camera came out. When she was actually doing things and having fun taking pictures was the last thing on her mind.

I have to admit, I’m very pleased by this. So often it’s easy to get so caught up in capturing the moment that I’m not really in the moment when it’s happening. Of course I want nice memories of my trip, but I think I can also take a lesson from my daughter and try to put the camera down more often and just have fun without feeling the need to record everything. It will be fun to watch how her photography skills and style evolve over time, but for now it’s great that she can just have fun with the camera and leave the real recording for mom and dad.

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