Last week: London. This week: Paris. Well, sort of. It’s been a busy Easter holiday.
During the end-of-term holidays, I try to book a couple of random days off so that I can take the boys on days out. This Easter, that has involved first an Underground obsession-fuelled dash around London and then a day at Legoland – the visit to ‘Paris’ being the mini Lego version of it within the theme park.
The one thing these two trips had in common was as an excuse for all three of us to get snap-happy with our cameras.
Although these days the vast majority of images I take are captured using my iPhone, I’m still the owner of a high-end DSLR and a collection of lenses which I have built up over the past decade or so. I’m technically proficient enough that I can tell you about the benefits of aperture versus shutter speed-priority, and the mathematical relationship between aperture size, ISO and shutter speed. And while I’m never going to win any awards, I can take a decent enough photo.
Interestingly, without me ever having really pushed it on to them, both Isaac and Toby have a keen interest in photography too. It’s another thing – along with cars and Thunderbirds – that the three boys of our household have in common.
On both trips, the boys insisted on bringing cameras with them to capture the day for themselves. Isaac took Heather’s Panasonic Lumix compact, while Toby has his own Nikon Coolpix – his fifth birthday present (and a snip at £40) of which he is immensely proud.
Both boys have a sound basic working grasp of their cameras – from zooming in and out to basic rules of composition – and are capable of taking presentable photos without any input from me.
But, as in so many things, the boys pursue their task in different ways. Isaac has a more functional approach. He sees something and he takes a precise photo of it. Toby, however, possesses a more aesthetic eye. Despite being two years younger, I think he has a better natural eye for creating a pleasing composition and more of a flair for producing something slightly unexpected.
Isaac will probably end up being the better technical photographer but Toby will be the more creative of the two. It’s a distinction that applies to many things the boys do: the process engineer on one hand, the free-spirited artist on the other. I’m not sure one is necessarily better than the other, just different.
Both boys take their camera-work seriously – neither is one to just point-and-click – and it’s fascinating to see what catches the eye of a child, as well as to see things from their lower viewpoint. It also gives us plenty to discuss together after the event as they talk through their photos from the day, and it’s a great way to get them to open up and talk about things.
Photography may become a passion for one or both of them, or it may end up being no more than a means to an end to capture images to post on their social media updates. But I love that it’s something they both enjoy right now.
Who knows where this will go? Maybe they’ll want their own selfie-sticks next. No. Just no.