Maiden Voyages: August 2015

Beloved Photographer Dies: I was just informed that Wyatt Neumann died on June 11th from a motorcycle crash triggered by a brain aneurysm.  From what little I learned in my research, he had courage, wit and a zest for life.  It is clear that those who knew him will miss him deeply.  Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.  [added 150804]

A New Voice: As most of you have noticed, a new writer has joined us. When Lily C. first wrote to Pip, he got the strong feeling that she offered an important fresh voice. Pip and I are both pleased that she has agreed to contribute posts to this site. Her first effort regarding the novel The Clan of the Cave Bear has gotten a lot of notice and I know we all look forward to her future endeavors.

Wish List: The Wish list has been working only so-so. Given the number of readers that visit this site, I expected to have gotten more leads. I did get a few though, so thank you. I have reorganized the Wish List page by categories because I know people tend to be more knowledgeable in one area or another. First will be the artists listed alphabetically, then books, comics and finally films. That will make it possible to focus on one particular section to see if we have made new requests. Once the list gets long enough, we will establish separate pages for each category.

Dropbox: Pigtails in Paint has a Dropbox account so the exchange of materials needed (files up to 2GB) for upcoming posts can be done with relative ease and anonymity.

Little Orphan Images: Last month, I decided I needed some help identifying the artists of some random images. The problem with the internet is that casual publishers of these images do not identify them. They are images that strike me as important or show the kind of skill worth mentioning on this site. There are only three, but I intend to add a lot more.

Growing Pains: Pigtails in Paint is like a little child and is growing in spurts. We are reaching a point where we need a dedicated server. That is being arranged, but it will cost more money. There is good news and bad news about this. First the good news: because of the dedicated server, it will be possible at some point for people wishing some protection from unreasonable censorship to be hosted by our server. And the bad news: maintaining such a server costs more money so we will need to bring in money from readers and other supporters. A PayPal account will be established for donations/memberships. We are currently brainstorming ideas for incentives that can be offered to those who contribute.

Cabinet Cards: I know you have all seen a multitude of cabinet cards for sale on the internet. However, they do not come with much commentary or background information. One of our contributors informed me of an excellent site to visit that actually goes into more depth.  See also this.

They Have to Start Sometime: An associate found a cute video about the art of Flamenco dancing. About 5 minutes into the video, you can see some little girls practicing.

Nice Girl Images: A fellow blogger informed me of someone who linked to his site and has is showing off a lot of nice girl images. The site is in Dutch but well worth translating.

Creepy Lyrics: I was also given a link to a site that put together a list of songs with lyrics that would certainly make many people cringe today. They were or are all popular songs with catchy tunes, so what does that say about our culture? Were the old days better with a greater latitude of expression or is today better, now that we don’t express such disrespect to young people? Were they innocent expressions of fantasy or brainwashing to put ideas in the heads of young people?

Legal Briefs: Chris Madaio has been generously using his knowledge as a paralegal to educate us on the vagaries of law. However, due to his conviction, he has been subjected to aggressive censorship triggered by watchdog groups. The latest indignity is having his Facebook account shut down. This is remarkable since that social networking site tolerates a hell of a lot. I thought it would be more interesting here to share some of his ideas for filing a lawsuit against the company (and one particular watchdog group) for this perfunctory termination.

Madaio had been on Facebook since early 2014, using it solely to contact old friends in Italy and sending them some of their pictures from the 1970s through ‘90s. Has says 95% of them were pleased and he also used the site to publicize his photo site and paralegal site, hoping also to get some contract engineering jobs. In about June 2015, the local Parents for Megan’s Law (PFML) informed the local Sex Offender Registry (SOR) officer about his account. Because he’d never caused trouble with the local SOR officer, he was called in to her office to update the records. In the beginning of July, his Facebook account was disabled. A message indicated that he was “ineligible for an account”. The company hasn’t responded yet to his complaint generated through the Better Business Bureau. In mid-July he called the local PFML and while never expressly admitting to initiating the Facebook action, it was obvious they knew all about him.

Here are the legal issues—bear in mind that the legal basis of these causes of action have not been confirmed and are only speculative questions at this time. Perhaps Facebook is in Breach of Contract and/or violating Madaio’s First Amendment rights. There is a clause restricting convicted “sex offenders”, but he has operated the account for over 1.5 years without complaint. Since he believes PFML is directly responsible, he is looking for ways to tie that organization to his legal action. He also wonders if he can compel PFML to produce documents showing they were involved.

Naturally, attorneys are reluctant to take on this kind of case pro-bono and attempts to contact the ACLU in the past have gotten no reply. Without financial backing, he will have to muddle through this process on his own with uncertain results. He is motivated by the thought that all his work might be invalidated in the public’s eyes because of a 2006 conviction not directly connected to his photographic work. It would be one thing if he were guilty of child molestation or assault, but he was convicted of possessing child pornography (on his computer). On these grounds, it would be hard to make a case that Madaio is some kind of danger to children and limit his access as a precautionary measure. After all, a Facebook page is easy enough to monitor if someone really thought there were something sinister going on and Pigtails would not be taking up space here by offering these updates otherwise.

Cave Girl: Jean M. Auel’s ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’

With my first post I’m going to discuss the book The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, as well as the movie directed by Michael Chapman. As is usually the case, the book was far more engaging and meaningful than the movie, so I will take the plot points from the book and use various screenshots from the movie. The latter uses three actresses to represent the various stages of Ayla’s life; Emma Floria is 5-year-old Ayla, Nicole Eggert plays Ayla at about 11 or 12, and Daryl Hannah is adolescent/adult Ayla. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t accurately depict Ayla’s timeline. She is under eighteen for the whole of the book, and is 14 at its conclusion. Within that span of time she experiences incredible hardship, but what she learns in those 9 years will change everything forever. 

Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (1)

Ayla is a Cro-Magnon girl (early Homo sapiens sapiens), distant ancestors to our forbears and us. Mog-ur—known to her affectionately by his true name, Creb—is a Neanderthal Man (H. neanderthalensis) and the most powerful magician known to his Clan. They share the same ancestor but are fated to much different paths. Creb and all his people are about to die in one of the most questionable extinctions known to modern science, while Ayla’s kind are on their way to becoming the most populous and (relatively) successful  mammals to have ever existed. Nobody seems to know just what happened there, and Jean M. Auel, while aiming to write fiction based on facts, did not specify how her Neanderthal clan were to become extinct either.

Ayla is taken in by the medicine woman of the Neanderthal clan after an earthquake kills Ayla’s family and forces the Clan out of their cave, their only home. The girl is just five years old, but nevertheless survives the attack of a cave lion (the grass lion’s huge, hungry ancestor) and passes out presumably from shock and pain. She is found by the Clan’s medicine woman, Iza on their search for a new cave home.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (2)

Iza is sibling to the Clan leader, Brun, so he is given to allow Iza to keep and care for the girl. The young girl eventually trains with Iza to become a medicine woman and is quite proficient with flowers and herbs. She also gets in the habit of using the excuse that she is looking for plants for Iza so that she can wander around by herself in the wilderness, thinking and playing in solitude.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (3)

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (4)

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (5)

Ayla’s presence disturbs the others, and their treatment towards her differences profoundly impacts her development. She is especially terrible with following their strict social customs, which include the docility and submission of women as virtues—instead of the low, shuffling walk of Clan women, Ayla is gifted with long, thin legs and is taller than most of the men by age 12. The discomfort she causes is very much about the way that she looks in comparison to the rest of the clan as well. Throughout the book she is repeatedly referred to as ugly by the other members, even by her sweet Mog-ur, and it is assumed she will never acquire a partner. They have no qualms about speaking these things in front of her either.

“He visualized the tall, skinny child, straight arms and legs, flat face with a large, bulging forehead, pale and washed out; even her eyes were too light. She will be an ugly woman, Mog-ur thought honestly. What man is likely to want her anyway?”  Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear

 

“… The skull of Cro-Magnon 1 does show traits that are unique to modern humans, including the tall, rounded skull with a near vertical forehead. A large brow ridge no longer tops the eye sockets and there is no prominent prognathism of the face and jaw [as compared to H. neanderthalensis].”  Smithsonian Natural Museum of History

Part of the reason why she is regarded with this repulsion is because her childhood seems to last much longer than what is regular for the Clan. Their lifespans average 30 years and the children are usually ready for their mating ceremonies at age 7 or 8. They start to wonder when she doesn’t seem to be developing the regular features of a woman, but it is precisely her childish figure which enables her to gain the skills that will eventually allow her to become independent. In this way and many others, Ayla becomes a symbol of fate for Creb, but to the others she is profoundly mysterious, profoundly wrong.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (6)

Built mainly for storing large quantities of data as memories, the Neanderthal Clan have minds that can peer thousands of years into the past with a process as simple as contemplating the natural life that surrounds them. (This is, of course, speculation by the author. You can do the research for yourself but there is some level of validity to her fictional fantasies.) The Clan can see eons behind them, all the way back to the dawn of life, with the help of a divine flower employed by Mog-ur; Datura stramonium or Angel’s Trumpet—Devil’s trumpet, if you’d like to play your hand on the other side of the paradox. But they can’t think in numerical terms past 3, and Mog-ur, whose mind is significantly more attuned to the abstract, the extra-sensory, can’t pass 20.  Ayla, however, is on her way to multiplying single-digit numbers at the age of five. She so astounds Creb with her mind that he becomes enthralled with her instantly, falling in love with her confidence and intelligence the first year of her stay.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (7)

Despite the rigidity of the Clan’s ways, especially in their expectation of docile behavior from the women, Creb gives Ayla some slack, often only scolding her for behavior that other men would have punished with physical violence. Physical affection is kept at a minimum between the two, but Ayla trusts in the old man’s love.

