Through The Eyes of an 8 Year Old

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Over the weekend, I was out with my wife and daughter doing a photo-shoot for a client, when I noticed my daughter eying the dSLR I was shooting with. So, when we were done, I did something that would make most parents shudder…

I handed over a nearly $2,000 camera and said “I trust you, show me what you see.”

At first, she needed a little help supporting the 18-200mm zoom lense, but once she got the feel of it, she was off to shoot the world. And, that’s when the magic unfolded. Instead of zooming all the way out and shooting something far away, the way most grown-ups would, she zoomed out then stood inches from her subject. As if she were trying to get inside it.

That’s when I got a glimpse of the world through her eyes. And, here’s what she saw…

There are times when I sit across from her wondering what’s going through her mind as she drifts off in daydream.

And, times like this when I get to see through her eyes…and remember how much wonder there always is around us when we pause, then choose to see it.

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66 responses

66 responses to “Through The Eyes of an 8 Year Old”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger, Grant Griffiths, SarahRobinson, Robin Gerhart, Santi Chacon and others. Santi Chacon said: Through The Eyes of an 8 Year Old: Over the weekend, I was out with my wife and daughter doing a photo-shoot for … […]

  2. Werner says:

    Seems your daughter has an instinct for the “camera eye”

  3. Topi says:

    Beautiful! My 3 year old son made me a bracelet for Mother’s Day( I love it, and I’ve worn it every day since. One of the things I particularly love is the combination of beads – random shapes next to each other, the same colour bead (but different shades) next to each other. If I’d made it, I would have gone for uniformity (when did I learn uniformity?) or alternating colours = boring, dependable, safe. Instead, he selected beads as they appealed to him, and threaded them accordingly. I think there’s a lesson there, just as your daughter’s pictures have been a learning for you. Enjoy!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yeah, it really is amazing how unbounded kids are, makes us realize how many fake “assumed constraints” we add to the picture as we get older

  4. Ha! It seems that sometimes, looking with a lot of awareness at the things close to us makes more sense than trying to see the things far away. Children tend to have an intuitive sense about this, which they unfortunately tend to loose as they get more… educated.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      David Crosby once said you learn more watching a kid play for 15 minutes than you do from a guru in 15 years. Just may be true.

  5. BenSpark says:


    Your daughter’s photos are wonderful. I started giving my daughter our point and shoot when she was about 2 years old. She sees me taking photos every day and I know she is curious. So I make sure that I involve her as much as I can. Eventually she’ll get to use the $2000 camera (once I get one myself 🙂 )

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Thanks, man. Yeah, challenge is now she only want to use the “real” camera. LOL

      • Karanime says:

        Good girl! If I had a chance to shoot with one of those, I’d likely never want to touch a cheaper camera again.

        She knows what she’s doing. 😛


  6. Chuck Smith says:

    Great pictures, and it’s always a wonder when you get to experience anything from your child’s perspective. Your daughter has a great eye, and thanks for sharing the pictures.

  7. Lisa Benner says:

    Gorgeous! And what a treasure to get to share — both for you and for us. Thank you!

  8. Andy Fogarty says:

    “There are times when I sit across from her wondering what’s going through her mind as she drifts off in daydream.”

    There’s always that extra bit of twinkle in their eyes. My girls always see things with such wonder and curiosity that it’s just impossible to not be inspired by them everyday.

    My 5 year old loves to take pictures too. We’ve let her take shots with our camera since she was 3. I love her view of the world. I love my 3 year olds view of the world just as much, but I won’t be handing her the $1000 camera until she’s 23 🙂

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      What’s so cool, too, as a parent is that it’s the rare time you get to really peek inside. The way they shoot reveals so much about how they see the world

  9. She has a talent. You are going to have to buy her a dSLR of her own.

    It’s cool that you recognized the opportunity to see what she was looking at. Most parents would be like here use the point and shoot. Good for you.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha, nothing wrong with point and shoots, but it was very cool to see how she took to the big camera and started shooting in a way I hadn’t seen her do before

  10. Pamela says:

    Lovely – you have a budding photographer there. Children are such natural artists.

  11. What kind of plant is that last one? It looks good to eat. 🙂

  12. Neil says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing…

  13. Your daughter has a remarkable eye…

    Trusting in her and letting go of the monetary value of your camera is remarkable as well. You are right. Most parents would not have done that. Kudos to you.

    We are so quick to say “hands off” when it comes to items that have cost us a sizeable amount of money, instead of sharing and teaching respect and responsibility. Instead of igniting that spark.

    My camera is my life, my work… and no, I can’t afford to replace it – but I would never risk extinguishing that spark of wonder because it cost me a lot of money. But then, I’m not passionate about money. I’m passionate about the wonder. And that is a gift I hope I can pass on not only to my eight year old daughter, but to others as well.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      It’s actually really important, I think, to let kids own their actions at a young age and empower them to accept risks and responsibility for outcomes…then see what magic they can create.

