By Carroll Scott-McIntyre
Earlier in the year I had introduced the Acorn room to photography. We used a Nikon camera and went out in front of Little Owl and took pictures. Each of them had taken around 30 pictures each just to get used to using a real camera. We revisited photography the last couple of weeks, it was encouraging to see how excited they were to use the camera and how quickly they remembered which button to press and how to point and shoot. The Acorn Room has had an ongoing interest about gardens, so I wanted to bring them up to the “secret garden” to look around and take some snap shots.
When we went up, we sat for a bit and I asked them, “What is beautiful?” Miller quickly responded, “Something that makes you happy!” None of the other children had any additional ideas, so I said to them, “Take a look around the garden, you can take a picture of something beautiful or something that makes you happy.” They quickly dispersed; they ran around so excited to look at all the new things they could discover. When we are able to take children out of the classroom environment, it allows them to focus with less distractions. They can slow down and take in the environment that surrounds them, in this case the secret garden.
I was pointing out different flowers and herbs and encouraging them to rub and smell the rosemary and sage. Some would squat down to smell flowers or point out the trees above and the car wash next door. They were calling out to each other to come and see the new things they had discovered like beautiful flowers and the mushroom fairy house. As I approached each child I asked, “Did you find something beautiful?” They were quick to point out what it was. I asked Charlie, “Is this what you want to take a picture of?” Charlie replied, “These flowers make me happy.” They would gather around to see one another taking photos keeping their connection through something they find beautiful. The connection between these children has grown stronger when they connect through a common interest, photography.
One of the many things I love about photography is it is all in the eye of the photographer. Like most art, it is the artist who calls the shots, it’s the viewer who is left to interpret.