A boy plays, cries, smiles, and grimaces in a group of candid, gloss images. Josephine Pryde’s Adoption (2009) series is comprised of pictures of a well-dressed toddler. His name-brand clothing and the environment in which he is photographed give us insight into his life, but also raise questions about choice and consumption. One by one, these images accumulate into an unsettling representation of childhood. The boy pictured is complex—he is frustrated, he is happy, he has desires. He can be manipulated, but he can also manipulate. Subject to mood swings, he can appear alternately adorable and grotesque. Necessarily passive, this child is embedded in a complex range of power relations. His tenuous position is only further accentuated by the title of the series, Adoption. For whatever reason this cute boy was given away by his birth parents, and for whatever reason, someone else now calls him their own. Through this transaction, he has become a commodity of sorts, a status that is exaggerated by his representation as an image of idealism and desire. The works extend beyond the specificities of the narrative presented, exposing the proprietary threads that infiltrate all familial and domestic structures…

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site. Read our privacy policy to learn more. Accept

Join Our Mailing List