  14. Jesse says:

    She knows, ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ by heart.

  15. Lubinrho says:

    Thank you for sharing the delights of childhood. I follow your feed and am constantly reminded to remember the wonder of each day. Thanks again for bringing the sunshine to a dreary day here in Michigan. 🙂

  16. HappyMom says:

    My epiphany – You not only let her use your camera, but you looked at what she did.

    My daughter (9) gets to use my point-and-shoot (the only camera I own), but at the end of the day, she pretty much ignores the photos she’s taken… and so do I. You inspire me to download her photos, admire them, and make a show. (Or show her how to use the software – she’s not very patient.)

    Was your daughter very interested in her end product?

  17. Geanine says:

    She has a great eye! Thanks for sharing these.

  18. Janice says:

    What a wonderful story. Now, Jonathan, when is her birthday? I see a perfect gift for that special girl or her special day!

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Chris Bruce says:

    Thanks for sharing this Jonathan. It never astounds me how much kids have to teach us if we are just willing to listen and sometimes risk. You’ve inspired me to hand over my dSLR to my kids and let them create as opposed to thinking that I just need to take shots of them!


  20. Wonderful pictures by your daughter! I love seeing the pictures that my 5 year old niece takes. Between her natural creativity and unique perspective, they frequently turn out better than anything that I could have done. There are, indeed, lessons to be learned from the youngsters around us.

  21. Pat says:

    One time, back in the days of film cameras, I bought my son a small point-and shoot camera for vacation. I can understand and appreciate your experience–truly marvelous to get a small glimpse into a child’s viewpoint!


  22. Joss says:

    A precious moment for you both. And you both will remember it forever.
    You’re a good Dad.


  23. This is great stuff. I have been giving my kids our little point and shoot camera since they were very small and it was amazing what they took pictures of. I have entire episodes of Scooby doo and the BACK of the TV from my 3 year old, my son at 2 loved cars and the animals painted on his wall. My older daughter has only gotten better as the years have passed.

    Your daughter will remember this forever, and I am willing to bet a tidy sum that you will too.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Yeah, I’ve got a ton of “back of the car” and stuffed animal shots, too.” For reason, the extra ability this camera gave her inspired to to do something different.

  24. Chuck Frey says:

    What a fantastic way for your daughter to express her curiosity about the world! Photography is aptly called “the art of seeing” – it’s fascinating to see how someone else, especially a child with no preconceived notions of how things are “supposed to be done,” looks at things. Makes us realize how we need to get out of our well-worn ruts and see with the eyes of a wide-eyed child!

  25. Sue says:

    Wow, great photos! You have an aspiring photographer on your hands! Are you going to get one or two of them framed and start a small gallery? I think so often we overlook, or diminish the importance of kids’ artwork and creative expression of how they see the world. They are wonderful little gurus in teaching us the larger truths about the world–we need to pay attention to them more often.

  26. Ross Hudgens says:

    I think the lesson is that kids still see the minor details of life and are amazed by them. As we grow older, we get desensitized by the mundane, but as children, the sense of wonderment is still there and fresh – so there’s that desire to get up close, Grab the rose, and look deeply at something beautiful.

    I think that’s the lesson here – stop for a second and consider the beauty in front of you.

  27. Anne Wayman says:

    Good for you… you have no idea how the support, love and trust you’re showing her now will help her know her worth as a woman… bless you! And her, and your wife, etc.

  28. There is a short video of my 1.5 year old grandniece getting a bag of gifts from her aunt. Each item is this wonderful thing as she ooohhh and ahhh’s over them. I love taking photos up close and have some nice images of the inside of tulips.

    Your daughters eye is wonderful. Maybe a smaller SLR so she can shoot photos with her dad? Then onto video… I look forward to more art.

  29. Taru Fisher says:

    I love your daughter’s “eye” for photographing. It’s interesting that once I took a photography class on how to photograph people, and the lesson was get up close, blur the background and capture the essence of the person. It seems that works for other scenes as well. I’m reminded of the artist, Georgia O’Keefe who so stunningly painted object up close and captured their very soul. Perhaps she would enjoy Georgia O’Keefe’s work as well.

    Your daughter has the right idea! Keep supporting her creativity; it’s a wonderful gift to give a child.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Funny you mentioned O’Keefe, she was first exposed to her when she was about 5 and was drawn to her paintings and style then.

      • Taru Fisher says:

        The next time you are in Santa Fe (I’m presupposing something here), take her to the Georgia O’Keefe Gallery/Museum. I’ll bet she would love it!

  30. Romilly says:

    My father did that with me and his 3000 35mm Canon camera when I was about that age. 🙂 Same principle, not quite so instant results!

    I think it’s driven my view of the world ever since. I still love macro photography. You are to be commended, Jonathan! Inspirational.

  31. Linda says:

    What beautiful photos–thank you for sharing. And for reminding me to bring my (decidedly less expensive!) camera to the Farmer’s Market this evening so I can view the experience through my 8 y/o’s eyes.

    Lovely post.

