Children are a great photographic subject. It’s not only because we love them, and because our sense of beauty is modeled on basis of child like facial features. The main reasons are that children are at the same time full of energy and very poor at self control.
While the high energy level is typical of most young mammals, and reflect the need to learn through play, the lack of self control has more to do with the peculiar cognitive evolution of our human species. I have read somewhere, that our brains develop full self control capacity only around the age of 30, and particularly the young boys tend to be very poor at it. This brings some interesting conclusions, like the scientific confirmation of the idea to avoid punishment based upbringing in favour of reinforcement of desired behaviours through rewards. It is not a fear of punishment ( because of the lack of sufficient self -control ) that will block improper behaviour, it is more likely that we can induce desired behaviours through positive feedback instead.
There is also a great lesson that we, photographers can try to learn from kids: their unadulterated vision of the world. The older we get, the more our visual perception is a construct of cultural experience. This has been neatly summarized by Andersen in his famous fairy tale ” The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Only a child could see the obvious truth, and express this freely. Picasso has famously said: ” When I was young, I could draw like Raphael. But it has taken me my whole life to learn to draw like a child.”
Children like to break the rules and simplify the complicated. Why should one use the stairs, if it’s possible to jump? They are also great at showing raw emotions, which of course makes them very photogenic. I have noticed something else as well, although I could not claim it is a scientific fact: when they are happy at play, the boys prefer to do it with the fathers and the girls with the mothers. When they are in distress and look to cling for comfort, the reverse applies. So your preference for the sex of your child could vary depending if you are more looking for a game buddy or intimate friend.