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Photography and Creativity: What’s the Connection? 3 Question Interview with Photographer, Dan Kane

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It’s been argued that we live in the ‘Age of the Image’, where our ability to decode and capture visuals are now a necessity in order to communicate information. Not only is photography a powerful art form, but also a storytelling one as well. I’ve been slowly trying to introduce Lucas to Photography, but because I’m awful at taking photos I don’t really know where to start. Dan Kane is a Photographer, who took some absolutely awesome photos during our first real family shoot at the beginning of October – I asked Dan to participate in our DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview, and give me some pointers on how to introduce photography to young children.

SEE ALSO: 3 Question Interview with Daddy Stop Motion Animator

Photography and Creativity – what’s the connection?

I was 13 years old when I got my first camera. As I started taking photographs, I found myself using my eyes differently as I was constantly seeking out interesting patterns, textures, colors and people. I had always loved to sketch and draw, but my camera gave me the chance to be creative in a new way as I documented things that I saw in my everyday life. I would constantly test myself to come up with a new angle or approach to a subject that might otherwise not be very interesting.

Dan's daughter helps him add some final tweaks to our family photo!
Dan’s daughter helps him add some final tweaks to our family photo!

In what ways can parents introduce young children to photography?

My two daughters (ages 5 and 7) have already expressed an interest in photography and I encourage it by giving them “assignments” with my old point and shoot camera. For instance, I’ve had them shoot portraits of their favorite stuffed animal, seek out examples of a certain shape or texture or take “action” photos of our cats. Occasionally, they sit with me as I’m editing and we discuss composition. It’s fun for them and I love that they take an interest in my work!

How can parents cultivate creative thinking skills within these introductory type activities?

It’s important to always remain positive and focus on interesting elements of the pictures your kids will take. They won’t all be great, but as long as they keep shooting, their eye will develop quickly. You might even see them gravitating towards a particular type of photography like nature, portraits or even abstract subjects. Don’t get bogged down in trying to teach them the technical aspects early on. Just let them shoot and have fun!

I bought my eldest a VTech Kidizoom Connect Camera. Here he's trying to snatch a picture of a giraffe!
I bought my eldest a VTech Kidizoom Connect Camera. Here he’s trying to snatch a picture of a giraffe!

You can see some of Dan’s work on his website at http://dankanephotos.com/.

Dan – thanks for participating in our Dads for Creativity, 3 Question Interview. A big take away from this interview is less on the technical and more on making time to review the pictures my little one taken and together identify interesting things that’s been captured!


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Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance. is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. To gain FREE access, simply comment below and we’ll follow up with a link and password.

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Kid Movie Making Ideas: 3 Question Interview with Daddy STOP MOTION Animator, Dave DiBartolo

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When it comes to Kid Moviemaking Ideas, Lego Stop Motion is super, super high on the list. Not only does it allow our little ones to generate fun stories that can be easily captured, but it also extends the creative thinking to constructing worlds, and engaging problem-solving skills in not only the child, but parent as well.

After fellow parent, David DiBartolo completed his Fine Arts degree he landed in the world of video, and now applies these skills at home with his son Drew. Below he shares some tips and tricks for parents looking to get into Lego moviemaking. Also, don’t forget to comment for free access to the film Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

See Also: 3 Question Interview with Professional Stop Motion Animator Alex Kobbs

How did you get into making Lego videos with your little one?

When my son Drew was four he got his first Lego set, a Star Wars spaceship of some kind. I noticed he had some really imaginative play with just the ship and the three characters that came along. I thought it would be a great idea to film him and capture some of the great stories he was telling. As his/our passion for Lego grew we began watching some really great stop-motion Lego movies on YouTube, and it was Drew who suggested we try to make our own.

Like any creative endeavor, it began very basic. I wanted to find a way to make it easy for a four/five year old to make his own movies as well as keep his attention so he doesn’t get board of the monotony of the stop-motion process.

We had no lights or tripod. I chose the brightest room in our house and suggested we shoot on my iPhone as appose to the DSLR cameras that many of the YouTube videos are shot with. As for a stop-motion app, we landed on the “LEGO Movie” app. It has some canned effects, stock music, and a pretty simple UI for a four/five year old to grasp.

Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.
Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.

Can you tell us a little about the Lego Stop Motion App? How easy is it to use? Do you need to know about Stop Motion and Movie Making?

The “LEGO Movie” app is pretty simple. It gives you the option to chose your focal point, turn on the flash on your phone, and use it as a light. An “onion layer” option so you can see the previous shot for a fluid sequence. As well as some pre-canned effects and music to help make the post-production of the video a little easier.

What advice can you offer parents looking to make Lego videos with their kids?

Start simple and plan out the story before going into the shoot. Drew and I have a “pre-production” meeting where I try to limit his grand ideas into a simple story. He has a great imagination and sometimes imagines stories that would rival most summer blockbuster films.

The best thing I learned is to give him rules to work within, otherwise he’d either get frustrated, or bored, and not want to finish – or we’d end up working all night!

I have him choose a hero, a villain and some supporting cast. I also have him choose one location and work the story around that location. I ask him what problem his hero has to solve. If the solution begins to get a bit too violent I ask him what his hero could do to avoid the violence. Asking questions about his story really helps hone in on the core of the story he is trying to tell. I let him create the story I just guide him in a positive direction.

Sometimes he gets really excited about his idea and I suggest we draw storyboards so when we go into filming I can refer to this so he stays on task.

As for useful equipment, using a tripod and/or a studio light help. The main reason is to get a level steady shot and try to even out the light, so the shadows don’t get too heavy.

Check out one of Drew and David’s films below.


