The 100 / #3: James Willshire

#3 James Willshire Part time Polar bear East Sussex, UK

About James

Introducing James Willshire (and his father John!)

Tell us a little bit about James
James is two years and four months old. He knows to say cheese when someone is taking a picture, but not that he should look at the camera whilst doing so. I thought this project might help him learn about cameras and pictures. Oh, and depending on the day or time, James claims he is a polar bear, or a cat, or a rabbit.

Tell us a little bit about John
I founded Smithery, which is an innovation works. I think Making Things People Want beats Making People Want Things. So I help companies and agencies do that. We live in a small village called Plumpton Green in East Sussex. I started a wee photo project called Plumpton Mornings when we moved there. And, depending on the day or time, I am either a polar bear, or a cat, or a rabbit. So James tells me.

What does James get excited about, and what is he likely to take photos of?
It is a widely known fact that there are few polar bears in East Sussex. We’re crafty, see, keeping our polar bear plans to ourselves. But that means no polar bear pictures. Instead, my plan is to give James a test camera first, so he understands what’s going on, and sees that it takes pictures, and they get developed. After that, who knows what’ll happen. He does love the outdoors, so it could well be interesting flora and fauna he finds. Or it could be twenty four pictures of the same toy car. Kids like consistency, sometimes.

What do you think will be the biggest adventure/challenge for James as he grows towards 100 years old?
I think with any child growing up today, it’s going to be immensely exciting, and very challenging, to navigate the education system over the next twenty years. Or even to circumvent it, in some areas. The practice we grew up with, where you were asked to decide what you wanted to be for the rest of your life when you were 14… that’s just irrelevant now for a lot of people. Education becomes an open-source platform for you to build upon, and learn what’s right for you as you go, and that’ll continue into the work you do afterwards too.

What one thing have you learned from James?
That being a dad is the best thing in the world.

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