the innocence project

A while back, after another mass shooting left me with a desperate need to find the goodness in the world, I started a project. In hopes of bringing our scattered focus back to our children, I gave disposable cameras to five kids, ages 4 & 5, each from different backgrounds with different lifestyles. Their only instruction was to photograph what they found special.

The rolls of film came back with simple scenes from the world around them: their favorite books, their homes, their moms and dads and sisters and brothers, their shadows and reflections, the sky. So many images of the sky. Their perspectives were objective and unconditional and so refreshing.

I intended to build on this project a bit more before sharing but today, of all days, I want to use these images to remind you that our kids are relying on us. Today our country will make a decision, and regardless of the outcome, we will still live together in this country tomorrow. We are raising the next generation side by side, and they are watching us. The way we treat each other constantly shapes their perspective. If for no other reason but the sake of our kids, be kind to each other. Show respect. Have compassion.

Their generation knows nothing yet of war or hate-fueled violence. They are blissfully ignorant of skin color, sexual orientation, differences of opinion. They seek relationships and human connection. They find pleasure in simplicities. They experience life tangibly and with open minds, free from judgment or preconception. These are the traits that can fix this world, and it is our most fundamental responsibility to nourish them so that the next generation can find peace where ours could not. Do so with kindness.

I’ll eventually continue this project with more cameras and more kids, around ages 4-8. If you’d like to be a part of it, contact me here or email me at so that I can include your little one in the next round.

Hailey Ayson2 Comments