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A Child from Every Nation
June 11, 2007 3:31 PM   Subscribe

NYChildren -- Photographer Danny Goldfield seeks to photograph one child from every country on Earth [YouTube]. Each child must live in New York City [.wmv]. Children from 148 countries have been photographed. The search for the remaining 46 continues.
posted by ericb (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
NPR interview: Photographer Finds World View in NYC Children.
posted by ericb at 3:42 PM on June 11, 2007


He'll find the rest. : >
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2007


Terrific post. Thanks.
posted by dobbs at 3:46 PM on June 11, 2007


The child from "Vatican City" may be difficult to find.
posted by ColdChef at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The child from 'Vatican City' may be difficult to find."

Look for a star in the east.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:53 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jared Diamond has said that the single worst mistake mankind ever made was going from hunter-gatherer culture to agicultural one: this overabundance of people throughout the world might be a good example, as seen in miniature by this collection, appealing as it is. Even a grouch like me adores children. But then, the very young of just about every pecies (except ant eathers) is appealing.
posted by Postroad at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2007


oh! i have a St. Kitts kid for him, i think. Pacific Islanders must be the hardest group to find, i bet.


he should have the opening and gathering at Grand Central.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2007


he should go to UNIS and ask around, and to the UN itself. (or is that cheating?)
posted by amberglow at 3:56 PM on June 11, 2007


By his criteria, it should be possible to get children from Yugoslavia or East Germany. I wonder if he's going to try to find the children of ex-countries too.
posted by GuyZero at 4:14 PM on June 11, 2007


Similar thing happening in London, only they're less discriminating over age.
posted by muthecow at 4:21 PM on June 11, 2007


I wonder if the Western Sahara supporters will try to get him to photograph a Saharawi child.

Great post, I can't wait to see all the pics.
posted by Liosliath at 4:51 PM on June 11, 2007


This may start a derail; if it does, I apologize...

Jared Diamond has said that the single worst mistake mankind ever made was...

No offense, but I find Jared Diamond's writing to be simplistic, deterministic, and, like most writing about anthropology, subtly racist...

And it's hard to figure out how he factors into this thread in the first place.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:54 PM on June 11, 2007


KokuRyu
I find Jared Diamond's writing to be simplistic, deterministic, and, like most writing about anthropology, subtly racist...
Can you elaborate on the "subtly racist" part? I found GG&S to be a strong antidote to implicit racism.
posted by Flunkie at 5:03 PM on June 11, 2007


The easiest one on there that is left is probably a Lao child. I think I saw one yesterday.
posted by Falconetti at 5:40 PM on June 11, 2007


Is there any link to search by country? (grumbling about artsy Flash-heavy pages)
posted by rolypolyman at 5:42 PM on June 11, 2007


I too find the flash site extremely annoying.

Also, not being American, all I really want to do is look up the child from my country. But the photo isn't there (it isn't on the list, so I assume it's been taken, and seriously, how hard is it to find a Canadian kid in New York? I'm sure they're a dime a dozen).
posted by jb at 6:29 PM on June 11, 2007


GG&S was actually written as a direct rebuttal of explicitly racist theories of development. His project was conceived as an anti-racist one.
posted by jb at 6:31 PM on June 11, 2007


I think it would be unfortunate if he photographed an Israeli kid, but not a Palestinian.

KokuRyu: you call that a derail?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:34 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jared Diamond has said that the single worst mistake mankind ever made was going from hunter-gatherer culture to agicultural one:

Well it depends on what you mean by "mankind", after all doesn't it? It may have been problematic for particular individuals, but in terms of overall human biomass it's been great. You can pick goals arbitrarily and say X is better for Y but who's to say that Y is ultimately the best thing? I certainly prefer the current setup to a huntin' and a gatherin'

It's also much better for women, many of whom died during childbirth. And let's not forget the pain families endured losing children, which happened a lot back then.

In any event, total derail.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 PM on June 11, 2007


You can pick goals arbitrarily and say X is better for Y but who's to say that Y is ultimately the best thing? I certainly prefer the current setup to a huntin' and a gatherin'

I'm not sure whether this was in Diamond, but it's interesting to note that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was apparently far less labour-intensive than the agricultural model. People seem to have this notion that hunter-gatherers lived on the barest subsistence, never more than an unlucky hunting trip from certain starvation.

The reality is apparently that hunter-gatherers can feed themselves on around 4 hours of work per day. Even less, if they have a few domestic animals, like pigs & chickens, for food.

In contrast, agriculturalists were suddenly faced with the problem of safeguarding their harvest from raiders, and also became vulnerable to poor harvests, drought & pests. This required more stockpiling, increasing the raider threat further, necessitating the building of permanent settlements & fortifications, and giving rise to parasitical classes like priests & nobles. In some ways, going for a bit of a hunt in the morning and then chewing the fat under a tree by a river for hours on end sounds quite idyllic.

