Human Camera Activity

Young students doing Human Camera

Name of Activity:  Human Camera

Original Game Source:  Karl Rohnke, Silver Bullets

Additional Published Source:  Facilitated Growth:  Experiential Activities for Recovery and Wellness by Michelle Cummings, Marc Pimsler and Diane Sherman

Group size:  6 – 30

Purpose:  To learn how to trust others.  To experience three specific visual experiences to debrief.

Activity Trust level: High Risk

Props Needed:  None

Activity Preparation:  Group needs wide open space with no tripping hazards. Have the group partner up.

Time needed:  Total time 35 min.

  • Directions: 5 min.
  • Activity: 15 min.
  • Debrief: 15 min.


  • Physical – Remove any tripping hazards from the activity area.

Activity Directions:

  • Have the participants stand in a circle. Include yourself in the circle.
  • Instruct the group to find a partner and stand next to them.
  • After having made appropriate comments about how a camera is like a human eye, ask the pairs to determine who will be the camera first and who will be the photographer first. The roles will switch after some pictures are taken.
  • The “photographer” will ask the “camera” to close his/her eyes, and then lead them to a spot where there is an interesting object that you would like to record on retinal film. Using the human camera body as an infinitely mobile tripod, set up your partner’s head (the camera) in such a way that his/her closed eyes are directly in front of the chosen object.  Say ‘Click’ to activate the shutter.  At this encouragement, the “camera” opens and closes the eye lids (shutter) for about 3 seconds in order to record the scene.  Take three pictures before switching roles.  After each person has had a chance to be in both roles rejoin the group to discuss the experience and the pictures that were taken.
  • This activity is not only a shared experience of high quality, but also a trust sequence that leads to good feelings and a useful pairs’ rapport. Be sure to talk about trust and personal boundaries before beginning.  You may also ask for the ‘cameras’ to walk with their ‘bumpers up’ (hands out in front of them) while they are walking with their eyes closed.

Facilitator script:  “Let’s form a circle to hear the directions for our first game.  I need everyone to find a partner and stand next to them.  (Pause until everyone has a partner.)  In this game, one of you is going to be the photographer and the other person is going to be the camera.  Don’t worry, we will switch roles half way through so you will get to be both parts.  Decide who will be the photographer first.  (Pause so the pairs can decide.)  OK, if you are the camera you are going to close your eyes.  The photographer will safely and verbally lead their camera to an interesting area or object.  Once there, the photographer will say ‘Click!’.  When the person in the camera role hears this, they will open their eyes for 3 seconds and look at what is in front of them.  Then they will close their eyes again.  The photographer will then safely lead them to a different object or area and say ‘Click!’ again.  The camera will open their eyes again and mentally record what they see.  Then they will close their eyes again.  The photographer will then safely lead them to one more object or area and take one more picture.  Then we will stop and debrief what happened before we switch roles.  Photographers, it is very important that you be trustworthy and keep your Cameras safe.  Be caring and supportive of your camera.  Cameras, please put your hands out in front of you like this.  (demonstrate this.)  We will call these your bumpers, so you don’t bump into anything.  You may hear me say, “Bumpers up!” during the game.  This is just to help make sure that everyone stays safe.  Are there any questions?”

Debriefing Topics:

  • What was it like to be a photographer?
  • What was it like to be the camera?
  • Did your photographer keep you safe?
  • What were some of the pictures that were taken?
  • What were some feelings that came up for you?
  • Why is it important to build trust between partners?
  • How are the three pictures you mentally recorded like a snapshot of your ___________? (insert topic here.  Could be leadership, recovery, relationships, etc)
  • How does this relate to real life?
  • What is one take away you will remember from this experience?