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Henry's Concepts
December 26, 2013 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Henry chooses the location and the pose. Alex (his nanny) takes a photo of him and then he takes a photo of her in the same pose. Henry is two and a half. Via
posted by zarq (46 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
That must be a very forgiving camera. All the shots he took of her are crystal clear.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:42 PM on December 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


I wonder if there wasn't some pint-sized tripod or somesuch involved, which - in addition to steadiness - let a two-and-a-half-year-old consistently match the framing of the original?
posted by bicyclefish at 9:55 PM on December 26, 2013


They're not all perfect, but they are mostly charming: on the fish wall Henry has his finger over the lens; on the steps Henry's version has a lot of shake.

Looks like Henry went through a phase of "one leg crossed behind the other" poses recently.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:58 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


She has a lot of awesome shoes.

. . . Also, cute kid!
posted by Argyle_Sock_Puppet at 10:01 PM on December 26, 2013


There are a few things that make me wonder about this project's authenticity, being a parent to a similarly aged child.

1) The fact that Henry's photos are consistently better than those of most of the adults I know.

2) Henry's impeccable cleanliness and state of dress. When my daughter asks me to take her picture, you end up with this.

It's not that I don't think it's sort of real, it's just that I think it's a lot more staged than it sounds. Like, you dress the kid up and take him to a wall covered in interesting fish graffiti and say, "Henry, do yo want to pose for the camera?" And then he "chooses" a pose. I don't know, I find it hard to believe that Henry's wandering around the city dressed like a model for a boutique children's clothing store looking for interesting portrait locations, but maybe these two really are that awesome.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:07 PM on December 26, 2013 [16 favorites]


From the via link:
Alex is 2-year-old Henry's nanny. She's also a photographer. One day, at Henry's behest, the pair took photos of each other in the same pose. It turned into a project called Henry's Concepts.
So Alex probably makes sure everything is ok lighting wise and what not, then hands the camera to Henry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:14 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


He has a lot of awesome shoes.

. . . Also, cute nanny!
posted by mazola at 10:40 PM on December 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this strikes me as typical 2-year-old precociousness heavily directed by the artist-as-nanny. They're not bad, as such, and it's cute idea; but overall the effect is less extraordinary than the Photographer With An Agenda is playing it up to be. Only an actual artist would be so adroit at picking such exquisitely photogenic settings.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:40 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, Henry's got Blue Steel down to a science.
posted by brookedel at 10:56 PM on December 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


Man, there's some sort of weird club music hook here.

Henry.
Chooses the Location... Chooses the Location...

Henry.
Chooses the Pose... Chooses the Pose...

Alex takes the photo, Alex takes the photo...

Henry.

posted by Sphinx at 10:59 PM on December 26, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm a hater as much as the next guy but I'm going to let this one slide. It could be that in most cases they used a tripod and/or even a remote shutter trigger. How is the kid using a tripod any less 'authentic' than the photographer using the tripod? And so what if they stage it? Maybe it's fun for them to get dressed up and find a cool spot somewhere to take a photo, and that's something they do to entertain themselves? Maybe the kid loves Zoolander.
posted by mbatch at 11:29 PM on December 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


She seems to be a photographer, and this has gone viral.
Mission accomplished.
posted by Mezentian at 11:57 PM on December 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Being the parent of two small children and being a photographer, I understand how tedious it is to spend the whole day with a toddler and how futile simple things you took for granted can be. I can no longer even play the guitar in peace around them as my 18 month old just wants to touch the strings all the time. Finding an activity that passes the timer together, outside, is golden for a nanny. If it produces something even slightly interesting it's a bonus. If it teaches the 2.5 year old something about art or photography, even better. If you yourself can find enjoyment in the outlet, it's a goddamn miracle.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:02 AM on December 27, 2013 [44 favorites]


