Kiddies, you’ve got to love them, or do you? The fact that modern society generally keeps us away from children, (at least until we’ve worked up enough vanity to decide that to have children of our own is a good idea), is no accident. Weaned on a diet of idealised images of children it dawns on us all too late that real children are flowing with snot and covered in scabs, and moreover that those enlightened parenting concepts that we half formed during their gestation have proved ineffective, despite not being regularly flogged, they’ve developed the same awkwardness and grizzling anxiety we displayed at their age.
Therefore (as with most things in life), one could do a lot worse than to contemplate the vintage. Those early photographers did not possess the artistry to concoct an idealised image of a child. Their photographs seem more naturalistic and full of eerie pathos.
One can easily imagine the poor kid being told to sit in the uncomfortable oversized chair and keep still as the grave photographer went about the complex alchemy that constituted photography in those days.
Sadly by the 1920’s the staged stomach churning sweetness we are all familiar with was well established