Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Picturing Childhood

Picturing Childhood
Portraits from the Masters of Early Photography (1850 - 1930)
From the Wolffe Nadoolman Collection
October 10 - November 18, 2009
Castle in the Air, Berkeley

Picturing childhoodYesterday I got to this little gallery space above the Castle in the Air shop on 4th Street in Berkeley. I’m glad I made the visit just before show came down. These photographs of children come from the collection of Wolffe Nadoolman, a local pediatrician. The images have been carefully arranged in themed groups. For instance, there’s a wall of ethnographic images of native American children. This is directly across from a set of sweet turn-of-the-century pictures depicting childhood as a separate state of being. I was especially fascinated to see the Lewis Carroll photos, including 3 prints of the same image of 2 boys reading. I loved Felix Nadar’s beautiful collotype Portrait of Paul Nadar, Enfant. This mid-19th century boy has an expression that is tired, worried & entirely mature. I also had the unexpected pleasure of meeting the curator in the gallery & having a very enlightening discussion with him about the discovery, or perhaps invention, of childhood in the late 19th century.

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