Her first year with the clan is arduous, as she is forced by her adoptive family and the pressures of the group to conform to their patriarchal expectations. However unexpectedly, she does seem to grow with a strength and confidence that is rare even for males in the Clan, and this brings about the unlucky attention of the leader’s son, Broud, who is to become her unfailing tormentor.

The boy is arrogant and narcissistic, unable to let go of Ayla’s unwomanly confidence and skill set. As Broud becomes a man and more assured in his dominance, his torments too become progressively more vicious and physically violent. But she has a secret. Ayla has learned to hunt, eventually becoming more proficient with a sling than the Clan’s own sling master. Broud’s attacks no longer bother her—in fact, she eggs him on, carrying her secret skill as a totem of confidence. Soon after her first menses at age 10, however, her secret is discovered when she kills a hyena to save a Clan child from death. She is given a comparatively mild punishment, considering it is strictly forbidden for a woman to even touch a weapon—a transgression which is punishable by death—and afterwards is startlingly anointed with the title of Woman Who Hunts by Mog-ur and the leader. From then on she is given the freedom to hunt in the open, using only her sling, but that’s good enough for her. Ayla’s confidence soars, and eventually the Clan begins to accept her, even respect her. Everyone except for Broud, that is.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (8)

Because of his unceasing abuse, Ayla has learned to dissociate from Broud, obeying him but no longer with any hint of emotional investment. But her pain is what makes Broud happy and he is frustrated with her lack of distress. Again shortly after her first menses, Broud comes across Ayla gathering herbs for Iza away from the cave and rapes her. Because of Clan customs, any male is allowed to have intercourse with any female he wishes, even if she belongs to another man, even if she isn’t yet a woman—but most Clan men feel it beneath their dignity to have intercourse with a child.  All a man has to do is give a signal, and the female will “assume the position”. Because of this, the Clan doesn’t protest when Broud takes up the habit of raping her daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The women are confused as to why she is screaming out as if in pain, but the ordeal is seen as some kind of odd phase for Broud, considering Ayla is so unattractive and Broud has a beautiful woman of his own. Iza and Creb notice her crippling depression, but they don’t know what to attribute it to and so have no way of helping her.

A redeeming feature of the Clan is that they don’t stigmatize sexuality in childhood.

“In the Clan, the mating of two people was entirely a spiritual affair, begun with a declaration to the whole clan but consummated by a secret rite that included only the men. In this primitive society, sex was as natural and unrestrained as sleeping or eating. Children learned, as they learned other skills and customs, by observing adults, and they played at intercourse as they mimicked other activities from a young age. Often a boy who reached puberty, but had not yet made his first kill and existed in limbo between child and adult, penetrated a girl child even before she reached her menarche.”  Jean M. Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear

However, they don’t necessarily know how sex works either. They believe in animal spirits called Totems; assigned to every member of the clan, they protect each person and bring luck or misfortune depending on how the clan behaves. They believe these spirits are rooted themselves in tradition as well, fearing anger from their otherworldly protectors if they stray from long-practiced rites and customs. Male totems are usually “stronger” than female totems (for example, a female totem might be a beaver where a male totem may be a wild boar), and it is believed that pregnancy is caused by the male totem “defeating” the female totem by some undefined spiritual means. A woman’s menses is similarly caused by the woman’s totem defeating a man’s totem. Ayla herself has the strongest totem in the tribe, the massive Cave Lion, assigned by Mog-ur when he contemplates the parallel scars on her legs caused by the cave lion attack when she was just five years old. Throughout her years, Ayla receives assistance and protection from the Cave Lion, noticed only by Mog-ur (as such a strong totem for a little girl confuses the rest of the Clan).

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (9)

Shockingly enough (or maybe not), Ayla soon discovers she is pregnant—and is ecstatic. She had been told all throughout her childhood that she would never bear children, would never mate or find a partner due to her incredibly powerful totem and her ugliness. She forms no connection at first between Broud’s sexual abuse and the pregnancy, but it isn’t long before she pieces it together—becoming the first of the tribe to ever do so. She loves her baby all the same, and I believe the child represents for her a reclamation of her femininity, stripped from her at a young age simply because she didn’t fit the Clan’s idea of what it meant to be female. Her first child, born to her at age 11, is therefore a symbol of her unfailing femininity in spite of her masculine strength. The child is born as a hybrid between the two human species and is seen by the Clan as being deformed, but to Ayla she sees only unity—the mergence of her spirit with that of the Clan in a way she could never accomplish herself. In the end, Broud gives her the one thing she thought she would never get.

An interesting aspect of the plot involves the Clan Gathering, which I will not go into too much detail about. A ritual is held at the gathering in which Ayla must act as medicine woman and distribute the Datura decoction to the females of hers and other Clans. She takes some as well, perhaps too much, but when the women begin their erotic dance, Ayla is pulled by some force to Creb’s ceremony involving the Mog-urs and acolytes of other clans. This is a ceremony not only restricted from female participation, but male participation as well. It is only for the shamans. She learns some interesting things from Creb here and I will not say anything else about it because it’s honestly an astounding scene that should be read in its original form to be appreciated.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (10)

I find the contrasts between her masculine and feminine aspects quite interesting. Rather, I find it interesting in that she’s not really masculine or feminine. The definitions attached to this duality are entirely subjective, seemingly dependent on the social context in which they are used. It is true that most societies throughout human history seem to have considered hunting an entirely masculine activity, but there are definitely exceptions as with all things. From the Clan’s perspective, she is almost wholly masculine; but then, she bears life, she experiences the cycles of her menses, and she develops a close relationship with plants—all are traits considered feminine by the Clan and many real-life human societies. If you read up on mythology you’ll have heard of Artemis, goddess of hunting, virginity, and protector of nature.

Considering Ayla is a child for most of the book (in the sense that she is under 18), it’s interesting to think of what femininity means in the context of little girls and in the context of Ayla’s role in the Clan. Children are unaware of themselves in a very genuine way, resulting in a sort of freedom that most adults can’t seem to experience. Little girls are themselves a kind of nymph or faerie—feminine, yes, but also masculine in the most surprising and mischievous of ways. They are dynamic, dual. I can say from experience that emerging as a woman from a state of girlhood is entirely frightening. All of a sudden it’s not cute to climb trees in a dress, or acceptable to sit with your legs very obviously open, or to do all sorts of things I was able to do without inhibition as a young girl, without even a thought as to how it was perceived by others. Eventually it became time to grow up, time to accept only one half of the duality while ignoring the other as if it didn’t exist. Ayla is so fascinating because she never seems to experience this horrible shift. Her unheard-of status as Woman Who Hunts combined with her other differences mean that the Clan is constantly in a state of awe or confusion about her, allowing Ayla to dissociate from Clan customs and to walk into herself as she wholly is. She grows up without the notion that she is a child turning into an adult. I’m not sure about the other books, but by the end of The Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla is a woman and child all in one, and she is also neither—she’s Ayla.

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Michael Chapman, John Sayles and Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) (11)

By the way, I still climb trees in dresses, ha!

sticktongueout

Margaret O’Brien

Fascism and the Politics of Nudity: Thomas Mann

This post is the result of two seemingly unrelated leads that suddenly came together. A very well-read friend of mine told me of an account by Thomas Mann (1875–1955): in the 1920s while visiting a beach in his native Germany with his granddaughter, she got sand in her bathing suit. Mann quite sensibly suggested that she wash it out in the ocean. The outraged response of the other beachgoers shocked him and became fodder for his story, Mario und der Zauberer (Mario and the Magician,1929). Unbeknownst to me, a film by that name was made in 1994 and one of our readers suggested I track it down and watch it. I decided to watch the film and read the story translated into English. Unfortunately, the flow of Mann’s melodic prose is lost in translation, but being his most political piece, we can still get a lot out of it.

