My Canon PowerShot is pretty dinged up, so when my 4-year-old nephew asked if he could take a picture with it, I said sure, although I suppose I wouldn’t have been happy if he’d broken it. I didn’t have to worry at all. He was careful and wound up taking quite a few pictures. I think he liked the fake click noise the camera makes when you push the button.
When I looked at the pictures he’d taken, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. A few were odd shots of people, but most were of the environment around him. Some of them made me laugh. And some of them made me go, “Hmmmm. That looks like art!”
I’ve decided to let the public decide. Here is a selection of my nephew’s photos. I’ve left out the ones that were way out of focus or people’s faces. The only processing I’ve done is to downsize them for easy computer viewing. Otherwise they are untouched — no cropping, no lighting fixes, no color tweaks — just the world as my camera sees it while in my nephew’s hands. I think you’ll agree that it’s an intimate view.
Purists will argue that my nephew isn’t creating art because he doesn’t have any control over what he’s doing. I’m going to argue for “art is in the eye of the beholder.” When I look at these, I see art. They show me a familiar world in a new way, and they get me thinking new thoughts. And isn’t that what art’s all about?
What do you think? Can 4-year-olds make art?