Why teach photography to kids?

Images are absolutely everywhere. Photography is the medium through which the world is communicating and the language in which we are increasingly speaking to one another.

The thick and constant flow of imagery leaves little room for discernment. We continually ingest these pictures until our minds are obese with a hyper view of reality.

The intelligence that is required to extract the correct information from a picture and ignore what is detrimental is a skill that can be taught. This, visual literacy, is a good reason to teach photography to kids.

The second, is creative expression - once a child learns how powerful an image is and what information can be included in a simple picture, the camera becomes a tool of freedom and pure creativity. The digital camera with its instantaneous feedback is a highly appropriate tool for encouraging imagination in kids.

The ease of use of a digital camera provides a level playing field for most children so as not to discourage those with or without natural 'talent'. Photography is not only an art that encourages purely creative expression but it can also be a saleable commodity. The communications industry is huge and photography is an integral part of it. The practice of photography is not a singularly arts based pursuit it is a viable and possibly lucrative career.

It is for these reasons and many more that we created Camera Story. We conduct photography workshops for children considered "at risk" by their school communities. We have been volunteering our services in Perth's Northern Suburbs for the past one and a half years and found our workshops to be highly successful.

Children who are disruptive in class, who are new to Australia, who are having a hard time at home or use the playground as a war zone are directed toward us. We encourage them through the camera lens not only how to manually operate a camera to give them full control over results, but to understand and speak with light, to explore the world around them through imagery and how to create a meaningful narrative through pictures.

This is a mentoring based program and was written as an alternative to curriculum based learning, which, I have found does not always work for every child.  For each child we mentor we can be flexible with our workshops modules to accommodate how they learn.

To subsidise our not for profit project, Camera Story hold workshops in the school holidays for children aged between 7 - 13 years. The kids photography class, which we teach over 5 hours, is an abridged version of our longer term based modules.

In a Camera Story school holiday photography course, participants will learn manual camera function, light, perspective, framing and how to create a series of meaningful images.

In the new year we are taking the Camera Story to the world - watch this space for news about Camera Story International.

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