The main story is of a German-speaking family (probably Austrian) who go on vacation in the town of Torre di Venere in Italy. In the film, the family is named Fuhrmann: a father (a professor), his wife and their children Stephan and Sophie.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (1)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (1)

In Mann’s story, Mario is just a waiter who serves them and the children are friendly with, but in Burt Weinshanker’s screenplay, the family greet him as though they were old friends.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (2)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (2)

An itinerant and popular magician, Cipolla—played by the film’s director, Klaus Maria Brandauer—comes on the scene and performs with his troupe a somewhat impromptu performance in the street. He is not a magician in the traditional sense; he performs number tricks and card tricks, but his most compelling skill is hypnotizing people and getting them to do all sorts of strange things. This symbolizes the power of rhetoric and propaganda that cause people to act against their own interests. The thing that adds tension to this character is that he is not gracious about his talent, but openly ridicules his subjects. Even when he makes a mistake, he can still get people to believe in him.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (3)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (3)

Italy seems pleasant enough at first but the entangled power structure and unwritten rules of conduct made a series of errors by the family inevitable. To start with, even though they were paying guests, they did not get the kind of deluxe treatment they expected. They had to move to another hotel which was much more hospitable and right on the beach. While Stephan (Jan Wachtel) and Sophie (Nina Schweser) are building a sand castle, Fuggiero (Anthony Pfriem), the 12-year-old son of a local aristocrat stomps on it making some implausible excuse. Of course this was intended as a deliberate insult and warning to the two unsuspecting siblings. It is also meant to represent the tendency of fascist systems to ridicule foreigners in order to build up their own people. The climax of this drama happens a little later when Sophie is sitting quietly in the same place on the beach and Fuggiero and two other boys start cursing at her and throwing sand. Somewhat playfully, she tries to fight back but is overpowered and knocked down.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (4)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (4)

Sophie is supposed to be 8 in the story but Mann says her body is more like that of 7. The screenwriter added more drama by including the sand fight instead of the girl just wishing to get sand out of her suit. Thus she removes her suit, wades into the ocean and rinses herself off before emerging.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (5)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (5)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (6)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (6)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (7)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (7)

The native beachgoers observe this phenomenon and stand up in shock, moving slowly toward her. I feel quite sure the director intended a Fellini-like moment here, expressing the Italian sensibility. They begin to protest and ridicule this innocent foreigner for her faux pas.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (8)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (8)

Another addition to the film is a bath scene afterward when Stephan enters and Sophie asks him to leave. Given that Stephan gave no thought to just entering unannounced shows that Sophie has become self-conscious by this event and is perhaps somewhat ashamed of her body.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (9)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (9)

Professor Fuhrmann is summoned by the mayor and made to pay 50 lire for his daughter’s disgrace. On the other hand, we soon get to see what the local people consider a wholesome display of youthful innocence: an event that includes these girls in uniform singing a patriotic song.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (10)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (10)

The professor attempts to defend himself in a public meeting—this is not in Mann’s story. At first, he seems to be doing well, but the more conservative members won’t have it and it stirs the attendees almost into a mob and the professor must make a hasty exit. Realizing the family is not accepted in this town, he calls the children in for a family meeting and explains that they must return home that afternoon. The children plead for him to allow them to stay until at least the next morning. You see, Cipolla is scheduled to make his big performance that night and they don’t want to miss it.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (11)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (11)

In Mann’s story, the children keep falling asleep and while the parents try to carry them out, they wake up and insist on seeing the rest of the performance. Cipolla shows off his devilish talents, even seducing women from their protesting husbands right in the audience, but the magician makes a fatal mistake that night. One of his subjects this time is Mario and he humiliates him by playing with his secret affections for a girl named Silvestra. In the original story, Mario becomes outraged and kills Cipolla. Since the magician in the film is played by the director, he turns the plot around and has Silvestra, shocked by the revelation, kill Mario instead. In one final expression of control, the audience applauds despite the grisly scene that just took place on the stage. Another addition in the film is one final expression of innocence and perhaps the insidious nature of fascism. On the train home, Sophie comes by the cabin wearing a hat and begins to perform a magic trick she learned in town.

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann - Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (12)

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Burt Weinshanker and Thomas Mann – Mario und der Zauberer (1994) (12)

It was interesting that Mann did not recognize the early rumblings of fascism in his own country. His masterpiece of Perennial Philosophy, Joseph und seine Brüder (Joseph and His Brothers) in four volumes, was interrupted by the turmoil of Nazism and the latter volumes have a distinctly different tone.

Child Labourers as Victims: Lewis Hine’s Photography (1908-1912)

Lewis Hine - Young mill worker, Newberry, SC (Dec. 1908)

Lewis Hine – Young mill worker, Newberry, SC (Dec. 1908)

To many contemporary Westerners, child labour appears as cruel and uncivilized. However, in all pre-industrial societies, there was no sharp demarcation between childhood and adulthood and children worked with adults—this was part of their education. In the European Middle Ages, childhood as we envisage it now lasted only a few years; at about age 7, the peasant child was working in the farm while urban children were sent to learn their trade as apprentices. There was no adolescence either, you were recognized as an adult (with full privileges and duties) at an age generally between 13 and 15.

Some schools existed, but they could be attended part-time, and there were pupils of various ages in the same class. As printing did not exist and paper was expensive, without manuals nor the possibility of taking notes, pupils learned by hearing the same lessons being read by the master year after year, so you found on the same bench newcomers and regular listeners.

The modern structure of the nuclear family, its view as a haven of peace, and the concomitant conception of childhood as state of vulnerability and innocence, stratified by age categories, arose progressively in Western Europe between the 13th and the 18th century, see Philippe Ariès, L’Enfant et la Vie Familiale sous l’Ancien Régime (1973) (translated in English with some inaccuracies under the title Centuries of Childhood). However child labour survived this social transformation, and it accompanied the Industrial Revolution:

“In the United States rapid industrialization after the Civil War (1861–1865) increased the child labor force and introduced new occupations for children. According to the nationwide census of 1870 about one out of every eight children in the United States was employed. By 1900 approximately 1,750,000 children, or one out of six, had wagework. Sixty percent were agricultural workers, and of the 40 percent in industry over half were children of immigrant families.” On the other hand, “in preindustrial and rural Canada families needed children for the work they could do. The immigrant children worked as farm laborers and domestic servants.” Despite modernization, old stereotypes survived: “Child labor was gender divided. Whereas boys worked in industries such as sawmills and coal mines, girls worked in the textile and garment industries.” (Internet FAQ Archives, Child Labor in the West)

Lewis Hine - Josie, Bertha and Sophie, regular shuckers, Maggioni Canning Co., Port Royal, SC (Feb. 1911)

Lewis Hine – Josie, Bertha and Sophie, regular shuckers, Maggioni Canning Co., Port Royal, SC (Feb. 1911)

But opposition to child labour mounted at the end of the 19th century. “Whereas child labor was considered both economically valuable and ethical in preindustrialized societies, it was increasingly understood as uncivilized as industrialization progressed.” It is generally thought that laws limiting or banning child labour arose from the fight of labour unions, like the 8-hour working day. In fact, “many working-class parents saw little advantage to keeping their children in school instead of the workplace.” (Internet FAQ Archive, National Child Labor Committee) Indeed:

“Figures from the United States indicate that children were likely to contribute about one-third of family income by the time the adult male was in his fifties. In Europe, children’s contributions were even greater; about 41 percent when the head was in his fifties, and in some cases even higher.” (Child Labor in the West)

The fight against child labour was waged mainly by upper and middle-class philanthropists, clergymen and politicians.

“A crusade against child labor developed in most Western countries in the late nineteenth century. The modern order of childhood demanded actions against the “social evil” and for child labor laws. The child labor laws were hardly effective, as they did not provide for sufficient enforcement. Compulsory schooling laws were more effective, and the debates on child labor had an educative impact as well. States, educationalists, politicians, and philanthropists joined in the efforts to get children out of the factories and into school.” (Child Labor in the West)

Lewis Hine - Millie Cornaro, 10yo, picking cranberries, White's Bog, Browns Mills, NJ (Sep. 28, 1910)

Lewis Hine – Millie Cornaro, 10yo, picking cranberries, White’s Bog, Browns Mills, NJ (Sep. 28, 1910)

Although agriculture accounted for 60 percent of child labour, it was strangely spared by that campaign: “While children working in agriculture seemed consistent with America’s past history, to many Americans youngsters laboring for meager wages in industry seemed brutal and cruel.” (National Child Labor Committee) This distinction could not be argued on the basis of health or working conditions:

“How were the conditions for child laborers in industry compared with agriculture? In France, research shows that industrialization intensified work for some children, as workdays in factories were long and more structured. On the other hand, rural life in late-nineteenth-century France was rigorous and primitive, and young men from certain rural areas were more often rejected for military service than young men from cities, challenging the “misery history” of industrial child labor.” (Child Labor in the West)

I think that the real reason behind this double standard is moralistic. At that time, bourgeois philanthropists were afraid of delinquency in the cities, especially in the urban working-class youth, and they set about to “save” working-class children from vice, see The Child Savers by Anthony Platt.

Lewis Hine - Madeline Causey, 10yo, Merrimack Mills, Huntsville, AL (Nov. 1913)

Lewis Hine – Madeline Causey, 10yo, Merrimack Mills, Huntsville, AL (Nov. 1913)

In the United States, efforts by politicians, philanthropists and clergymen, in particular the Reverend Edgar Gardner Murphy, an Episcopalian minister, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) was established in 1904. It was greatly helped by the field work of the sociologist and photographer Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) for its campaign.

“The committee helped organize local committees in every state where child labor existed, held traveling exhibits, and was the first organized reform movement to make wide use of photographic propaganda. In 1915 the NCLC published 416 newspapers and distributed more than four million pages of propaganda materials. The propaganda promoted—here and elsewhere—changing attitudes and practices regarding childhood. The well-known photographer LEWIS HINE was one of the NCLC’s crusaders. In 1908 Hine resigned from his job as a teacher and devoted his full career to photography and to his work as a reporter for the NCLC.” (Child Labor in the West)

Hine spent several years photographing thousands children and adolescents who worked for a wage. With each photograph he included information on the location, sometimes on the age of children, and added some comment. These pictures are widely found on the Internet, with varying quality, either in sepia or in grey. The National Child Labor Committee Collection of the Library of Congress contains 5130 pictures, free of copyright; they generally exist in both sepia and grey, and in different sizes. I have chosen a few of them, in sepia and large size; the following 3 can also be found (in grey only) on The Authentic History Center’s webpage Child Labor Photographs of Lewis Hine, with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) copyright.