More like: I was merrily entertained and they also seemed to have fun. Mission accomplished.
posted by KMB at 12:04 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


loving the boots...
posted by greenhornet at 1:26 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am not often accused of being insufficiently cynical, but are you skeptics really unaware that the pictures that do not make the grade just do not appear on the web page? Honestly, the ratio of lousy pictures to good ones might be 50 to 1. She is not going to show the poorly framed ones, or the poorly posed ones, or anything else.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:35 AM on December 27, 2013 [25 favorites]


Especially in an age of digital SLRs when you can instantly flip between the two pictures and do a dozen retakes on the spot until you get it right.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:38 AM on December 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now, get the dog to do the same poses. Then we'd really have something!

Also, this isn't the greatest photography project since Man Ray. but it's fun and charming and nicely executed, so I'm OK with it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:40 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


drole at best
posted by ouke at 3:28 AM on December 27, 2013


It's very charming. It's also interesting that she found so many murals and that almost every house but one has graffiti on it.
posted by gt2 at 4:29 AM on December 27, 2013


Man, Henry's got Blue Steel down to a science.
posted by brookedel

That's Magnum, you idiot! Can't you tell the difference? Jeez.
posted by The Deej at 5:35 AM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ahhh. Toronto not encrusted in ice.

There's a bit more info on the locales here.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:12 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


you know, this quote from bonobothegreat's link :
I used to tell him where to stand and everything at first, and then one day about two months ago we were at the park, and he just lay over this dump truck and said, ‘Hey Alex! Take a picture of me like this.’

perfectly matches up with some kids i knew at the mall portrait studios i managed for over a decade - i had regulars who came in every month and there were definitely kids (and ones around henry's age) who would want to run the whole session and it would pretty much always go like that quote "take a picture of me like this!" i don't really find it absurd that the nanny/photographer would take pictures while she was watching him and that it would morph into him telling her what to shoot.
posted by nadawi at 6:46 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cute.

And yeah, between judicious editing, coaching ("take a bunch of pictures Henry"), and a modern digital camera in broad daylight there's no surprise to me that Henry's pictures are more or less framed and in focus.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:57 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had no idea Toronto had so much graffiti.
posted by Houstonian at 6:57 AM on December 27, 2013


There are a few things that make me wonder about this project's authenticity, being a parent to a similarly aged child.

My mother used to allow me to take pictures with her very expensive camera when I was two and none of my pictures turned out like that even with a tripod.

The two year old brain is not developed to understand certain things nor does he have the experience to gain certain insights. Camera or tablet, it still takes a certain dexterity to handle equipment while positioning yourself to take a picture.

I'll file this under "somewhat creative way to get a modicum of attention for yourself on a flooded medium such as the Internet."

I had no idea Toronto had so much graffiti.

Oh, it does...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:00 AM on December 27, 2013


Eh, I had a Sony six or seven years ago that I let my nieces and nephew use. It was always interesting to see the angles of the shots, but they did great with the framing, no shake issues, etc. My kids weren't much older,
posted by cjorgensen at 7:01 AM on December 27, 2013


Is there nothing Metafilter can't find it in their hearts to hate?
posted by Orb at 7:17 AM on December 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


I don't even like children and I find this interesting.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:38 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


she might have a remote for it, which would explain the general lack of shake - so she sets up the shot for henry, takes it, and then goes and stands in that same spot while he hits the button on the remote. i had a bunch of customers make photo books of pictures their toddlers had taken - "see the world from timmy's eyes", etc - and they ranged from unrecognizable to really cool.
posted by nadawi at 7:54 AM on December 27, 2013


This is really cute.

Before looking at them I was super skeptical, but quite a few are out of focus, or not really framed well, or the horizon's not level, etc.
posted by Fig at 7:59 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I find it hard to believe that Henry's wandering around the city dressed like a model for a boutique children's clothing store looking for interesting portrait locations, but maybe these two really are that awesome.

