Death, Loss, and Nightmares:
Why Photographs of Kids Are So Scary
Transcript coming soon!
Pictures hold the promise of capturing a moment in time — a promise that is especially enticing when the subjects are children, who always seem (to parents at least) to be growing up too fast. In this episode, we consider how images of children were used to capture not just happy memories of childhood moments but the very spirit of children no longer here to make new memories. We’ll move from the 1800s to the 1970s, from photo albums to fairy tales to nightmares, to think about the particular power of the photographed child.
How did portraiture and photography change how adults experienced grief over children’s deaths? Why are photographs of children particularly powerful, sad, or strange? What does photography allow us to capture about children — especially those elements of childhood that we find most unsettling?
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