Lewis Hine - Cotton mill workers (Jan. 22, 1909)

Lewis Hine – Cotton mill workers (Jan. 22, 1909)

Hine’s comment: “Two of the ‘helpers’ in the Tifton Cotton Mill, Tifton, Ga. They work regularly. Location: Tifton, Georgia.

Lewis Hine - Spinner glimpses the outside world (Nov. 11, 1908)

Lewis Hine – Spinner glimpses the outside world (Nov. 11, 1908)

Hine’s comment: “Rhodes Mfg. Co., Lincolnton, N.C. Spinner. A moments glimpse of the outer world. Said she was 10 years old. Been working over a year. Location: Lincolnton, North Carolina.”

Lewis Hine - Selling Radishes (Aug. 22, 1908)

Lewis Hine – Selling Radishes (Aug. 22, 1908)

Hine’s comment: “‘Radishes! Penny a bunch!’ Sixth St. Market, Cincinnati. 10 P.M. Saturday. Boys and girls sell all day, and until 11 P.M. Aug.22, 1908. Location: Cincinnati, Ohio.

The following high-quality image comes from Wikipedia:

Lewis Hine - Little Lottie, regular oyster shucker (1911)

Lewis Hine – Little Lottie, regular oyster shucker (1911)

Hine’s comment: “Little Lottie, a regular oyster shucker in Alabama Canning Co. She speaks no English. Note the condition of her shoes… Location: Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

Finally, campaigns such as that of the NCLC succeeded in bringing children out of factories and into schools:

“Why did child labor decrease around the turn of the twentieth century in Western societies? An increase in children’s school attendance is part of the explanation. Research from Sweden, Denmark, and Chicago indicates that one of the key motives for the introduction of compulsory schooling laws was to control and abolish child labor. In Norway the number of days at school increased by 50 percent from 1880 to 1914. At that time children were schoolchildren and part-time workers.” (Child Labor in the West)

Note however that fighting child labour was not the only reason for the introduction of compulsory schooling:

“A comparison of Western societies demonstrates that state enactment of compulsory schooling is not explained by economic factors, such as level of industrialization or urbanization. Some countries implemented compulsory schooling well before industrializing. The earliest state to do so, Prussia, illustrates the noneconomic motive behind enacting compulsory schooling. Enacting compulsory schooling was a means to reinvigorate national solidarity in a context where traditional, external modes of authority were weakening. Compulsory schooling was a form of nation-building, foreshadowing the larger historical movement to broaden the rights of individuals as citizens and linking this to an expanded moral jurisdiction of state authority. In contrast, England, a comparative late-comer to compulsory schooling, enacted its Elementary Education Act of 1870, well after taking the lead in inaugurating industrialization. Yet, like Prussia, a weak showing at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 signaled a threat to its international stature, in turn challenging traditional means of authority and technical training. The prompt to reinvigorate national solidarity fueled a sense of urgency and thereby gave legitimacy to an extension of state authority over universal primary education.” (Compulsory School Attendance)

Also, “for the American states […] the timing of enactment must be viewed within the broader context of national formation.

“Compulsory school attendance laws passed during the latter half of the nineteenth century represented more than the cessation of voluntary schooling; they formalized a significant broadening of state authority and its assumption of responsibility for the education of children.”

Lewis Hine - Immigrant children, Washington School, Boston, MA (Oct 1909)

Lewis Hine – Immigrant children, Washington School, Boston, MA (Oct 1909)

For instance, in France, one of the objectives of the secular state schools established by Julles Ferry was to instill patriotism and anti-German chauvinism in children, in particular through an unrelenting insistence on the fight to recover the province of Alsace-Lorraine, annexed by Germany after the 1870-1871 war. Millions of young French young men educated in these schools died in the trenches of WWI, after which France recovered Alsace-Lorraine.

Finally in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, pressured by child welfare advocates and labour unions, included child labor regulations in the 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act (National Child Labor Committee). Teenagers were taken out of the job market and sent back to high schools, but the real reason was now mass unemployment: the jobs previously held by youths were given to their elders.

In this way the Western conception of childhood and and adolescence was finally achieved:

“By legally positing universal schooling as a common goal, the laws helped to structure the social and legal categories of childhood and ADOLESCENCE that have become integral to American culture generally and to the organization of American education in particular.” (Compulsory School Attendance) “According to a new regime that condemned child labor, children were supposed to PLAY and go to school. The schoolchild as norm was gradually perceived as “natural” and “universal.” As history is a way of seeing the past through the filters of the present, the complexity of child labor in the past turned out to be difficult to depict.” (Child Labor in the West)

Concomitant to compulsory schooling at higher ages was the raising of the legal age of sexual consent in Western countries, see for instance Martin Killias, “The emergence of a new taboo: the desexualization of youth in Western societies since 1800″, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 8:459–477, 2000. Another result of crusades to “save” children is the specific judicial system for minors; as explained by Anthony Platt in The Child Savers, under the pretext of “protecting” youth, this system remains harsh, while it deprives youth of all constitutional rights granted to adults facing trial.

Campaigns to “save” working-class children, in particular the one of the NCLC and Hine presenting child labourers as victims, were ideological. Many photographed children do not give themselves the appearance of victims, they are sometimes smiling (see the above two little cotton mill workers); anyway they look courageous.

One of the most famous photographs by Hine is the one of Addie Card, a girl spinner looking weary; this iconic photo appeared on a US postage stamp in 1998. I reproduce it from Wikipedia:

Lewis Hine - Addie Card (Aug. 1910)

Lewis Hine – Addie Card (Aug. 1910)

Hine commented: “Addie Card, 12 years. Anemic little spinner in North Pownal Cotton Mill. Vt. Girls in mill say she is ten years. She admitted to me she was twelve; that she started during school vacation and now would ‘stay.’ Location: North Pownal, Vermont, August 1910.

I deny Hine the medical qualification to diagnose the disease of anemia. However, the historian and freelance journalist Joe Manning has published on his website Mornings on Maple Street a magnificent Lewis Hine Project, which includes a fascinating search for the real life of Addie Card. I summarize here his findings.

Joe Manning - Gravestone of Addie Card (2005)

Joe Manning – Gravestone of Addie Card (2005)

Addie was born on December 6, 1897; she was thus 12-year-old when Hine photographed her. In 1915, she married fellow mill worker Edward Hatch, but later they divorced, and she married Ernest LaVigne six weeks after. In her lifetime, she had a great-great-grandchild. She died on July 19, 1993, at the venerable age of 95. She is buried in Cohoes, New York.

LaVigne family - Addie Card with great-great-grandchild Sierra, and great-granddaughters Piperlea and Kim

LaVigne family – Addie Card with great-great-grandchild Sierra, and great-granddaughters Piperlea and Kim

Not bad for an “anemic”! But what about her weariness in Hine’s photograph? Joe Manning and his friend Elizabeth Winthrop interviewed Piperlea and Cathleen LaVigne (see the 8th page of Manning’s search). As one can read in it, Addie suffered from psychological abuse on the part of her father:

Joe: Did she tell you anything about working in the mill as a child?
Piperlea: She told me about how hard it was working in the mill, that she had to quit school in the fourth grade to go to work, about her father disowning her, and how it was so awful not to have your parents’ love.
[…]
Cathleen: […] She told me that when she was 12, she had a nervous breakdown. She was confined to bed for almost a year.
[…]
Elizabeth: What did she mean by a nervous breakdown?
Piperlea: I remember her telling me that she had a lot of mental anguish from her father. He blamed Addie for her mother’s ultimate demise. He blamed it on the childbirth. He said it was her fault.
Elizabeth: The death record shows that she died of peritonitis, which is an infection in the abdominal cavity, sometimes caused by appendicitis.
Piperlea: But he threw the guilt on her. She told me, ‘My birth was the cause of my mother’s death, and her death was the cause of my father disowning me.’

Hine had looked at Addie with coloured glasses. It was not anemia, nor work, that made her sad and weary, but her own father.

References:

Corporate Mentality and the Invisible Artist

As I have said many times, I am an avid reader of non-fiction. I have noticed over the years that people or organizations with certain political ideas tend to discuss issues in a specific way based on a set of assumed principles. It sometimes feels like they are following a script and, in some cases, they may be. One of the most pronounced examples is the way corporations communicate to the public, most commonly called Public Relations (PR). The trouble with the corporation—expressed very well in the film The Corporation—is that no matter what service or product it purports to provide, its goal is to maximize profit for its shareholders. Naturally, these companies and conglomerates do not want the public to think in this way because it interferes with sales. Because of this, the most important department in any corporate entity is its PR department. It must somehow create the impression that it is serving its customers and generally offering something for the common good.

Artists are a necessary part of advertising and perhaps in the design of a product as well. However, because a company does not want the public to be privy to its use of labor—stories of child labor and virtual slave wages is ubiquitous—they must play down the value of that labor while convincing the public that they are good corporate citizens. Money is the bottom line and so even those with the needed talent are regarded as laborers; artists and craftsman in particular are usually not given the credit for the work they would if the companies had to follow some kind of guild rules.

