It felt good to watch what was possibly the largest group of kids with cameras ever in my little community diving head first into photography. Are you ready to inspire the next generation of photographers where you live?
Well, we did it again. With the help and support of my mighty little community in Arizona, I was able to raise enough money and collect enough donations to organize another Kids Photo Walk. You may remember my articles from last year’s event, which proved to myself that kids are interested in photography where I live. An interest that I’m willing to help develop into a rewarding hobby and possibly even a fulfilling career.
Bigger and Better
Not only were we able to host the event again, but we were able to nearly quadruple the attendance compared to last year's event and offer more for the kids and their families. The donations received were enough to cover the cost of 70 one-time-use cameras, 130 hot dogs, buns, condiments, more than enough water and sodas, and the other essentials necessary for 43 children and their families to enjoy a BBQ and a prize raffle at the end of the event. Local businesses and community members donated the items that we raffled off, including a grand prize of a Polaroid Snap camera – which attracted a lot of interest.
Why One-Time-Use Cameras?
We chose to encourage kids to use the free one-time-use cameras due to my personal history with them. Around the age of 7 or 8, I began taking pictures at most of the outings and events I traveled to with my parents and friends using one time use cameras, which at the time, weren’t so out of the ordinary. Using these simple devices, I learned how to frame a shot through a view finder. I learned how to conserve film (not so much of an issue these days), and focus on capturing images of things that interested me, instead of taking pictures just for the sake of hearing the shutter go click.
Level Playing Field
Life is competitive enough these days. Another benefit to using inexpensive one-time-use cameras is that when that’s the tool given to everyone, no one can use equipment as an excuse for why they didn’t get the shot. When I was a kid, I had no idea that the pro’s taking the pictures in my favorite magazines and on my favorite posters had spent tens of thousands of dollars in the process of accumulating their gear, or that I’d later develop those same spending habits. I think it’s important to develop an interest in taking pictures when kids start out in photography, rather than have them believe their equipment is more important than they are.
To anyone interested in doing something like this in your own community, I say go for it. You’ll run into negativity and road blocks anytime you try to do something positive, and that’s to be expected. Focus on what you’d like to achieve and don’t be afraid to ask for help – something I’m still learning how to do.
I had set my sights low last year and received little support in return. This year, I aimed a little higher and achieved a lot more. That difference motivates me to aim even higher next year and provide another free opportunity for kids in my community to gain exposure to the world of photography.
Are there any photography related events for kids in your community? How will you insure that the future of photography as we know it is still around in the years to come where you live?