Lately, the line in my photography and Remy’s is blurring just a teeny tiny bit. (No, I am still not letting him shoot with my DSLR. It just weighs too much and would be too expensive to replace if he dropped it.) Remy has moved on from the Canon point-and-shoot I was letting him use when there were fresh batteries to be found. He has also discovered a love of the iPod camera, just as I have.
Let’s clarify: he discovered that I was taking pictures of him on my iPod, which he calls “Chica” after this app, which was the first I downloaded for him, many years ago. We’re now technically on “Chica 2” but I’m not a stickler for formality.
Remy, being Remy, loves all things electronic and really loves “gramras” (cameras — Remy has a pretty serious speech delay and is on the autism spectrum). Well, considering that his mom is a burgeoning photog, we’ll just chalk that up to “like mother, like son!”
I usually hold on to the iPod as long as possible and let him press the on-screen button (making sure we get pictures of both of us). And I take some, too, because photography is fun. We giggle and make faces, but we also take serious photos, too. Remy will usually decide if he wants to go off and shoot more interesting subjects, so I let him do that — as a photographer, I grok that creative urge.
Yes, he’s shooting Elmo and Thomas the Tank Engines and I’m shooting leaves and cracks in painted walls. But isn’t it really the same, deep down — this urge to document the world?
One downside to letting your kid take charge of your camera is that there is a very real possibility of breakage. Remy has been playing with my old iPod touch for years without mishap, though, so I’m pretty confident he and I have about the same chance of dropping it. If you are still worried, you can buy a kid-specific camera. None of them review well enough for me to recommend, but they’re designed to be more secure for children to hold. If the fear of breakage is keeping you from letting your child explore with your camera, that could be a good stepping stone.
The other downside is that your child will likely shoot MANY photos and you may or may not be able to delete any of them, depending on your sentimentality at the moment and how able your kid is to communicate which photos s/he doesn’t like. Remy is more of a “in the moment” photographer, so I just delete the ones that are all black or all white. If he takes multiple shots of something (clickclickclickclick, which he does), then I’ll edit them.
It’s all worth it for gems like these.