Childhood with Izidor Gasperlin
The work of Slovenian photographer Izidor Gasperlin spans a diverse array of subjects and styles. His photographs range from intimate black and white portraits to wide, sweeping landscape shots filled with vibrant colors. By creating such a diverse portfolio of work, he is able to constantly surprise his audience and upend their expectations of what he will produce next. In this portrait, he subverts the expectations of the audience by taking a serious and contemplative shot of her child subject.
Rather than attempting to capture an image that portrays the playfulness and blissful happiness of childhood, Gasperlin chooses to showcase the lesser-seen aspects of youth. One of the ways he achieves this goal is by allowing the subject to stare directly into the lens of the camera rather than capturing a more candid shot that would likely depict the subject in a more care-free state. The stare of the child, along with her facial expression, seems to hint at the endless contemplation and curiosity that comes during the formative years of a child’s life, years during which nearly everything still seems strange and confusing. Gasperlin also deliberately has the subject take up the majority of the frame. In doing so, he highlights the loneliness and isolation that children can feel during such a confusing time in their lives.
By creating such a portrait, Gasperlin challenges the commonly held notion that childhood is a simple time in one’s life. He asserts that it is the opposite: a time when the child has to figure out what everything means and how exactly they fit into the world. He asserts that life has never been, and never will be simple. As we grow older, we still look for the meaning behind everything, but both the questions and their answers become ever more complex and elusive. This message should not, however, should not be taken as sad or discouraging, but uplifting. If one can make it through the pure confusion that characterizes the formative days of childhood, then they should have confidence that the knowledge and experience gained during that time will be enough to guide them through all the other challenging stages of life.
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