Nature through the eyes of children
There I went, with a whole bunch of kids and a load of photography stuff. We were going into the woods because I wanted to discover how these children would experience this landscape.
We went for a few days in a row, the children from a local primary school aged 9 to 12 years old and me.
It was early spring and still quite cold. Sunny, but we still had to wear our winter coats.
We walked in this funny parade for about 20 minutes before we arrived at the clearing with picnic tables and picnic benches.
This is where we got to work.
It was at a time when I still gave a lot of pinhole workshops, something that now seems to be very far away.
With a lightproof box with only a tiny hole in it, some photo paper and the assignment to make the unusual visible, I put the children to work.
They developed the photos themselves in lightproof tents that you can only enter with your arms. The tents were on the picnic tables, and the magic happened in there by touch. The jerry cans and buckets of water were under the table, ready to rinse the photos.
These children helped me with an assignment, making a work of art for an art route through this forest.
My work would be shown in a wooden watchtower in the middle of this forest.
Through these images, I wanted to encourage people to look out over the area with a look of wonder. I wanted to present the forest as a mythical place where the most beautiful stories and fairytales arise.
Children are good at imagination. We, adults, are less good at it due to our busy and hectic daily lives.
That’s why I asked the children for help, they have it by nature, and they took their job very seriously.
Those were lovely days there in the forest, and what beautiful photos and texts (which I also asked them to do) these children made here.
I was struck by the fairytale and enchanting atmosphere that I found in their photos and their texts.
I enjoyed getting started with my own images.
The examples of the children helped because usually, I don’t take many pictures in the woods. Although I like to go there, my photos often get too busy, and I have trouble finding suitable compositions.
But thanks to the examples and the inspiration I got from these children, I managed to transform this forest into something extraordinary.
Also, because of my pinhole camera, of course, and the light that falls so beautifully through the leaves in spring.
When I was ready, I attached the photos, which were printed on canvas, and taken in the areas that the tower overlooked, to the watchtower.
Through the images, people could look inside the area and within themselves because how did this forest affect them?
On the back of the photos in the tower, I added texts based on those of the children about their forest experience.
When people climbed the tower, they looked at these texts and were invited to look out over this landscape in a different way, like the children had done so beautifully, and discover their own world of association.
For the first time now, I made real photo prints of these images to add them to my webshop.
Hopefully, when they hang on the wall, they still have the same effect.
You can see more about this project here.
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