A case in point is this charming advertising promoting Domini Social Investments.

(Unidentified Artist) - Domini Funds Promotional Art (2014)

(Unidentified Artist) – Domini Funds Promotional Art (2014)

This fund manager promotes itself as a responsible business by refusing to invest in stocks (or other financial products) involving weapons production or some other distasteful industry. If the PR is to be believed, people can feel good doing business with them because no harm is being done. This is naive since many large corporations have entangled relationships others making this almost impossible and what about this company’s own behavior? This work of art is not credited and there has been no reply to repeated requests for more information on the history of this piece.

I did get a response in the second case. I had seen these trading cards on sale on the web—featuring girls, naturally—and was thinking of doing a short post.

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 136

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 136

Since the images were of low quality, I had hoped to convince the company, Forever Clover®, to not only identify the artists who made these images, but send some higher-quality images for use in this post. Following a classic corporate script, I received an email expressly forbidding me to use their artwork or even link to their site. These threatening and lawyerly letters are commonplace and are made to intimidate people who are not well-versed in the law. I assure you that we have every right under international copyright law to present a sample of their product and criticize their company.

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 194

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 194

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 191

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 191

(No Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 185

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 185

These trading cards come in a variety of themes; some are embossed and some are embedded with glitter. According to their website, Forever Clover was established in 2011 and celebrates young girls and their friendships. It started with swap cards for girls (age 4–11) to collect and trade and has expanded into novels and activity books. Their PR involves a blog and other forms of interaction meant to show an interest in the girls’ lives and promote brand loyalty. You can read more about their mandate here, but you will find they express a very superficial and saccharine sentiment clothed as wholesome values.

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 158

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 158

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 171

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 171

(Unidentified Artist) - Forever Clover Swap Card No. 88

(Unidentified Artist) – Forever Clover Swap Card No. 88

It should also be noted that whoever these artists are, they are not the copyright holders; the companies are.

There Is No Order in the Law

A legal expert has examined this post and has some amendments about what I have said here.  To avoid confusion for those who have read this before, those amendments will be in italics.

I originally decided to share this tidbit as an update in the last Maiden Voyages post and then I realized I had access to both the images in question and, whenever possible, we like to bring these things to you, the readers, to judge for yourself.

Although Graham Ovenden was tried, convicted and is serving his sentence*, there is still the matter of the disposition of the materials confiscated by the police.  In a recent hearing, the police were compelled by the court to make a small concession. Although they have been implying in the press that taking a picture of a nude child is illegal, they confirmed that the act, in itself, is not technically indecent and so not necessarily illegal.

The bizarre twist to this hearing has to do with two images. First of all, they want to destroy one of Ovenden’s paintings.

Graham Ovenden - Elinore 1982/83

Graham Ovenden – Elinore 1982/83

One of the problems of U.K. law is there is no distinction given to art. It does not matter if a work is produced with skill by a reputable artist; if it is deemed indecent, it is illegal. The strange thing is the police were surprised to discover that this piece appeared in Ovenden’s monograph published by Academy Editions in 1987. It seems they have not done even the most rudimentary research about the images they are referring to. This piece was also on exhibit at the Tate Modern and was reproduced in a number of newspapers in the 1990s, some in color. It is estimated that approximately 3.5 million people have seen this image in published form with little substantial comment. On the other hand, nude reference photographs of this same model were not slated for destruction.

This seems counterintuitive since, to take a photograph, a child would have been made to participate while a painting could plausibly be the product of the artist’s imagination. There is hope, however, because of the judge’s decision regarding another image.

Graham Ovenden - North Kensington, 1959

Graham Ovenden – North Kensington, 1959

This image was also published, in Graham Ovenden’s Childhood Streets (1998) which documented his photography of the London streets in the late 1950s when he was a young man. This girl is shown lifting her skirt to show her private parts to the public. In fact, this is a bona fide photo of child prostitutes. Ovenden learned later that that particular saloon was well-known for such traffic at that time and that this girl’s display was a form of advertising. The strange thing was that the judge would not allow its destruction. Why? Because it is documenting something of historical significance.

The decision not to destroy this artifact turns out to be solely at the discretion of the judge. There is no basis of historical significance to protect these pieces either; the judge simply wanted to offer her explanation for the decision.  Therefore, the strategy mentioned below will have no legal justification but might still be used to persuade another judge in the next hearing.

This judgment may open the door to saving the painting as well.  Perhaps a similar argument could be made about a painting published in hard copy form and exhibited in museums.

*I am told that some readers have misunderstood about Ovenden’s sentence.  He is currently serving the probationary period of his sentence and is not actually in prison, but his activities are still restricted.  Upon completion of sentence, he will be at full liberty again.

S.A.: The Disney Girls

As mentioned in my very first Pigtails post, I spent my young adulthood in the U.S. Army. And even though I lived under the rigors of military discipline, it was a time of relative freedom for me. My platoon sergeant had a huge collection of Disney films which he brought so we would have something to watch while we were living temporary barracks. Like most people, I assumed cartoons were just for kids and were not very sophisticated, but these Disney shorts had a humor that could only be appreciated by adults. Walt Disney was not producing films for kids, he was producing them for himself. I became fascinated with the evolution of the Disney Studios and read everything I could get my hands on. I read in one account that Disney wanted to prove that a full-length animated feature was possible and would be respected by the general public. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first of these efforts. It was important to him that the characters be believable and not just caricatures. To that end, he challenged his animators to make every effort to pay careful attention to detail and find a way to give the heroes and heroines sex appeal. Of course, in those days it was not acceptable to say the word “sex” in mixed company and thus when referring to this mandate, they would say “S.A.” which today seems an amusing constraint. This post is dedicated to those early Disney girls with S.A. No more passing off Mickey Mouse with a bow, skirt and pasted eyelashes and calling him Minnie!

The interesting thing about studying Disney animation is that the Disney Studios were pioneers and one can watch the evolution of that medium. Early attempts did manage to make their lead female characters pretty, but not especially alluring. Probably the first characters to fit this description were the centaurettes from Fantasia (1940). They are fantasy creatures but some attempt was made to make them look “right”. Here is a page with a few concept designs.

Disney Studios - Concept Designs (late 1930s)

Disney Studios – Concept Designs (late 1930s)

After Disney approved the concepts, the animators would make a more fine-tuned sketch that showed the final appearance of the character. Since this will be used to produce the final animation, the placement of the dark lines is very deliberate.

Disney Studios - Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Disney Studios – Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Then there are animators who draw the final cleaned-up sketch, in-betweeners who draw the intermediate motions of the characters and a team of women who color the cells.

Edit: For a comprehensive list of the artists who worked on ‘The Rite of Spring’ segment of Fantasia, please refer to this page. – Pip

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (1)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (1)

I was surprised at the popularity of this iconic pose and this creature is now a figurine.

Centaurette Figurine

Centaurette Figurine

Part of the fun of the early Disney work is the little bits of “business” he has each character do and there are a lot of recurring gags and play on stereotypes that are amusing to an adult audience. One of Disney’s other early mandates is that his characters have distinct personalities. After the centaurettes groom themselves, they get all worked up about the boys coming for a visit so they can all frolick together, but one poor centaurette is without a match until she is discovered by one of the remaining boys.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (3)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (3)

There are even zebra centaurettes accompanying a Dionysian character—all of this to the music of Beethoven’s 6th “Pastoral” Symphony.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (4)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (4)

Animators may have been talented artists, but that did not mean they were well-educated on anatomy. About the time of the release of Fantasia, Disney had animals brought in as models for them to study and the first film to show this off was Bambi (1942). From then on, even female animal characters had a certain feminine allure: Bambi’s mother and Faline (Bambi), Lady (Lady and the Tramp (1955)) and Perdita (101 Dalmations (1961)).

Once the ancient Greeks learned to make large statues from the Egyptians, they then pushed for anatomical perfection. The 1950s were an analogous time for the Disney Studios by which time they routinely accomplished this level of believability. Also, until then, any female leads were young women, not really girls, so we see our first two examples voiced by the same girl, Kathryn Beaumont.

Disney Studios - Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios – Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (1953)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (1953)

Of course in Peter Pan we also get Tinkerbell, the quintessential animated sex pot who creates some mischief because she is jealous about all the attention Peter is giving Wendy.

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (animation cell)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (animation cell)

After artists become accustomed to producing anatomical accuracy, they want to play with the forms and so in the late 1950s and 1960s we begin to see an angular style in Sleeping Beauty (1957), 101 Dalmations and Jungle Book (1967) which was in production when Walt Disney died.

Disney Studios - Jungle Book (1967)

Disney Studios – Jungle Book (1967)

After that, there was a period when the studios attempted to anticipate Disney’s wishes: The ArtistoCats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973) were in the concept stages. Once business interests got control of the studio—changing the name to The Disney Company—animated features were produced more rapidly, but with a more formulaic system that established schedules and deadlines.

The Dark Side of Innocence: Celia

I dislike using the word “innocence” because it is so misused and often only in a positive context. However, it is my experience that children are just like adults in almost every way. They can be cruel, generous, vengeful, courageous, cowardly, just and unjust. In my remarks about Ana in Cría cuervos—which Pip recently reviewed—I said that she was absolved of murder in the audience’s eyes because the can of baking soda was not really poison and thus she never really killed anyone. But Pip pointed out that this is irrelevant from a moral perspective. Because children do not yet have a fully-developed grasp of consequences, they can do things with full confidence that we would consider rash and they themselves might regret later.

