Man and Boy

This image is a good example of how some art is transformed by the knowedge we bring to it.  Although, I guess all things are retardedboy.jpgtransformed by the knowedge we bring to them.  Sometimes this enhances our apppreciation, sometimes it deadens experience e.g. we often “stop seing” the things around us because they have become too familiar, we come to imagine them to be what they are not – most people, for example, when asked to draw a tree, will paint the trunk brown, despite this only sometimes being the reality. 

In this photograph, however, what we know changes our view of the photograph in a powerful way.  It is, on the face of it, a picture of a man and a boy and, as such, we bring to it certain aesthetic appreciation, our experience of fatherhood, our own childhood etc. 

Now look at the photograph again.  Its title is “Retarded Boy.”  What new levels of emotion and appreciation does this now provoke?



Filed under art, life

5 responses to “Man and Boy

  1. shewalksinbeauty

    I feel the same. I know that there is no deeper love than that whick I have for my child and I can’t imagine loving him more or less for any reason. I see a man with this love for his child. Now, if this was not his child, but a friend or stranger, would it change that feeling?

  2. Thanks for the comment, SWIB.We invest so much hope and emotion in the happiness of our children, so much love and protection. When we first see this photo, it seems to embody that. Then, when we realise that the little boy is disabled, we are awed by the unflinching love of the father and overwhelmed by the complex implications of this lifelong relationship. Not well expressed, I know, but parents will get it. Somethings are beyond our intellectual awareness and parenthood is one of them.

  3. This is such a beautiful image – in many ways!

  4. I am glad you liked it, Scott – I think it will stay with you.

  5. I never would have guessed that was the title of the image. I got a totally different idea from it, completely. To me, the little boy looks scared and I almost want to reach into the photo and save him from this odd, scary man. It would make more sense to me if it was the man who was retarded, and the boy who was uncomfortable with his love.

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