About the project

Children’s photography is vastly under-researched despite the fact that (1) film cameras have been marketed to children from the post-war period onwards (Pollen, work in progress), (2) digital photography is now widely accessible to children through their tablets, their parents’ mobile devices, as well as family digital cameras where these are available, (3) is often used in formal and informal learning settings (schools, youth clubs, research projects, etc), and (4) sociological research on the family album is well established.

Hide and Seek is grounded in visual sociology and builds on earlier research that explores the relationships between childhood and public life in everyday life with an emphasis on using photography with children and exploring the child’s gaze (Nolas and Varvantakis, 2019; Varvantakis and Nolas, 2021; Nolas, Varvantakis and Aruldoss, 2023). The aim of the pilot phase of the study is to find and collate 10 heterogeneous case histories of past child photography in order to better understand the sorts of things that children make pictures of in their everyday lives when unprompted by the framework of an educational or research project, as well as the conditions of that picture’s making, the photograph’s reception in families, and child/family display practices (the showing of their photographs). A future phase of the project will look at contemporary child photography and changes children’s photography over time.

The project is carried out in collaboration with the Children’s Photography Archive.

The first phase of the project is supported through the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London through their Research Development Fund and the Careers Service at Goldsmiths through their GRIPP Internship Programme.

Project team

Melissa Nolas is a Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the Director of the Childhood Publics Research Programme as well as the Director of the Children’s Photography Archive. She is a visual sociologist best known for her research and practice on childhood publics, children’s visual cultures, children’s archives, multimodal ethnography, and publics creating methodologies.

Pheroza Mottram is BA (Hons) History student at Goldsmiths, University of London. She specialises in London history and is passionate to learn about the different local communities living in Lewisham and the South East of the capital. She is an intern on the Childhood Publics Research Programme (2023-2024) working on the pilot research project ‘Hide and Seek: looking for children’s photography in family albums’.

Calling all child photographers!

Get in touch if you:

  • * Took lots of photos as a child;
  • * Possibly kept the photos you took then;
  • * Have a spare hour to talk about these photos and your expierences.

We are a visual sociologist-historian team looking to collect and compile examples of children’s photographic practices and how children view the world through the photographs they take. The first phase of the project talks to adults (18+), like you, about their memories and experiences of making photographs in childhood. Your current occupation is not relevant to the study, and you do not have to be a photographer now (in any capacity), you just need to be someone who has had experience of making photographs as a child.

Please read this information sheet and consent form for further details and Melissa Nolas [email protected] if you are interested to take part.