I discovered Celia (1989) while reviewing The Coca-Cola Kid starring Rebecca Smart and I did some follow up by watching The Shiralee and added some supplemental information at the end of that post. But when I watched Celia, I knew this film had real substance and would have to stand alone. The typical synopsis says that Celia is a troubled girl, but my impression is she is a real child—no less than, say, Huck Finn. Pip said that he once saw this film for rent in the horror section! Ridiculous; this is clearly a period drama reflecting the anxieties of a troubled society in 1957/58 Australia. The ostensible horror comes from Celia’s dreams and imaginings associated with the death of her beloved Granny and fueled by the story of the Hobyahs who creep about at night snatching people.

The stage is set when Celia Carmichael (Smart) goes to the shack where her grandmother lives and finds her dead. The depth of their relationship is revealed gradually and here we see a sincere Celia telling her Granny that she will miss her. Throughout the movie, she imagines seeing Granny as though she were still alive.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (1)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (1)

Because of her close bond with Granny, she did not really take the time to bond with other children and she appears to have only one friend, Heather Goldman (Clair Couttie).

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (2)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (2)

A family called the Tanners move in next door and she starts to bond with them. At first, her mother is pleased to see her playing with other children.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (3)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (3)

We learn that she is turning 9 during the Christmas break and that she has a nemesis, Stephanie Burke (Amelia Frid), the daughter of a police sergeant the family call “Uncle John”. It is revealed that the girls are engaged in a pitched but covert battle. Celia wants a rabbit for her birthday, but her father refuses, telling her they are vermin. In the background of this story are two political dramas: one involving the fear of communism and the other, the plague of rabbits that are destroying farmers’ crops. When school resumes, Celia is irritated that Stephanie got a pet rabbit and she didn’t.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (4)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (4)

The neighborhood children spend a lot of time playing in an abandoned quarry with a kind of contaminated water hole and a shed. Celia shares her magic mask with the other children which Stephanie ridicules and runs off with, resulting in a chase and a fight. Celia returns victorious with a lock of Stephanie’s hair.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (5)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (5)

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (6)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (6)

Celia and the Tanner children—Steve, Karl and Meryl—become fast friends and they take a blood oath together, “Swear on my living heart; blood will never part.” This oath presumes that the Tanners are now allied with Celia against Stephanie.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (7)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (7)

We learn that Granny read a lot of books about communism and Celia observes that Alice Tanner (Victoria Longley), the mother, has similar materials. This is a kind of signal that Alice is taking the place of Granny in watching over Celia. In so bonding, Celia brings over some of Granny’s papers and photographs which the Tanners examine knowingly. Whenever Celia got lonely or in trouble, she would sneak into Granny’s shack for comfort, but now she has Alice.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (8)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (8)

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (9)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (9)

Celia’s father, Ray, notices a pamphlet—which Alice had used to make a paper airplane—and interrogates Celia about it. In a rage, Ray goes into Granny’s shack and takes all the books out to burn them which upsets Celia terribly. In a scheme to get her not to play with the Tanners any more, he buys her a rabbit. Does she name it Flopsy or Patch? No, her rabbit is named Murgatroid.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (10)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (10)

Somehow, word of the Tanners’ sympathies with communist philosophy reaches the children at large and Stephanie and her allies go the quarry to taunt and attack the others. The police arrive to break up the fight and Uncle John begins to show his hypocrisy by punishing the other children but not his own daughter who started the fight.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (11)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (11)

Celia learns that Evan Tanner got sacked from his job because he refused to leave the Australian Peace Council which was widely regarded as a communist front. The kids believe it was Uncle John who was the informant and so they engage in a little witchcraft, burning the Burke family in effigy and then throwing the dolls into Stephanie’s room at night. Later they learn that it was actually Ray, in a misguided attempt at manipulation, and Celia leads the children in burning her own father in effigy.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (12)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (12)

While doing this, they are ambushed by Stephanie and the other children who lock them up in the shed and torture Murgatroid by scorching her rear with a burning brand. Celia, at her angriest in the film, vows to get even.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (13)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (13)

After the Tanners move away, a government policy has forced all the children to turn their rabbits in to the zoo. John visits the Carmichaels to convince them that Celia must give up Murgatroid as well, but they refuse. When Stephanie forms a kind of support group for children who have lost their rabbits, she is mystified why Celia does not join. And when Celia returns home, she realizes that her rabbit is gone too and blames Uncle John.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (14)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (14)

After much posturing and politicking and a popular letter-writing campaign, the government is pressured to allow permits for pet rabbits. The children all go to the zoo to retrieve their rabbits, but Celia and Heather learn that theirs died during their temporary internment.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (15)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (15)

They vow to get revenge. They get dressed up and put on war paint in readiness to rid themselves of the despicable Sergeant Burke. Celia was aware her father kept a shotgun for hunting ducks and readies it. The thing that psyches Celia into pulling the trigger is that she imagines that her Uncle John is a Hobyah and suddenly he is dead.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (16)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (16)

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (17)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (17)

Celia and Heather try to hide some of the evidence and Heather is made to swear that this act will be kept a secret forever. The police learn that it was Ray’s shotgun that was used but cannot find a suspect. Celia’s mother later notices a bruise on her chest and realizes what has happened.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (18)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (18)

The Carmichael family keep quiet and Celia seems to resume her normal life. When Stephanie returns to school after the tragedy, Celia has a change of heart and prays with the rest of the class for their family’s future well-being. In one final ritual, Celia leads all the children to the quarry to conduct a symbolic hanging to give Stephanie some closure for the unsolved murder and Heather, who plays the condemned prisoner, has proven she can keep a secret. The children are united now as they race up the slope of the quarry.

Ann Turner - Celia (1989) (19)

Ann Turner – Celia (1989) (19)

The notion of an innocent girl as a cop killer is a truly remarkable premise and, I believe, well executed in this film. The implications are disturbing, but it serves to challenge our assumptions of what a child is and what justice is. In times of stress, so often people resort to black-and-white dogmatic beliefs: communists are evil, rabbits are vermin, the government is always right. But we see throughout the film that many injustices are committed by the authorities—the mothers, the fathers, the school teachers, the police and government officials.

Christmas in July Special: Emshwiller, Bunch and ‘A Little Girl’s Xmas in Modernia’

Ed Emshwiller—known affectionately as Emsh—is one of those names that only fans of classic science fiction and fantasy will probably be familiar with, but within that community the artist held some prestige.  He is most known for doing pulp magazine covers and interior art, particularly for Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  When one thinks of sci-fi art of the 50s and early 60s, it is probably Emshwiller’s style that comes most readily to mind.

David R. Bunch was a science fiction and satirical writer who is best known for a series of short stories set on Moderan, an Earth analogue world where everything has become largely mechanized, including the people of Moderan themselves, and those people live inside giant computerized structures called Strongholds which are at perpetual war with each other.  Bunch wrote dozens of these stories, most of which have been collected in the Moderan volume and in various science fiction anthologies.  One of these stories, A Little Girl’s Xmas in Moderan, was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (though it was retitled A Little Girl’s Xmas in Modernia, probably due to some copyright conflict with the name Moderan).  It became the cover story for that issue, with cover art from Emshwiller.

It is a strange story told from the point-of-view of a kindergarten-age girl—known only as Little Sister in the story—one of the few citizens of Moderan who hasn’t yet become a cyborg and thus retains her full humanity.  Bunch contrasts her nicely against her father, who is almost entirely machine at this point and, although fully sentient, has essentially lost touch with what made him human in the first place, including being a father to his two children.  The entire family—father, mother, son and daughter—each live in their own house with robot servants to attend their every need.

The Moderan series was an early representative of the New Wave of science fiction, which completely revolutionized the genre, but today Bunch and his Moderan stories have mostly been forgotten.  One interesting aspect of Little Sister is that she spends much of the story completely naked, even in though it is the dead of winter.  I suspect this is to remind the reader that she is, indeed, fully human.  Like artists who use nudity symbolically to communicate the child’s vulnerability, Bunch utilizes Little Sister’s nudity to show that human beings are vulnerable, even emotionally, and yet, in comparison to being fully mechanized, this vulnerability may be preferable, because at least it is still human.

I am including here both the magazine cover and the original illustration.  Unfortunately, the latter is not quite as high quality as the former, but it should be sufficient.

Ed Emshwiller - The Mag of Fantasy & Sci-Fi (cover)

Ed Emshwiller – The Mag of Fantasy & Sci-Fi (cover)

Ed Emshwiller - The Mag of Fantasy & Sci-Fi (cover) (detail)

Ed Emshwiller – The Mag of Fantasy & Sci-Fi (cover) (detail)

Ed Emshwiller - A Little Girl's Xmas in Modernia

Ed Emshwiller – A Little Girl’s Xmas in Modernia

Apparently there are other Moderan stories which feature these characters, including one called A Little Girl’s Spring Day in Moderan (which, unfortunately, is not included in the Moderan collection).  As a treat for you all, I am going to include the full text of the story in this post!  Enjoy!