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3 Question Interview with Kids Cooking Activities Blogger, Debbie Madson

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Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity.

 – Debbie Madson

I am extremely lucky to live within an Italian family that takes great pride in making and preparing food. My eldest has observed these creative acts in the kitchen with great interest, and now enjoys any opportunity to make and create in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I am still pathetic when it comes to cooking, and am at a lost on how I might better support and facilitate Kids Cooking Activities.

Debbie Madson is a Web Publisher and Author, who has published several sites and books on the subject. Most of her time is spent at kids-cooking-activites.com, a site dedicated to teaching kids cooking skills and easy to do recipes (and this is a fantastic blog – I can only hope that one-day mine will be half as successful!). In this 3 Question Interview, Debbie shares her ideas on how to engage children’s creative thinking in the kitchen.

SEE ALSO: Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with Creativity Export, Jane Harvey

 

1. Cooking and Creativity – what’s the connection?

Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity. If you can make cooking fun and bring in a level of creativity kids will learn to enjoy working in the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to do this is to give kids a plate of chopped vegetables for a vegetable platter and ask them to create a masterpiece. They’ve made turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner, a house design with flowers and trees as a landscape and even Picasso like designs.  

Cooking also provides opportunities for problem solving and learning without children even realizing it.  By teaching kids how to half or double recipes you are showing them how to use math skills in everyday life. Or learning how to read a recipe carefully so you don’t forget an ingredient or skip a step gives them practice in reading skills. There may be mistakes made while cooking and being able to have kids stop and figure out what went wrong and how to make it better or do it over can provide great problem solving skills as well.

2. In what ways can parents introduce young children to cooking?

Getting children interested when they are young is a great opportunity to get them more involved in healthy eating. However, don’t feel it is too late if your kids are older.

When you are beginning allow your child to work alongside you by stirring food, adding ingredients into a mixing bowl or choosing recipes to try. These simple tasks will help them feel like they are making and creating meals.  Also talk to them while you are cooking. Teach them about the different ingredients you are using, where they come from and what kind of food our bodies need.

As they gain experience add on more age appropriate tasks such as whisking eggs, peeling carrots or measuring ingredients.

Lucas and the four stages of Pizza Making. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.
My eldest demonstrates the FOUR STAGES OF PIZA MAKING. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.

3. I confess I can’t cook. I burn everything and make a huge mess in the process. What advice do you have for Dads like me?

If you are a beginner cook start with some basic ideas such as boiling water for pasta and adding a sauce. Starting with prepared ingredients can also build your confidence. To make a basic chicken soup you could start with a can of chicken broth, shredded chicken (I like to use the Rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store) and chopped carrots. Keeping it simple when you are beginning sometimes is a great way to ease yourself into learning how to cook.


 

COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to #dadsforcreativity or share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

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Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with CREATIVITY EXPERT, Jane Harvey

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‘Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing’

-Jane Harvey

‘I’m not creative – I don’t know where they get their creativity from!’ I’ve heard this sentence uttered far too many times from fantastic and highly creative adults – many of them parents. We are all creative! We have natural characteristics that help us think creatively, and the challenge is to continue to develop and nurture these natural characteristics as we grow. As parents one of the ways we can support this effort is by developing a better understanding of creativity and challenging some of the misconceptions that exist within society. In this 3 Question Interview, Jane Harvey who recently co-authored a book called ‘Creativity for Everybody’ will challenge this misconception and explain how creative thinking expands far beyond the arts.

SEE ALSO: Parent Partners in Education: A Beginners Guide to Creativity

What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?

Myth: Some people are born creative and some are not. I would prefer to say that it varies in how people find their way into (or out of) creativity.

Myth: Creative people are the odd weirdo-types. Yeah, thanks.

Myth: Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing. I have heard from parents “you can either choose a career that will earn money, or you can choose the arts and not make money”. Why is it either/or? Why can’t the arts be integrated into everything, so our brains get play time and freedom of expression for the full benefit for learning?

What advice do you have for parents who what to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?

Encourage multiple perspectives of a situation. Not everyone thinks the same or sees the same. Have your children get into a habit of considering different views and then talk about it. To build fluency and flexibility for creative thinking, kids need to try out alternatives. There is no one right answer, but we all get caught up in the mindset of efficiency and immediacy. Have your children think beyond a fast answer, and play along yourself. Reward imagination, curiosity, and deep thought.

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Jane with her daughter, Molly Gibbs (who took the photo above) Jane says she encourages her twin daughters to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore.

What are some of the creative characteristics that you’ve seen in your children and how have you tried to nurture these skills at home?

I don’t see myself as intentionally nurturing creative skills in my daughters (age 17 identical twins). I encourage them to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore. I support their interests and strongly believe in variety and diversity and making ‘newness’ available to them. I am accessible when they have questions. Teenagers are a different kind of creature. I don’t have the same influence or access as when they were younger, so it’s hard to take credit for their creative characters now. They both have a great sense of humor and clever wit, are perceptive and intense. Deep thinkers, curious, thorough, they do have artistic sides. I mostly try to fan the flames of their creativity and just get out of the way!

SEE ALSO: 3 Question Interview with Kathryn Haydon, co-author of ‘Creativity for Everybody’

Creativity for Everyone is available to buy on Amazon. Alternatively, simply comment below or share this article on Facebook* for a chance to receive a FREE SIGNED COPY.

Jane Harvey is a freelance designer, graphic recorder, artist, and creativity consultant. She is valued for her openness, empathy, and humor, and skills in simplifying and designing content. She earned a Master of Science degree in Creativity, Creative Problem Solving, and Change Leadership from the Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.

*Remember to tag us in the share so that we know how to contact you.


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