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Making photography as easy as ABC

Reading Time: 3 minutes

ABC Photography, a children’s guide to photography featuring images by Martin Parr, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Alec Soth, Sebastiao Salgado and many more, opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend.
Inspired by the recent book edited by Jan von Holleben – who also shoots children’s books himself – the project takes one photographic concept per letter to explain ideas such as deconstruction, composition, exposure and perspective. The text, by Monte Packham, is child-friendly and witty, and draws on the images to make a satisfyingly holistic whole.
An exhibition by Tom Hunter called Searching for Ghosts also opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend, featuring work made with children living on the Boundary Estate.

I is for Imagine. Imagine you and your three friends – Do, Re, and Mi – feel like an ice cream (it is, after all, a hot sticky day). But they’ve forgotten their wallets again and you have to spend all your pocket money. Deer me! Image Deerline, 2005, from Amelia & the Animals, 2014, and Amelia’s World, 2009, Aperture Books, New York © Robin Schwartz
I is for Imagine. Imagine you and your three friends – Do, Re, and Mi – feel like an ice cream (it is, after all, a hot sticky day). But they’ve forgotten their wallets again and you have to spend all your pocket money. Deer me! Image Deerline, 2005, from Amelia & the Animals, 2014, and Amelia’s World, 2009, Aperture Books, New York © Robin Schwartz, from the book ABC Photography
P is for Perspective. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” – so the saying goes. But aren’t they playing happily together here? Nose to nose this cat and mouse seem bigger to each other than they actually are. Photography’s a matter of perspective in more ways than one. Image My cat, bringing his new friend to the studio, 2014 © Benne Ochs, from the book ABC Photography
P is for Perspective. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” – so the saying goes. But aren’t they playing happily together here? Nose to nose this cat and mouse seem bigger to each other than they actually are. Photography’s a matter of perspective in more ways than one. Image My cat, bringing his new friend to the studio, 2014 © Benne Ochs, from the book ABC Photography
Q is for Quantity and Quality. Do you really need a hundred photos of the same thing when one great shot will do? Less is more! After all, would you ever wear all your outfits at the same time or just your favourite? Image All Suits, 2008 © Sylvie Zijlmans (and Hewald Jongenelis). From the book ABC Photography
Q is for Quantity and Quality. Do you really need a hundred photos of the same thing when one great shot will do? Less is more! After all, would you ever wear all your outfits at the same time or just your favourite? Image All Suits, 2008 © Sylvie Zijlmans (and Hewald Jongenelis). From the book ABC Photography
Z is for Zoom. A camera lens works like magic. It zooms in to reveal microscopic details and out to show gorgeous panoramas that become all your own. Where will you zoom to now with your photography? Image Jordan up the pole, Russell Heights, Ireland, 2010 © Doug DuBois. From the book ABC Photography
Z is for Zoom. A camera lens works like magic. It zooms in to reveal microscopic details and out to show gorgeous panoramas that become all your own. Where will you zoom to now with your photography? Image Jordan up the pole, Russell Heights, Ireland, 2010 © Doug DuBois. From the book ABC Photography
ABC Photography is free, and is open until 11 June in London’s V&A Museum of Childhood. ABC Photography, ed Jan van Holleben, is published by Tarzipan Books. Searching for Ghosts by Tom Hunter is open until 21 January 2018.

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy

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