Teaching at a summer camp, much less one that requires outdoor time, might not sound like an appealing task. But for Greg and Cindy Patterson, it is an opportunity to share their passion for photography with younger generations.
For the third straight year, House of Photography is offering the Kids Photography Camp, which introduces children to the art. At the camp, the students learn how to properly use a camera, as well as practice photography terminology such as framing, depth of field, and forced perspective. On Wednesday, students learned about aperture and shutter speed.
“For me, and I think for Greg as well, (sharing photography) is everything,” Cindy Patterson said. “It’s more than the monetary value or just being able to do it. It’s the fact that they get it. I think photography is something they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. I feel like we might have another photographer in these camps who may be able to make a lifestyle of it like we have.”
For part of the camp, Greg Patterson gives a short lecture about the topic of the day. Then campers put into practice what they were taught.
“I got started in photography when I was 12, and my dad gave me a camera. It was something I did through high school and of course college,” he said. “So for me to be able to teach kids at the same age that I was learning, it’s just a really cool thing.”
Students bring their own equipment that ranges from iPads to digital cameras with removable lenses. All cameras serve the same purpose—to see things like a photographer.
“Teaching someone to see like a photographer — that’s a big component of what we do, and teaching these kids how to see what makes a good photo,” Greg Patterson said. “Any kind of camera is perfect for that, and an iPhone is great for that. We challenge them intellectually to not only be creative but to apply what we’re learning. I think the kids at the end, all have fun and remember different aspects of photography that we taught them, and make friends with each other along the way.”
The camp is at the House of Photography, formerly know as G.Patterson studio. About a year-and-a-half ago, the Pattersons rebranded and incorporated gifts, photos and classes to their business. Incorporating classes and teaching was an important addition, they said. After Greg Patterson retired from teaching photography at SFA to focus on the business, he still felt a need to teach.
“It was two years this summer that I officially retired from my job at SFA. I have always had a passion for teaching and my wife and I work really well with kids,” he said.
When the Pattersons opened the first camp three years ago, there were no empty spaces, so they opened a second camp that year and saw the same success.
“Over the years, there’s just been interest in an opportunity for kids, and we had done a class a long time ago, like 10 years ago, through the recreation center, and it was just one class and it went really well,” he said. “Life got in the way and I was busy between the studio and SFA, but since I saw my time at SFA coming to a close, I wanted to continue teaching. With the extra time in the studio, I saw that as an opportunity.”
This is the last week of Kids Photography Camp after multiple sessions. The June camp was geared toward beginners ages 8 to 16, while the July camps were for intermediate students ages 11 to 16.