On my walk home the other day, I decided to take a slight detour to explore the Avenue B community garden for the first time this season. It’s a great little garden in the neighborhood, with narrow pathways winding through all kinds of flowers, herbs and plants. It has a messy, wild feel to it and you can almost forget you’re in New York while lost in this 1/2 block oasis in alphabet city.
As I walked around the garden, taking pictures of flowers in the spirit of spring, I ran into a little boy. He was also taking pictures – with his mom’s iPhone. He was the cutest little thing in a Curious George t-shirt. I started talking to him about photography and showed him some of the pictures I had taken. He was very personable and outgoing and was interested in my camera and my photos. His name is Duy, he’s Vietnamese (his mother told me), he’s seven years old and he takes photography lessons from a classmate’s photographer father who lives in the neighborhood and teaches the kids in his spare time. (PS… I’d totally love to teach little kids photography!!).
I told Duy that I like taking pictures because it makes me notice things more and pay more attention to what’s around me. He agreed and from that point on we were fast friends. He’d wander off into another area of the garden and then call me over to come look at a variety of flower. Then he’d take my hand and pull me over to see the turtle swimming around in the little pond. It was so cute. We probably hung out for almost an hour, taking pictures together… much more time than I would have spent in the garden if I had just been exploring alone.
This is why I enjoy children so much. Spending time with them tends to awaken the inner child in me. It feeds that sense of discovery and exploration and fun – just being in the moment, wandering around with nowhere to be and no time constraints. With children, the most simple and mundane experiences can become an adventure. Imagination takes over. Boredom doesn’t exist. Everything suddenly has a little more magic. I think my photos benefitted from hanging out with Duy that day. His awe and contagious excitement inspired me. Here are a few of my favorites: