I let my son handle the camera for the first time yesterday. He has seen me use it, and his sister. He has see lots of photos. So he has a basic understanding of what to do and of what makes a good photo. But could he take a good one? His sister has managed to take some winners. So I had high hopes. Here is his very first one, and what I make of it:
The Boy's First Go at the Camera
First, notice that he did his best to aim at what he identifies as me. He did cut off the top of my head. Well, OK, he pretty much beheaded me. But he is not tall. He is a kid. He looks at my torso more than at my face anyway. So I think he was going for what he wanted to capture.
Notice as well the framing. He didn’t place me in the center of the frame. I am off to the side. In this way, he is able to include some of the background to give the subject some context. Smart kid, that. The mail waiting to go out, the uncapped water bottle, the clock on the wall–all are clues to what this scene is about.
Notice as well the dorky sweater. It was cold in the morning and I tossed that thick baby on to keep from getting chilled. But by taking the photo when I am wearing it he will have some fuel to rib his old man down the road. “Look at that dorky sweater!” he will proclaim. “You were/are so uncool.”
You may be able to tell as well that the focus is soft. He was going for a warm look. As I said, it was cool in the house, so the slightly less than sharp focus lends a somewhat homey quality, makes it feel warmer.
So he got it all right. He took a video later in the day, when his sister got off the bus. That was a hoot. He’s got potential. Do we have a filmmaker in the future? Or a photojournalist? Or maybe just someone who knows how use a camera? Time will tell, eh?