Every time four-year-old photographer Hawkeye Huey takes a shot on his Fuji Instax 210 camera, he flaps the photo back and forth as if he's developing an old-school polaroid.
His dad, National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey, knows the move is unnecessary, but playfully told his son to do it the very first time he shot. Hawkeye now does it religiously, right before he hands the photo over to his subject to see. Hawkeye, it turns out, isn't just a natural; he's also a good student.
Huey recently turned his son onto photography while on a road trip together as a way to connect as father and son. When Huey posted an image on his Instagram account of Hawkeye wearing goggles in a sandstorm and looking off into the distance for something to shoot, many people wanted to see Hawkeye's work.
“I didn't want to fill my account with those photos," Huey told HuffPost, "so I started a new one to show his.” Hawkeye’s Instagram account now has more than 36,000 followers.
Huey doesn't take Hawkeye on assignment with him, but he comes up with assignments that are just for Hawkeye. Once, Huey took him to a squatters camp in southern California called Slab City, a rugged place where “circus kids, vagabonds, travelers of all kinds” live off the grid. Some park their RVs for a weekend, others camp in the desert throughout the year.
“It was great for Hawkeye to meet these people and see another way of living,” Huey said.
Hawkeye, a “social little dude,” has taken naturally to his dad’s art medium, but Huey says he doesn’t care if Hawkeye chases a career in photography.
“I just hope he keeps making and evolving," Huey says, "no matter what the medium."
For Huey, spending the money on real film for Hawkeye is important since "it turns each photo into a genuine interaction, into a conversation. Everyone is smiling when Hawkeye walks away.”
Hawkeye's mother is also reportedly happy with the hobby. About his wife, Kristin Moore-Huey, Huey says, "She is happy that we are filling his life with creative experiments and that we are doing it together."
If his parents' sense of adventure is any indication -- the two were married atop a Russian tank in Kabul -- the world can expect great things from Hawkeye.
Keep up with Hawkeye's upcoming road trip across the American west with @hawkeyehuey. They'll begin posting images on November 19.