It takes some people their whole lives to figure out what they’re good at, but that’s definitely not the case with 5-year-old Hawkeye Huey.
The young boy’s father is Aaron Huey, a National Geographic photographer. In 2014, he began to travel America’s West Coast and decided to make this experience even more amazing by bringing his son along for the ride. The father-son duo started out in Seattle and made their way to southern California’s Salton Sea. Along the way, Aaron gave Hawkeye his very own Fuji Instax instant camera – so that he could be just like his dad.
“I didn’t want to see a four-year-old learn about making photographs by holding his finger on the touchscreen of an iPhone until the device was filled with hundreds of photos of nothing,” the artistic father told Business Insider, while discussing how important this gift was to him. “I wanted to find a way to slow down the process.”
While they were shooting the Salton Sea, Huey posted an Instagram photo displaying his son and his brand new camera. Curious followers asked to see the boy’s photos, which is when National Geographic suggested that Aaron create a separate account for Hawkeye. It turns out that this was a really great idea because now the 5-year-old has 175,000 followers of his own.
When asked about what makes his son’s work special, Huey tells Business Insider, “One of the most obvious things about [his photos] is that they are from three-feet off the ground. It’s an angle no one ever sees.”
And did we mention that Hawkeye is now being represented by National Geographic?! They love his photographs and also help to manage the plethora of publishing requests that come his way. Above all, this makes the young boy National Geographic’s youngest photographer. (Rolling Stone also added him to their Top 100 on Instagram list.)
Hawkeye (and his dad) also Kickstarted a photo book called Cowboys, Indians, Hobos, Gamblers, Patriots, Tourists and Sunsets, which was fully funded as of five days ago. The eight-word name comes from a list of categories the father and son came up with together, while the main inspiration behind the book comes from a desire to give viewers something they can actually hold in their hands.
Despite all of his success, at the end of the day, Aaron still wants his son to feel a sense of normalcy. “We really want to limit his awareness of this ‘fame’ because he’s really just a regular kindergartener,” said the artist. “We want him to be able to focus on school and not really ever have an awareness of what it means to have over 100,000 ‘followers.’ Thus far we have been successful. It’s still just something we do together for fun.”
Still, Hawkeye can’t help but captivate his audience. As one Instagram follower explained, the 5-year-old’s work feels distinctly child-like, and that’s part of what makes it so compelling. “What makes @hawkeyehuey ‘s photos truly amazing is the perspective he generates, of how a child looks and sees the world,” writes commenter @istapegio. “Full of wonders, curiosity and amazement!”
We couldn’t agree more.
(Image via Instagram/Aaron Huey)