Grown-ups are all very mature, but if you want vivid imaginations, crazy ideas, wild, random and giddy running around and massive and uninhibited hugs, give me a bunch of kids any day.
It’s the school holidays and I’d volunteered to run a photography workshop for children at Leeds Museum. I’d already done a couple of workshops for the grown-ups, which were very civilized affairs, with some clever ideas and good technical skills, but now it was time to lose any inhibitions and that went for the children as well.
The youngsters were already bouncing off the walls with excitement and giddiness, no doubt fueled by over-enthusiastic Easter egg consumption. I whisked them outside to do the 20-step challenge. Easy peasy, walk 20 steps, stop and take a photo, not just any old thing, something different, they didn’t disappoint, and made rather a lot of noise about it too. They burst across Millennium Square and bothered workers escaping the office for a lunchtime read and a bit of peace and quiet, ha ha, some hope! I’m not even going to mention the chaos we caused in the Nelson Mandela Peace Garden, except that there was mass disregard for the keep off the grass signs, I think we got away with it…
I saved the best for last – shooting the grown-ups. The idea was to get the youngsters to art direct the adults, or make them stand in silly poses, whichever they chose. Noel refused me permission to post the photo of him doing passable Middle-Aged Man at C and A, though copies can be emailed on request. Mums and dads were made to do Elvis Lip, jump up and down, stand hand on shoulder and, pay homage to two of the grown-ups, producing a pastiche of an Old Master. Actually, I thought the children were rather restrained and very polite, the last time I did this with kids they made their parents pick their noses, their own noses, that it, anything else would have been gross.
They were a super bunch, very interested and interesting, and politely thanking me, which was lovely. Then Nathan, who has Down’s Syndrome and autism, his communicating hampered even further by deafness, gave me a high five and the best hug I’ve ever had. And just for good measure, he did it again. I think I’ll build group hugs into all future workshops, and invite Nathan to show us how.