/massive oversimplification
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on June 11, 2007


Nice photos, but the theme is a bit tired. Yes, NYC has people from all over the world, and yes, America is still obsessed by geneology. I'm 1/3 this, I'm 1/2 that or I'm this other thing altogether. Which poses the question: Are these children actually from the countries they say they are or were they born in America? I'm guessing they were the latter.
posted by dydecker at 12:18 AM on June 12, 2007


I looked at the criteria: Alternative 2: "The child was born here but both parents are from the same other country." So the question is are they "from" that country in an meaningful sense at all anymore?
posted by dydecker at 12:27 AM on June 12, 2007


dydecker - I was thinking the same thing. If they were born in the US, or even if most of their memories are from the US, they are/will be essentially American in their culture. They may have cultural ties to their parents' country, but the American culture is formost. (Based on the experiences of my friends, at least.)

But I guess the point of the project is itself American-focused, or rather, New York focused. It's to highlight how many New Yorkers come from other countries.

I wonder if you could sucessfully do this in Toronto? Canada actually has more immigrants (that is, people born outside of Canada, whatever their currrent immigration statud) as a percentage of the population than the US or the UK -- Austrialia has even more. But will the diversity be as great as in such large cities as London or New York? Perhaps, I don't know.
posted by jb at 3:24 AM on June 12, 2007


On Diamond derail - hunters and gatherers had/have better overall health than most agriculturalists had/have, so women were probably less likely to die in childbirth in a h&g society than any agricultural until the twentieth century. In fact, many diseases are themselves born out of crowded conditions and close contact with domestic animals, so altogether "civilized" life was, until recently, much less healthy than uncivilized (think about cholera in London in the 19th century, and the fact that London had a much higher infant mortality rate than poorer people in the country into the twentieth century). Our medical breakthroughs of the last century are really just trying to fix all the damage to our health from our agricultural revolution.

Diamond's main point is a bit of a through away one - he just wanted to highlight all of the recent research which shows that the h&g lifestyle/economy led to less work and better health, and that the switch to agriculture was probably driven by necessity and crowding than by the greater rewards to the individual farmer. H&G takes a lot of land for each person, so agriculture offers advantages to a society (as Diamond spends most of the book talking about), but it really sucked for the actual farmers (which is why the powerful never did farm).

posted by jb at 3:34 AM on June 12, 2007


Which poses the question: Are these children actually from the countries they say they are or were they born in America? I'm guessing they were the latter.

Whether they're born elsewhere or here to immigrant parents, new 1st-generation NYers are always connected to a home country--many times because they act as go-betweens between their parents and the offical system (translating everything, having to go with them everywhere, being the ones who actually negotiate all the procedures and people and schools, etc), and many times because their lives are overwhlemingly impacted by the push/pull of being here, and the giant differences between what the parents want, and how they operate, and how NY is--in rearing, in values, in priorities, in customs, etc. Many of these kids will grow up to rebel against it all, and be kinda "ultra-American" as a result, they've found.
posted by amberglow at 7:08 AM on June 12, 2007


I wonder if you could sucessfully do this in Toronto?

Toronto may have proportionally more immigrants, but New York and the sourrpounding counties have a population of something like 2 to 2.5 times the GTA, so in absolute terms there's a lot more people in New York.

Also, the presence of the United Nations kids of skews things for New York city. Toronto is pretty provincial compared to that.
posted by GuyZero at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2007


Trinidad & Tobago | Malik | Brooklyn
Czech Republic | Lola | Brooklyn
Fiji | Chris | Bronx
Nicaragua | Yelyi | Manhattan
Gambia | Fatou | Bronx
Afghanistan | Waseem | Manhattan
Ghana | Kenneth | Bronx
Japan | Azusa | Manhattan
Panama | Alexander | Brooklyn
Jamaica | Tatiana | Queens
Nigeria | Eseosa | Queens
Ecuador | Jenny & Daisy | Queens
Spain | Celia | Manhattan
Guyana | Emily Ali & Andrew| Manhattan
Syria | Mohammed | Manhattan
Romania | James | Brooklyn
Peru | Mara | Manhattan
Uruguay | Maria | Brooklyn
Iraq | Basim | Brooklyn
Iran | Kourosh | Manhattan
posted by quiet at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2007


I wonder if he'll ever get Tuvalu... NPR had an interview with their ambassador this morning and made it sound like him and his wife are the only ones from there who live in NYC.
posted by daHIFI at 9:51 AM on June 12, 2007


Thanks, quiet - now I've found the Moroccan child.
posted by Liosliath at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2007


Thanks, quiet - now I've found the Moroccan child.
posted by Liosliath at 2:57 PM on June 12, 2007


I wonder if he'll ever get Tuvalu

I expect the Tuvalese are all jetting around the world in private, gold-plated jumbos.

After all, they're the oil sheikhs of the 21st Century, with ownership of one of our most valued commodities: the .tv domain name.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 PM on June 12, 2007


the St. Kitts kid i know isn't eligible, but i have my friend (the mom) on the case, spreading the word around. We're both really surprised there isn't a Bahamian kid there yet--there are tons here.
posted by amberglow at 9:03 PM on June 14, 2007


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