***************************************************************************************

A Little Girl’s Xmas in Moderan

by David R. Bunch

It was in Jingle-Bell weather that Little Sister came across the white yard, the snow between her toes all gray and packed and starting to ball up like the beginnings of two snowmen. For clothing she had nothing, her tiny rump sticking out red-cold, and blue-cold, and her little-jewel knees white almost as bones. She stuck up ten stiff fingers, and she said, “Daddy! Something is wrong at my place! Come see!” She lisped a little perhaps and did not say it all as precisely as grownups, because she was just past four.

He turned like a man in the bottom third of bad dreaming; he pointed two bored eyes at her. Damn the kid, he thought. “What the hell deal has Mox got us into now?” he said. And he sang the little rhyme that made the door come open. Then as she stepped toward him he saw the snowballs on her feet. They were melting now, making deep furrows in the green rug spread across his spacious thinking room. The tall nap, like flooded grass now along little canals bending away from her feet, was speckled white here and there with crumpled paper balls. His trial plans and formulas peeped out like golf balls.

Coming back across the iron fields of nightmare that always rose to confront him at such times, he struggled to make the present’s puzzling moments into sense. Damn the kid, he thought, didn’t wipe her feet. All flesh, as yet – her own – and bone and blood, and didn’t wipe her feet. The snow melts!

He motioned her to him. “Little Sister,” he began in that tired dull-tinny voice that was his now, and must be his, because his larynx was worked all in gold against cancer, “tell me slowly, Little Sister. Why don’t you stay in your plastic place more? Why don’t you use the iron Mox more? Why do you bother me at all? Tell me slowly.”

“Daddy!” she cried and started to jig up and down in the fits that he hated so, “come over to my place, you old boogie. Something needs fixing.”

So they went across the big white yard to her place, past Mother’s place, with her snow-hurt limping and naked, and him lumbering in strange stiff-jointedness, but snug in a fire-red snuggie suit of fine insulation with good black leather space high-tops. Arrived at her place he whistled at the door the three sharp notes. The door moved into the wall and Mox the iron one stood sliding the iron sections of his arms up into one another until he had only hands hanging from shoulders. It was his greeting way. He ogled with bulb eyes and flashed his greeting code.

“What would you have done,” her father said, “if I had not come with you? You brought no whistle for the door.” Three sharp notes sprang at him from the normal holes of her head, and the heavy door rolled softly out of the wall until it shut them in the gay red-carpeted room with a Xmas tree – the father, the naked little girl and the iron Mox. And she was impishly holding the whistle between her teeth, grinning up at him. “I had it all along,” she said and dropped the whistle into the tall red grass of her room’s carpet.

She wiped the waning snowballs from her feet and sidled her icy-cold rump over toward the slits where the heat came through the wall, soft and perfumed like an island summer. Her knees turned knee-color again and her rump became no longer vari-colored cold. It became the nicest of baby-pink little-girl rumps, and she stood there a health-champion of a little miss, all flesh and bone and blood – as yet – pointing at an angle toward the ceiling. “The star!” she said. “The star has fallen down.” And he noticed that she was pointing toward the tree.

“What star?” he started to say, across the fog that always smelled like metal in his mind these last few years, and then he thought, Oh hell, she means the Xmas star. “You came across all that yard,” he asked incredulously, “to annoy me with a thing like that, when Mox – ?”

“Mox wouldn’t,” she broke in. “I asked him and asked him, but he wouldn’t. It’s been down since the fifteenth. You remember when those dumb students went home in their jets early and fast and broke the rules and shook the houses down. BOOM! and the star fell down. Just like that. Well, he’d just do silly when I asked him, like you just now saw him, just shake his arms up into his shoulders and ogle. Pretty darn dumb, if you ask me.”

“But what about your mother?”

“I asked her when I was over to her place, over a week ago. But she’s been too busy and tired. You know how Mama is, always having that plastic guy rubbing parts of her, that she says hurt, and jumping on the bed at any little thing. Sometimes I think that guy’s in love with Mama. What’s love?”

What?! What’s love? Should I tell you, did I know? Love is – is not an iron ceiling on a plastic . . . But – oh, never mind! Hell! – How’s her star?”

Twinkle twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a mama in the sky. Heard that on the programs advertising diamonds.”

“Just answer the questions. How’s her star?”

“Up real shiny, last I saw. But heck, Mama probably never even looks at her star, because that plastic guy – ”

“And Little Brother’s star?”

“Humph, Little Brother! Beat his star up about a week after we put ’em up. Said it was just what he needed for the rear end of his space tube. You know how Little Brother is about space.”

“And so yours is the only star that has fallen. Mother’s is still up, though she doesn’t have time to look at it, you think. Little Brother took his down in the interest of space. Yours just fell.”

“Daddy, where is your star, Daddy?”

He looked at her, and he thought, Damn these little girls. Always so much sentiment. And so schemy, too. He said, “I had Nugall store my star away. It’s somewhere with the tree, in a box. It interfered with my deep thinking. I’ve got to have entirely a bare room, so far as Xmas trees are concerned, for my deep thinking, if you don’t mind.”

For just a moment he thought she was going to get the sniffles. She looked at him, float-eyed, her face ready to buckle and twist into tearful complaint. But she held and stared at him more sternly, and he said, “Sure, I’ll fix the damned star for you. Drag me a chair over. And then I must rush right back to my place.” (Dangerous, this being together so much. And so old-fashioned. And besides, he had been really cooking on a formula when she burst in.) So he stood on the chair she dragged to him, and he fixed the frosti-glass star to its hook in the iron ceiling and he adjusted the star until it was almost impossible to tell that it wasn’t attached to the green plastic tree. Then he whistled at the door.

Just as he was passing through the opening, leaving, he felt something tug at a leg of the fire-red suit. Damn! It was she again. “What now?” he asked.

“Daddy!” she piped, “you know what, Daddy? I thought, what if we’d go over to Mother’s and Little Brother’s places, since it’s Xmas. And you’ve got on your red suit. Isn’t this a very special day? I’ve been hearing on the programs – ”

“No,” he said, “it isn’t a very special day. But if you want to – and you’d probably do a fit about it if you didn’t get to – come on.” So after she had put on a green snow suit, they trudged across the white yard, a strange study in old Xmas colors, and they stopped first at Little Brother’s place, who was just past five.

Dressed in a pressure suit and sturdy beyond all sense, from the weight lifting and vitamin taking and breakfast-of-champions eating, he wanted to know what the hell all the nonsense of a visit was about so early. And he let them know that Nogoff, his iron man, was taking care of everything at his place very well, thank you. Then he strode about in his muscles, sturdy beyond all meaning, and he showed them the new jet tube part he had hammered out of the star, and they left pretty soon from his surliness. On the way over to Mother’s place Little Sister suggested that she thought Little Brother thought too much about rockets and jets and space. Didn’t Father think so? Father agreed dully that maybe he did, he didn’t know, but really, could one ever think too much about rockets and jets and space?

As they walked along, over the yard to Mother’s place, she kicked up snow and chortled and laughed and told off-color jokes – she had heard them on the programs – almost like a normal little girl should. Father tracked dourly through the unmarked snow under the featureless gray sky and thought only how all this nonsense of walking so early was making the silver parts of his joints hurt, and before he’d had his morning bracer, too. Yes indeed, Father, for the most part, was flesh only in those portions that they had not found ways to replace safely. He held on grimly, walking hard, and wished he were back in his hip-snuggie thinking chair where he worked on Universal Deep Problems.

At Mother’s place they found her having one of her plasto-rubs from the plastic man, who did truly act a little odd about Mother. Do you suppose he wasn’t really all machine but was a man who had been replaced part by part until it was impossible now to tell where the man left off and the robot plastic began? Father worried about it for half a second and then dismissed it. So what if he was? What could he do to Mother? And what if he did, what would it matter? Mother – new alloys now in almost all the places.

Little sister yelled MERRY XMAS! at the top of her good flesh lungs, and Mother turned through the waist only, as though on a swivel in that portion, and Father coughed dry in the metal of his embarrassment.

“’Twas Little Sister’s idea,” he mumbled. “So sorry, Marblene. I guess Mox hasn’t been watching her programs right, her insisting on Xmas trees and all this year, and now the idea of a visit among the folks of the family. I’m sorry, Marblene.” He coughed again. “So out of date.”

Mother blazed at him from her very plain blue eyes that were almost all ‘replaced’ now. It was clear that she wished to continue her rub with the plastic man as soon as possible. “Well?” she demanded.

“That’s all,” he mumbled, “if Little Sister’s ready.” Then for some silly reason – he couldn’t explain it afterwards, unless it was because he wasn’t all ‘replaced’ yet – he said a silly thing, something that would obligate him months hence. “Do you – I mean, would you – I mean, could I,” he stammered, “could I see you a couple of minutes, maybe at Easter? Our places are just across the yard from each other, you know. Maybe when I’m all ‘replaced’ I won’t be able to walk.” He hated himself for pleading.

She airily tossed her left hand, and fluttered those fabulous ‘replaced’ plastic fingers, and great rays of light shot and quavered and streamed from rings of ‘moderne’ diamond. “Why not?” she said resignedly. “What’s to lose? If Jon’s through in time – ” Jon was her plastic man – “we’ll talk a bit on Easter.”

And so it was done, and over, and soon they were again outside in the yard. “I guess I won’t have to walk you back will I? You have your whistle, don’t you?” he said.

