Monday, October 10, 2011

Kids and Film

We're kicking off "Kids Week" today with guest contributor Ziva talking about the project Kids and Film. Kids Week will be running on the KEH Camera Blog October 10th-14th, and will include posts on the benefits of getting youth involved in photography, photography resources for youth and adults who want to help, personal stories, great camera options for kids, and kid-friendly photo crafts. Check back in throughout the week for lots of great info. for youth (ages 18 and younger), students, parents, mentors, and photography and art educators.
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Imagine being a brilliant painter or photographer and going through your whole childhood thinking you’re behind or below average in school because you were never given the opportunity to discover art. Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. Without getting into the politics of public schools, high drop-out rates, or the overall decline of art programs in public schools, it’s important to consider what each parent (or mentor) can do to enhance their child’s education and foster their creativity. Could it be as easy as handing a camera to a kid? You bet! A camera, a paintbrush, or any tool in a medium a child gets excited about will make a difference.

Developing a passion for photography and having the opportunity to learn hands-on about how the camera works, the science behind taking a photo, and the math behind making an exposure can not only enhance a child’s love for art, but also trigger their interest in math or science. It also takes a great deal of reading in order to become a better photographer.

Photo by: Nalu, Age 15. Shot on a Contax G2.









Photo by: Nalu, Age 15. Shot on a Contax G2.

The goal of Kids and Film is to introduce and encourage kids to use film cameras. In doing so, we hope to give kids a creative outlet through the use of analog technology, which we feel will appeal to this generation of kids growing up in a digital world. The amazing feeling of holding an analog camera, loading film, learning about exposure and how an image is made on a negative is so different from what kids experience holding a digital camera, cell phone, or video game. It takes patience and knowledge to shoot film. Plus, there's the "cool" aspect because film cameras are “vintage”.

Another goal is to keep film alive through the next generation. I met a little boy at one of my photo shoots who watched me load film with big eyes and confusion. I asked if he had ever seen film before and he said no. Film shooters are already the minority, although there is a strong community out there, but how can film make it past this generation if the next doesn’t know what it is? If you want to see a kid’s face light up, just hand them an old camera and a roll of film and ask them to go shoot whatever they would like. The technical stuff can be learned after the first few rolls. And it's easy to just have the film developed at a local 1-hour photo lab until they have the resources to develop it themselves in a darkroom.

To get started, you will first want to aquire a camera. This may be a camera passed down from a family member, or a used camera purchase (like from KEH). Check back on Wednesday for a list of recommendations for great camera options for kids. Next, you will want to buy some film. See the film buying and developing guide for more information. If you don’t know how to load film into your camera, you can ask someone who does, read the camera manual, or search YouTube for a video on how to do it. That’s really all you need to start!

Photo by: Hannah, Age 9. Shot on a Lomo LC-A+.
Photo by: Hannah, Age 9. Shot on a Lomo LC-A+.



Currently, Kids and Film is featuring kid’s film images on our blog, running monthly contests, and featuring articles and tutorials about using film, written by both kids and adults. In the near future, the goals are to become a non-profit organization and through grant money and donations, establish a program that supplies camera equipment, film, and lab processing to low-income schools, after-school programs, and kids living in poverty around the world. We will be sharing more details about this program on our website in the next few months.
 
For more information and to get involved, check out Kids and Film at: http://www.kidsandfilm.com/