Several of my friends who live all over the world have been conducting photo projects for the past couple of years. We choose a 30-day period of time and the goal is to take a single photo each day for 30 days. We post the photos on a Facebook page created for each project, accessible only by those who are taking part in the project. Each person posts each day, critiques others’ photos, asks questions, and provides information on photos and photo subjects. During the several projects in which we have taken part, we have learned about faraway lands, local customs, nature, environmental issues, geography, history, and each other, to name a few areas about which members have informed us.
How do we decide what we will do? As we are setting the parameters for each new project, we decide by consensus what our focus will be. Will we simply take pictures of whatever strikes our fancy? Will we assign different subjects for each day? Will we establish a general photographic subject for the 30 days and see how many ways we can interpret it? Over the past two years, each of us has asked others to join us, expanding our circle of friends and adding new perspectives. We have learned each other’s favorite subjects - trees, flowers, children, animals, architecture, rain, skies, storms, etc.
Okay, so this is the background. But why am I telling you about this project here? I am describing the project because it would be a wonderful activity to introduce to your children, whether you are thinking of involving your own children or a class of children. Creative kids would really enjoy this outlet for their creativity, and they don’t need an expensive camera. In fact, I would not recommend getting them an expensive camera. After all, they are children and it probably will be lost or broken at some point. In fact, some of the most interesting photos we have seen in our photo project have been taken with telephone cameras and even those single use cameras we often get at weddings.
A few things to remember if you decide to undertake a 30-day Photo Project with your children:
- Discuss what sorts of pictures will be taken - will you assign a topic each day (flower, tree, favorite toy, etc.) or will you give children carte blanche?
- Be willing to take cameras on outings to fun places where photo subjects may be (park, playground, lake, ocean, pool, zoo, museum, backyard, etc.).
- Set up a separate file for digital pictures so that you can keep track of pictures that are being taken.
- Critique photos each day. Ask questions such as: (a) what appealed to you about this subject? (b) why did you take the photo the way you did? (c) did you consider other subjects for today? (d) is there anything you would like to know about your subject? (e) what can you share about your subject to teach others?
- While the project can be fun with one or two children, the more the better. Maybe you can persuade a group of parents and their children to take part.
- You can establish a Facebook page that is only accessible to its members where your children’s photos can be posted and where they can comment on each other’s pictures, ask questions about them, and learn.
- Make sure that children understand the parameters of what is acceptable to you and the other parents in terms of photographic subjects, types of comments, how to critique without hurting anyone’s feelings, what constructive criticism is and how to provide it.
- Be willing to step back and let your children take the lead, selecting their own photos. If they are to learn from and enjoy the project, your job is to provide technical assistance, perhaps research lessons, but to let them be the creative directors.
- Maybe you and the other parents would like to create your very own photo project so that you can model how to select a subject, different ways to look at something, how to provide that constructive criticism, and how to provide information about your photo (uploading youtube videos, articles, or photos from websites to further explain your own photo).
- HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!