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Kids Photography Book Review

Book Review
Take a Look Around: Photography Activities for Young People by Jim Varriale ( Millbrook Press, 1999).

Ages 8 and up

It’s not surprising that kids like to take pictures. Of all the art forms, photography requires the least manual dexterity. So why do most photography classes for kids start at age 12 or so, long after the drawing and painting classes? I assume it’s because they focus on darkroom technique, with its attendant exposure to nasty chemicals.

Take a Look Around is a photography book that just helps kids take better pictures and leaves darkroom/digital editing issues aside. The book is a series of activities that focus (no pun intended!) on ways to get an interesting shot. Each activity builds awareness of one technique or issue, such as framing, composition, shadow and light, and camera angle.

The book is printed in black and white, but each activity has one or more beautifully shot sample photos to inspire kids and adults alike. Even better, all the photos were taken by kids, using a low-cost 35mm camera. The sample photos all depict familiar, kid-friendly scenes, such a soccer goal or a swimmer in a pool. Take a Look Around makes photography seem so accessible you may want to sneak a few shots yourself.

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