My father, William D. McLean, was an avid amateur photographer. So, photography featured prominently in my childhood. Not surprisingly, when I began to work creatively in college, I found ways to integrate camera-based technics into my general artistic practices. At first I used the camera to document travel, to improve my focal apparatus in seeing, as a compositional instructor, specifically with regards rectangular framing, for painting studies and so on. Eventually, encouraged by peers and professional assessments, I began to present photographs in 4D exhibition contexts, in a diversity of formats and applications, both analog and digital. I applied photographic elements to moving image processes, including animation and video for web, monitors and projections. The digital animation below - a portrait of Art Guerra containingimpressions of his studio and art - was built entirely from a photo series shot during a 2010 Bushwick Open Studios tour, and is an example of how my photographs can translate to complex 4D-AV content. Over a period of decades, my integrative approach to photography has evolved into its own dimensional concentration. I have concurrently developed a range of theories and theses to accompany my practical photo-based imaging methods. This photo set from my Flickr archives [Fotolog Uploads (2003-4)] provides a nice introduction to my various photographic interests and usages through the mid 00s. The in-phone camera technology obviously appeared later, as did my digital phone-cam production.
Photography is such a massive phenomenon. Suffice to say it has had a profound impact on my art. I wouldn't try to apply compartmentalizing recursion to photography - field, medium or craft. Photography for me is familial, the camera itself a collaborator, as long as I have been conscious, and before that possibly.
As for photography/children: the matter is complicated, I would think in the education angle. "Class Pictures" are one thing. Integrating cameras into the classroom is complicated by the ambient issues attaching to photography historically. These include permissions, usages and purposes, broadly speaking. Clearly, photos have applications beyond aesthetics, e.g.: identification, production, exploitation, and in both the metaphysical and economic senses, extraction. Central concerns revolve around privacy and property, but also complicity or reciprocity between photographer and subject. At the very least, introducing photography to the classroom could serve as a conversation-starter along these lines involving all the stakeholders. Because the camera is a powerful, far-reaching industrial machine, the discourse should eventually veer into the analyses of reproduction, representation, veracity, motivation, media, image, personhood, and so on. To not engage in these conversations a priori integrating cameras into educational processes creates an invisible problem. The camera in one of its aspects is not just a tool for chronicling history. It is a tool for creating history (truthful and/or not). By now one might assume we would be cautious with the camera, as such. There is plenty of evidence of what the photo is capable.