The Freshness of the Deep Springs of Life


Capturing youth and youthhood

Photography of children often gets a bad rap in the art world. Most tend to think of the staged, studio images of smiling siblings hung in family living rooms that have little artistic merit beyond the familial connection they fosters. A lovely document for the parents, but little more. This type of photography is of course entirely valid, but completely different to the work that is supposed to connect on a wider emotional level, and with a broader audience. Children, with their innocence and lack of self-consciousness, and adolescents in a state of transition between childhood and adulthood, can make for remarkable subjects.

This list explores a few of my favourite photographers who work with children. It spans fine art to reportage – elaborately staged to free and impulsive. Most are women (I could’ve added Amy Stein, Jill Greenberg, Lauren Greenfield and many others too) and I wander what that says about the maternal connection between woman and child.

I hope you find a wealth of inspiration, and a few surprises among these names.

(Banner image © Linelle Deunk)

Mary Ellen Mark (United States)