A couple years ago my daughter would take my camera and photograph a range of things from family dinner parties to the inside of a glass filled with orange juice to her giggling self-portraits. Since it was evident she had her own way of seeing things, we figured the perfect gift for her on her fifth birthday was her own digital camera. It is really something to witness what interests her. One day as we were coming home in a taxi she was taking shots out the window all along the way. When we arrived at the apartment building, she stopped on the sidewalk, put the camera to her eye and started clicking as she spun around in a circle. I have no idea where that idea came from; I just stood there somewhat stunned and amazed watching the innocence and one-with-the-moment approach to taking pictures
Countless times its been said, “if only we could bottle the energy of a child”. Rather than that, what I’d love to bottle up is that fresh way of looking at things and the open attitude that just comes naturally and without any preconceived dictation about what a photograph is supposed to be. At times we could all use a dose or two of that; recharge our batteries and drive forward with pure freedom to create.
When I think about the eyes of a child and their “no rules” attitude, I think about what influences each of our visual histories and how they get affected and develop over time. Somewhere along the way we’ve all been presented with a set of rules to work within. These rules may be one way to learn and start seeing but it can come at the expense of the outcome. With photography more so than other mediums, these rules make it easier for the masses to comprehend. It may be because of the reality factor we’ve come to expect by the inherent visuality of the medium. But in the course of learning, we also need to challenge the norm – by looking with the eyes of a child and letting the creativity flow.
When I first came to NYC, I showed my portfolio to a Soho gallery directory who told me that what was currently in style was “the place between buildings”. That’s not exactly what I was doing at the time. My visual history had taken me to an entirely different place artistically. But that particular place is definitely something I could see my daughter shooting now with her unencumbered creativity, just because – why not…
Photos ©Simone Thies