I wanted to juxtapose Sturges images took of adolescents and images children made themselves.
Jock Sturges photographs turn adolescents into objects of beauty and sensuality. He describes his fantasies of, lets say, paradise.
In Wendy Ewalds projects children cross the lines from being seen as objects of male fantasies into subjects who start to act and to express themselves.
Beauty, that’s more than the beautiful form.
In photography, the photographer is always acting subject and the photographed passive object.
There are objects of desire, of rejection, and objects of sympathy.
Sympathy arises when we believe to comprehend something about the portrayed.
Sympathy arises when we believe to recognize something concerning our lives.
The photographer is telling himself something.
He is telling us something.
We, the spectators,
we are talking to ourselves.
Boris Mikhailovs book “Case History” (1999) is just outstanding. It is one of the best ones I have seen since I am occupied with photography.
Boris Mikhailov is hurting so called good taste. He is hurting the rules of professional photography. His photography is pure trash. Lousy technique is his trademark.
He represents the opposite of all those clean, technically perfect, static photographs, which seem to be en vogue today by all those well-educated artist photographers in the States.
In “Case History” he assembles couples of photographs, thereby creating new, never seen before image-spaces.
His photography is raw, is idiosyncratic, and full of compassion.
But more of that some other time.
Boris Mikhailov, Case History (1999)
This girl, she could be a girl, she appears to be aggressive and vulnerable at the same time.
It is nighttime; she would be sleeping by now if she had a home.
She smokes; she sniffs glue out of a pink paper-bag.
She wouldn’t be doing that if somebody would care for her.
She is a street urchin.
She is lost.
The redness of her eyes (bad technique, I know),
the redness of her lips,
something red on the edge of the frame.
Variations of red: the rubber boots,
the bag for sniffing glue.
A yellow ribbon is lying on the ground.
Greenish grey the rest of the image.
Her skin is pale and vulnerable.
She is bare footed; her feet are not going to hurt you.
Bare teeth, they are not going to bite you.
She won’t hurt anybody but herself.
This image has found it’s own, unorthodox form.
Lewis Hine, “Late at night. Street boys. “Jest hanging around.”
Location: Boston, Massachusetts.” 1909 October.
An inconspicuous, almost formless image by Lewis Hine.
A stairway to a home they don’t posses, on the right a liqueur shop.
They are grouped two to one.
One of Two is turning with his body towards Three.
Three looks at Two. The heads of One and Two turn towards the photographer in consonance.
Children without homes like little cuddly bears.
They seem to belong together, yes they could, a little consolation.
Here in these images, headstrong and rough beauty pair with some concern in the fate of the other.
Mikhailov describes the situation of a run down, underprivileged class in the Wild East,
a class forgotten by bureaucracy and by those in power.
Humans are lying on the streets, pedestrians going by.
Lewis Hine (1874-1940), a sociologist who turned to photography,
has prompted, or at least gave an important impulse to U.S legislation to pass laws against child exploitation.