Late last year my family came to stay and one of my nephews had a new camera. This camera stayed by his side the whole week and he obviously loved taking pictures. Seeing a lad of his age (12 years) being so absorbed in just taking shots, not over thinking it but thoroughly enjoying it, did my heart good and not just because he's my nephew!
When at shows it's usually the middle aged men and women that want to chat to me about photography. They often have the money to indulge their hobby or are thinking of selling their work and want ideas or just to enjoy chatting about what they do. This is always a pleasure but I like it even more when you see the enthusiasm of youngsters just starting out.
A friend's son, who is a similar age to my nephew has always been eager to have a go on my camera when we meet up. When we met up last year he was a bit older and a bit cooler shall we say, so he didn't ask. We were out walking at Titchwell marshes and after a while I simply tapped him on the shoulder and handed him my camera and despite trying to be casual and pretend disinterest at first, within minutes he was running up and down to try different shots and angles.
When you hand a camera to a youngster or even a young child, stand back and watch what they do. They don't agonise over settings or lighting, there is no self conscious worrying about kneeling or lying down, climbing a tree or even running up to strangers to take a cheeky shot. What they do, they do instinctively and I believe that as adults we should do the same.
Too many are quick to judge what is or isn't a great picture fashioned by the articles they read, some kind of snobbery or inhibition (I'm not saying everyone but there are a few...) Yes it's good to learn and increase your skills but first, get out there and see what makes you stop in your tracks, what hits you in the pit of the stomach enough to make you want to take that shot. Decide on your own angles, settings, lighting - be brave and experiment. Release your inner kid and see what develops... because the kids I know, take some really great shots.