“No,” she said. “I dropped it in the red rug. I just remember I did. I heard it. It squished down in the wet. While the snowballs were melting. Maybe I could come to your place!”

Damn these little girls, he thought. So tricky. Always scheming. He’d have to start having her ‘replaced’ as soon as he could after Xmas.

“There’s nothing of interest at my place,” he hastened to say. “Just my hip seat and my thinking space and Nugall.” He didn’t see any use to tell her about Nig-Nag, the statue woman who wasn’t quite all metal, that he kept under the bed until he needed her so much that he had to . . . there were some things that you just didn’t tell a daughter, not until she was much older or well on the road toward being all ‘replaced.’ “Tell you what we’ll do,” he said. “I’ll walk you back to your place and I’ll whistle at the door and you can go in to Mox. Your star’s all fixed and everything. You’ve had quite a Xmas!”

So they walked back through the iron-cold snow to her place, under a sky that was rapidly thickening in a day turning black. And as her door glided open he felt so relieved that he stooped and kissed her on top of the head, and he tapped her playfully a little on her good flesh buttocks as she passed through the plastic entrance. When she was gone he stood there thinking a little while outside her house. Like an old man in the starting third of a good dreaming, he stood nodding, prompted perhaps by things from a time before the time of ‘replacements,’ wondering maybe if he had not paid some uncalculated and enormous price for his iron durability.

While he stood thus idly musing, a light high and wee came up suddenly – from eastward, from toward the coast airports – and moved fast down the murky sky toward him, gaining speed. Soon the countryside all around recoiled from a giant blow as the barrier burst. He heard Little Sister behind him scream and beg for him to come back, and he knew without looking that her star was off its iron hook again. Like some frightened monster eager to gain its lair he dug in harder with his metal feet and lumbered off across the yard to his place, anxious to rest again in his hip-snuggie chair, desirous to think further on Universal Deep Problems.

The light, unswerving, went on down the sky, high and wee, like a fleeing piece of star, like something for somewhere else in a great hurry.

 

 

 

The Girls of Summer, Pt. 1

Well, it’s high summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means young girls are out playing in the water, on the beach, or in the yard.  In some parts of the world they are even doing so (gasp!) partially or fully nude.  Others are wearing swimsuits or thin summer outfits.  The beauty and innocence of a child frolicking under a blazing summer sun, free of guilt and bodily shame, is a sight we could all use more of, frankly.  And so, in honor of those children who are out there enjoying the rays this summer, here is the first in a three-part series featuring little girls doing precisely that, all perfectly captured by an assortment of painters and photographers from around the world.  So look at these images and smile, because someday, if the morality thugs and environment polluters continue to have their way, it may be a rare thing to behold.

The first image is in honor of the holiday Americans just celebrated, the Fourth of July.  I don’t recall where I obtained this image, and a search of the artist’s name reveals nothing.  It may have been mislabeled at the site I got it from; that kind of thing happens a lot on the internet, unfortunately.  I also wish it was a wee bit larger, but this will have to suffice.  I intended to post this on the Fourth but didn’t get it out in time.

Carol Lauren - (Title Unknown)

Carol Lauren – (Title Unknown)

The next image is from Indian journalist and photographer Sebin Abraham Jacob, who goes by Sebinaj on DeviantArt.  It’s called Rejoice, and I can’t imagine a better title.  I love the texture of the stone walkway behind the girl and how nicely it contrasts with her softness.  I also love her fancy shoes, which seem almost out of place and slightly too large for her feet.

Sebinaj - Rejoice

Sebin Abraham Jacob – Rejoice

DeviantArt: Sebinaj

Karl Jóhann Jónsson is an Icelandic painter, primarily of portraits.  I really like the unique perspective on this little girl, Emilia.  There are other paintings of the same girl, whom I presume is his daughter, on his site, so take a look around.

Karl Jóhann Jónsson - Emilía í sundi

Karl Jóhann Jónsson – Emilía í sundi

Karl Jóhann: Portrett og fleira (official site)

These next two pieces are actually English travel posters from early to mid-20th century.  The first is for Burnam-on-Sea, a coastal town in Somerset, England.  All I was able to glean from the web on the artist is that his last name is Durmon.  It looks to be from about the 1940s.  If anyone else can provide more information here, it will be greatly appreciated.  Although there is no text provided, the second image is a poster for another English coastal town, Clacton-on-Sea, dating from 1953, with art by Mervyn Scarf.  I’ve included these for the express reason that they both demonstrate that it wasn’t that long ago when the English followed the general European trend for little girls’ bathing costumes.  As you can see in both examples, the little girls are topless.  There are other examples out there showing the same, but these two should suffice.

Durmon - Burnham-on-Sea (poster)

Durmon – Burnham-on-Sea (poster)

Mervyn Scarf - Clacton-on-Sea (poster) (1953)

Mervyn Scarf – Clacton-on-Sea (poster) (1953)

This next photograph is by Sally Mann.  Although I have a couple of Mann’s books, this image was actually taken from a small compilation volume I have called Love and Desire.  That is, of course, Mann’s daughter Jessie striking the pose on what appears to be a boogie board of some sort.  I have never seen this image in any other source, so I was quite happy to discover the book had a Mann photo in it.

Sally Mann - Venus Ignored (1992)

Sally Mann – Venus Ignored (1992)

Sally Mann (official site)

This image is by the painter Rafael Concilio and dates from 2001.  That’s really all I can tell you.

Rafael Concilio - A Toy Ship (2001)

Rafael Concilio – A Toy Ship (2001)

Here is a photograph by Oleg Itkin.  I do not recall where I pulled this from, probably a Russian photography site.  Such sites were a goldmine of beautiful images of children back in the early ’00s, and I discovered a lot of fantastic new photographers this way.  This piece reminds me a lot of the work of Jock Sturges in its simplicity.

Oleg Itkin - Vintage

Oleg Itkin – Vintage

And speaking of Russian photographers, one of the best is Dolphine (a.k.a. d’elf), who mostly shoots images of little girls (and occasionally little boys) doing gymnastics.  If you are interested in child gymnastics, you will find more images than you could ever want at Dolphine’s website.  Be sure to check the links at the bottom of her page for more beautiful work.  Here are two pieces from Dolphine.

Dolphine - Small Pantheon

Dolphine – Small Pantheon

Dolphine - Summer 2

Dolphine – Summer 2

d’elf (official site)

This next one is somewhat different from the theme of this post, but I quite like it and wanted to include it anyway.  It is a painting by Jimmy Lawlor called, appropriately enough, The Height of Summer.  Lawlor has several lovely surrealist/fantasy paintings featuring children, so don’t forget to peruse his site!

Jimmy Lawlor - The Height of Summer

Jimmy Lawlor – The Height of Summer

Jimmy Lawlor (official site)

Wai Ming is an Asian painter of some renown, noted for his beautiful and sensitive portraits of children, especially girls.  Here is a perfect example.

Wai Ming - The Lovely Summer

Wai Ming – The Lovely Summer

Wai Ming (official site)

Nikolai Filippov is yet another Russian photographer who tends to focus his camera on the young girl, though his specialty is ballet.  This image of a nude boy and girl walking down the beach is all kinds of charming.

Nikolai Filippov - Game Beside the Sea II (1972)

Nikolai Filippov – Game Beside the Sea II (1972)

And now we move on to Russian painters.  Anna Lebedevna (not to be confused with Anna Ostroumova-Lebedevna) is a contemporary academic painter, and that’s about all I know of her.  She doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online, unfortunately.

Anna Lebedeva - Summer (1999)

Anna Lebedeva – Summer (1999)

Svitlana Galdetska is a contemporary Ukrainian painter who specializes in paintings of her own daughter.  This image is one of several lovely ‘girl on beach’ images from her series Space Around Me.

Svitlana Galdetska - My Summer

Svitlana Galdetska – My Summer

Svitlana Galdetska (official site)

Contemporary photographer Frank H. Jump mostly focuses on vintage and decaying signs and murals, but here he trains his camera on an adorable little girl at the beach.

Frank H. Jump - Girl on Beach, Ft. Tilden, Queens (2002)

Frank H. Jump – Girl on Beach, Ft. Tilden, Queens (2002)

Fading Ad Campaign (official site)

I don’t know the photographer of this next image, but it is a page taken from the magazine Marie Claire Italia.  I do know that the adult woman in the image is French actress and model Laetitia Casta.

(Photographer Unknown) - Marie Claire Italia, June, 1995

(Photographer Unknown) – Marie Claire Italia, June, 1995

Stanley Goldstein is a modern painter with a photo-realistic style.  There are some beach and other outdoor images at his site that could’ve easily fit here, but I preferred this painting of children frolicking in a water fountain.

Stanley Goldstein - Fountain I (2008)

Stanley Goldstein – Fountain I (2008)

Stanley Goldstein (official site)

Here’s an unusual photo by Luiz Cavalcante, whose work I have featured here before.  This little girl looks like she’s having a blast, doesn’t she?

Luiz Cavalcante - Little Jumping Girl

Luiz Cavalcante – Little Jumping Girl

Our final piece is by Shannon Richardson.  I’ve posted this once before, but I want to post it again.  Ah, what was better when you were a kid than playing outside while eating ice cream, eh?

Shannon Richardson - Grass Skirts

Shannon Richardson – Grass Skirts

That’s it for this batch.  Stay cool out there, people.

Shannon Richardson (official site)