Little photographers on the loose

You can come across some surprising sights when wandering around Te Papa – including 3 and 4-year-olds taking pictures with vintage cameras. 

If you pay a visit to the art exhibitions in Ngā Toi, you might come across a small group of children from Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Nothing too surprising there you think, but when you notice that these 3 and 4 year-olds have old cameras (think Kodak Brownies) hanging around their necks, you do a bit of a double take.

Brownie Box Camera, Photograph by Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Te Papa

Brownie Box Camera, Photograph by Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Te Papa

The fact is the photography bug that has taken hold of the kindergarten shows no sign of disappearing any time soon…

The latest development was a visit to the photography studios here at Te Papa. Thanks to Mike O’Neill, Te Papa photographer, the children were able to experience life in front of and behind the camera.

This involved composing the shot, bouncing light around using a reflector and, of course, pressing the button and hearing that satisfying click.

The results are here in this blog – all of the photos apart from the group one at the end were taken by the children.

Larking around in the studio, Photograph by Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Te Papa

Larking around in the studio, Photograph by Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Te Papa

When in front of the camera, the full range of posing was explored from serious to silly. My favourite shot? Any photo of a child holding up a decades old Box Brownie camera and ‘taking a picture’ of you is always a winner in my eyes…

What is clear is that you can entrust even very small children with big kit, in big spaces, and when you do, they reward that trust, and cause you to expand your own thinking as well as theirs.

Group shot, Photograph by Mike O'Neill. Te Papa

Group shot, Photograph by Mike O’Neill. Te Papa

As they left the studios the talk was of creating a kindergarten photography studio and exploring different lighting effects using coloured transparencies. So watch this space for more photographic developments…

6 Responses

  1. Nirmala Balram

    What a great experience for the children. Starting art appreciation early.

    Reply
  2. Jenny

    Beautiful photos. I look forward to seeing more of their work.

    What a lovely relationship between kindergarten and museum.

    Reply
  3. Michael Hall

    Yip, there’s the future of museums right there.

    Reply
  4. Lynette Townsend

    Absolutely brilliant. What a great initiative – would love to see more of the photos.

    Tai Tamariki’s close connection to Te Papa makes it such a unique and special place. Projects like this really showcase the benefits – well done!

    Reply
  5. Miri Young

    Love reading about this ongoing interaction between Tai Tamariki and Te Papa’s photographic resources. The next generation of photographers!

    Reply

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