G has been asking for a camera for a while now, mainly, I think, because I have one. (She’d also like a cell phone–not that I use mine much–and a car.) I told her she could have one when she was five, which was a purely arbitrary number. Meanwhile, my old digital camera, which I sometimes use as a backup, is in plain sight on the table. It works perfectly fine, but at some point the latch that holds the battery door closed broke. For months I used it with a rubber band wrapped around it, and then all sorts of tape, but eventually it became too unreliable. If the battery compartment door isn’t sitting just right, the contacts don’t touch and the camera doesn’t work. So, for want of a tiny plastic piece that has nothing to do with the camera’s actual function, we replaced it.
G got tired of waiting to be five and took the camera one day. She asked me how to turn it on, I thought, What’s the harm? and showed her. I also showed her how to see what you’re photographing by looking at the screen on the back first. That’s the extent of my help. G likes to do things herself. For a few months now she’s been walking around the house snapping photographs–digital is a wonderful thing! The memory ran out the other day so I finally took all the photos off the camera. I found 184 taken by G.
It’s a fascinating look at the world from about three feet up. There are many, many photos of my legs and feet, usually standing in front of either the stove or the kitchen sink (sigh, the life of a mom, hmm?). There’s a series of photos of the inside of her oldest brother’s mouth, which I’m fairly certain was his idea. (I can identify the mouth because his has metal in it!!) One of my favorite sequences was taken in the car, and I chose to share a sample of those here.
When the boys were smaller, we got them “kid” digital cameras, which were nothing but frustrating. The picture quality was abysmal. This is a far more satisfactory solution for everyone, and although she’s dropped the camera a couple times, she hasn’t done any more damage than I did when I owned it.
So how about you–have you handed over a camera to a young child? What did you think of his or her view of the world?