The parents are fairly well heeled I imagine. We also have a nanny, and they aren't cheap. We pay ours $15/hr and wish we could pay her more, and that's almost half of a paycheque for one of us. She's not dressing like that nanny.

I alluded to it above, but being a nanny is fucking hard work. It pays fairly poorly for what you must do. Whoever faults someone for trying to promote their second photography job in order to clear the poverty level is clueless. Seriously.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:03 AM on December 27, 2013 [13 favorites]


yeah, I'm not getting the dismissiveness around this project. I think she's sincere in her telling of how the pictures came to be - read bonobothegreat's link for even more detail. She's also just using an iphone, which is incredibly forgiving for lousy photographers like me. Ultimately, she's not some corporation aiming for a viral youtube hit with a stealth ad in the background - she's a photographer/artist who loves what she does and is having fun.
posted by gorbichov at 8:09 AM on December 27, 2013


Is there nothing Metafilter can't find it in their hearts to hate?

Skepticism is the first sign of hatred. Before you know it, critical thinking takes over and the forces of evil win. Better to prove your kindness and morality by buying every cock and bull story you hear than take a risk to ask a question and find the truth...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:08 AM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


or you know, just pass shit by that doesn't matter where your skepticism brings absolutely nothing to pictures of a kid and his nanny.
posted by nadawi at 9:09 AM on December 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


We just spent five days with my sister-in-law, who converted a couple years ago from agnostic to full blown evangelical atheist/skepticism. Mrs Ber and I are not exactly fond of mainstream religion but sheesh, every conversation this week degenerated into her drool-speckled rantings about religion and critical thinking. On Christmas Eve, when the broadcast from the Vatican came on TV my wife cranked it up to Led Zeppelin volume just to piss the bitch off. Which it did.

I've had enough skepticism and I embrace the nanny and toddler with every fiber of my being.
posted by Ber at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well-off urbanites on the East Coast dress their kids like this every day--especially if they have household help.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:37 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to see a video of Alex and Henry walking around, choosing backgrounds, positions and shots, with as little editing as possible. It would be interesting to see what, if any other spots Henry choose and whether Alex decided to leave some on the cutting room floor and so on.

Also, I wonder how long it takes them to the shoots. Does this go on for hours or does Henry need a nap 'cause he gets cranky or something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2013


I want to be a nanny. Nannies have great clothes and perfect bodies. WPOTGIS?
posted by janey47 at 1:07 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


2 year old boy learns he can get pretty blondes to do whatever he wants as long as he's a photographer.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:56 PM on December 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


My mother used to allow me to take pictures with her very expensive camera when I was two and none of my pictures turned out like that even with a tripod.

a toddler taking a photo with an iPhone is nothing like a toddler taking photos with a film camera, tripod or no. Start with an enormous viewfinder, add auto focus, and a big fat button on a toddler friendly, grippable computer and you actually can get very small kids to take a decent photo.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:52 PM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "That must be a very forgiving camera. All the shots he took of her are crystal clear."

They're not, actually.
posted by desuetude at 5:12 PM on December 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, I suspect that a beginner can learn faster on a digital camera, where you can instantly see the results and adjust accordingly. As opposed to taking pictures on a film camera, where it takes days later to see the results, by which time you forgot how and why mistakes were made.
posted by applesurf at 5:31 PM on December 27, 2013


That and he has a photographer whom he spends most of the day with, so questions can be asked at pretty much any time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:42 PM on December 27, 2013


I am sure she's not just taking photos of a toddler and sticking them up on the net without his parents' permission. There's obviously more of a story here than just "Oh, here are some photos I took with the kid I'm looking after, isn't he adorable."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:20 AM on December 28, 2013


It looks like this kid is really used to posing in front of a camera. From another section of the same website -- just look at that second photo! It's cute and I feel sorry for him at the same time. Hope there are lots of days when he's allowed to just be a child.
posted by Houstonian at 7:43 AM on December 28, 2013


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