Papapetrou & Lewis
February 10, 2005 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Melbourne artist Polixeni Papapetrou takes photographs of her daughter that are inspired by Lewis Carroll. For the same reasons. [Links SFW but be careful clicking around]
posted by tellurian (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yeah, I'd stick with the FPP links and leave any roaming til you get home. Particularly the "view photography..." link off of the third link. Many NSFW images there.

And also, I did a Van Gogh drawing in oil pastels when I was 8. FPP forthcoming. I kid.
posted by santiagogo at 9:33 PM on February 10, 2005

Wow, and people buy this shit? So I could go recreate some Walker Evans pictures and go to town?

Seriously, though: What is the fucking artistic merit in recreating someone else's work?
posted by keswick at 9:48 PM on February 10, 2005

Man. Uninspired and exploitative.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:52 PM on February 10, 2005

keswick: Wow, and people buy this shit? So I could go recreate some Walker Evans pictures and go to town?

Seriously, though: What is the fucking artistic merit in recreating someone else's work?

Same reason why folx think that by using profanity others will actually not dare to disagree with them, cause some fools Buy into it...

Just saying,,,,,
posted by Elim at 10:01 PM on February 10, 2005

Well it's hardly Irina Ionesco and Eva - but in that case the photos were released twenty years later, and with the consent of all parties.

And they didn't suck like these.

Someone should really tell Polixeni to keep her daughter's dressup sessions at home.
posted by soi-disant at 10:03 PM on February 10, 2005

shit, elim... that was a fucking helpful answer. thanks.
posted by keswick at 10:25 PM on February 10, 2005

Ok the photo posts are a good reason to keep checking in with MeFi, but this one is just odd, so why?

Because the premise is that of a child playing dressup but actually it's an adult dressing a child up in a way they somehow awkwardly imagine a child imagines they would ...

Well anyway the kid dosn't exactly look 'into it' at all... Just looks like a kid stuffed into a outfit and told to sit still. For this to work it would really have to look like the child's idea? Maybe if she were allowed to smile a little?

And I guess also the context. Sort of a weird photo site to have a child model on. I love the Maynard photo but the rest seem to be well, just odd for the sake of it.
posted by scheptech at 10:37 PM on February 10, 2005

The backdrops are horrid. If there is any artistic justice, Sir John Tenniel will rise from his grave and avenge his work.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:40 AM on February 11, 2005

I found the photos challenging (something I appreciate in art). The lecture was very interesting, particularly in the suggestion of the role photography plays in the symbolic representation of childhood. Recreating Carroll's pictures brilliant: when we see the originals, those children are both chronologically and socially Others (since we're not upper class Victorians, eh?). But the point of Carroll's pictures was to challenge gender, race, and class ideas by using the Self to represent the Other. Papaetrou challenges us to look at the pictures again from the position of Self (assuming that we are middle class and Western, which I am). But there is the added dimension of challenging modern representations of childhood helplessness and innocence.

It took me a day to decide if I liked them, but in the end I do. Thanks tellurian.
posted by carmen at 7:07 AM on February 11, 2005

Despite what it says in the essay about Papapetrou exploring her daughter's expression of herself and her femininity ("Olympia’s psychological and physical individuality"), I think what reads in these photos -- and, unlike scheptech, I think this is what makes them interesting -- is the power relation between the mother-photographer and the daughter-subject.

The question the pictures raise is: how much does the child understand what exactly she's participating in?

And it's not that we need a real-life answer to that question at all, but it is that issue, I think, that tints all these photos with an air of child-pornography. The pictures suggest that the subject has been told to position herself a certain way -- and while we know why, she herself may not. That the why here is about citing art-historical reference (instead of first and foremost performing sexuality) is what makes this a "safe" version of a child-pornography structure.

...which is interesting. Good post.
posted by nobody at 8:50 AM on February 11, 2005

Though they're much rawer (and also remind me of the famous B/W Depression portraits mentioned), the photographs of her children, particularly her daughter Jesse, taken by Sally Mann have always reminded me a great deal of Carroll's photographs.
posted by melixxa600 at 9:06 AM on February 11, 2005

Sorry keswick, Sherrie Levine beat you to it.
posted by Marit at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2005

melixxa600, wow! thanks.

I think we should be careful about ascribing too much importance to the power dynamic between mother and children (in these cases). Obviously there's one there, but as the child of an artist I find it entirely plausible that the children both want to be a subject of the art and are actively involved in the choice of subject matter and design. A child in an artist's household is emersed not just in the product but also in the process, and we should credit them with a certain understanding of that.
posted by carmen at 9:34 AM on February 11, 2005

marit: dear god.
posted by keswick at 9:45 AM on February 11, 2005

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