August 11 2007 – I wrote this article in May 2009 in Swedish. I’ve tried to translate this into English and I hope you will enjoy the reading.
Kids’ don’t miss anything. They miss absolutely nothing. They see and they have this almost sharp way of seeing. You can see how they see things with that special look in their eyes. I often recognize myself in their way of seeing things and I remember myself and how I was looking at things when I was a kid. This way of seeing things usually disappears when we grow up.
A good example of kids’ who see and adults who still have this way of seeing is this classic image of the Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindgren (this photo by Torbjörn Andersson became Photo of the Year in 1997). It’s very clear to me that this photographer never misses anything either. How many would have actually seen this event in the midst of everything. How many would have actually missed this situation. Not the kids’, because they don’t miss anything.
All kids’ have a photographer’s eye. To have eye contact with kids’ is like having eye contact with other photographers who also see.
I usually say that you can see if a person sees. Or if a photographer sees. If there is a “flat meeting” in the eye contact or if it becomes like a “deep dive”. This may sound weird, but I can’t describe it in any other way. It’s always a “deep dive” in the meeting with kids’, just because they see. Perhaps they will stop seeing when they grow up and misses everything that they didn’t miss when they were kids’.
I’m still a kid in my way of seeing things. I didn’t lose my seeing. Maybe that’s why I became a photographer. Perhaps there is a reason that some lose their way of seeing and some don’t.
It would have been interesting putting a camera in every kid’s hands. What images would it be. Maybe they will rediscover their way of seeing things, when they look at their own images again when they are adults.
I remember one time when we stopped the car at a crosswalk, a kid and her mother were passing over. The mother was walking in front of her daughter and seemed stressed (talking in her cell phone) while her daughter (around 5 years old) was walking behind. Suddenly, she looked straight into my eyes where I was sitting in the car. She missed nothing. What if she had had a camera in her hand and could have documented what she saw, all that her mother was missing.
If you look around the next time you’re out you will notice all these kids’ who see.