  32. Marirose says:

    Wonders never cease! This is quite amazing, My son started out gripping an instant flasher with grubby little hands. The pictures came out with our lopsided grins, partial noses – though I think he eyed the hairs inside the nose. Given that it could be put together like a puzzle once it was developed. Nonetheless, his way of seeing the world is amazing, so pure and innocent. I now have a collection of his work, on a decent camera with lens that we invested in, Thank you for sharing.

  33. Hey – you know that thing you said about wanting to do with your writing what SRV did with the guitar? Well, between you and your daughter’s pictures – check.

  34. Jennifer says:

    Several years ago I took a contemplative photography course called Miksang (Tibetan for “Opening the good eye”). We were taught to throw away everything we knew about photography and start fresh. To open our awareness and sense of wonder about color, texture and light. These photos remind me of that. 🙂


  35. Sylvia says:

    Fabulous pics! May I please use part of one of them as image for a friends website? 4th one down with the reddish leaves. I was just looking at “nature” images when I procrastinated and read your blog and saw your pics. (coincidence or divine intervention?). Let me know. Thanks.

  36. Shang Lee says:

    These are great photos! I wouldn’t even try to own a $2000 camera, let alone pass it to a kid… I guess you’ll be letting her hold the camera from now on? You’ve got your own personal eager photographer. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  37. Susan Greene says:

    I do the same with my 11-year-old daughter, let her shoot with my SLR. It’s fascinating to see what catches her eye. After she shoots, we put the pictures on the PC and go through them one by one analyzing, in a positive way, what worked and what could have been done differently.

    Through photography, she is learning new ways to see the world, and I am gaining insights into her creative little mind.

  38. “There are times when I sit across from her wondering what’s going through her mind as she drifts off in daydream. And, times like this when I get to see through her eyes…and remember how much wonder there always is around us when we pause, then choose to see it.”
    Those two sentences contain the most prolific statements (I can 100% relate to) that I have heard you speak… Simply brilliant because it’s meaning is so true!

    I have two daughters 11 and 6 so I know how you feel. I always want to be a better dad and by seeing what they see and doing what they do (to a certain degree) you can relate better.

    I too let my children take my camera, voice recorder (always get something great) and my Droid phone with Video Camera. My daughter walks around the house taping her own little show! Those are some GREAT Moments!

    Tweet ya later @seekingminds !

  39. […] original post here: Through The Eyes of an 8 Year Old Filed under: Uncategorized Comment (0) Article tags: around-the, children, daughter-eying, […]

  40. Lindsey says:

    I love this! My daughter is obsessed with photography and loves to take my iphone and go to town with it – I love uploading the pictures and seeing, as you say, what she sees. Incidentally our daughters must be almost the same age. Love that! 🙂

  41. Karen says:

    MONKEY CUPCAKES!!!!!!! Yeah, I’d shoot that.

  42. Jenny Fenig says:

    A beautiful photographer you have in your life! She has a gift. Thanks for sharing.


  43. Ah! … Ahh… Awe!


  44. MiGrant says:

    Kid’s got talent! Thanks for sharing.

  45. Kelli Wise says:

    You need to get your daughter a macro lens and an inexpensive DSLR body and let her go crazy! She has an eye for composition and color already.

  46. Bryan Lubic says:


    Always amazing to see what other see, the way they see it.

    What stories could be told?

    A local nonprofit project in San Diego does something similar for immigrants and refugees, with profound effect on all involved. (Called The AjA Project ).

  47. ayala says:

    Beautiful!!!I would do the same!You showed your daughter that you care how she sees things more than you care about the camera!!!She will always remember this. I think she is a natural and I love her pictures!!!!!!

  48. Sean says:

    This is one the coolest posts I’ve read as of late. One the fact you trust your daughter that much with your camera is saying something, but then to see the results, I mean wow. I know most “photographers” that can’t take photos like that!

    It is a nice reminder to all of us to view things from a different perspective every once in awhile.

    Thanks for sharing.

  49. ryan says:

    This is great, Jonathan. Anything to breathe some real life into these damn computers! Thank God there is more to life than perfectly optimized posts that make google salivate.

  50. Jennifer says:

    Great post Jonathan! I really enjoyed reading the comments as well… Great comments surrounding your decision to hand your daughter your camera as opposed to the point and shoot camera… You may have seen the difference in her photos because she was feeling special… Maybe she was imitating your actions and your photographic process from her point of view.

  51. […] Through The Eyes of an 8 Year Old – Johnathan is such a great guy – he always talks about his walks with his daughter and the fun they have together. I loved this post – he handed over his fancy camera to his daughter and let her capture all things she loved. He posted those pictures in this blog. That girl has some talent! […]

  52. […] read about JonathonFields handing over his camera one time to his daughter and the amazing pictures that came […]

  53. […] Fields demonstrates what I call the Fred Rogers Principal on his blog awake @ the wheel.  He writes that after shooting for a client, he gave his 8 year old daughter his camera and […]