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August 18, 2006

Going For A Ride?

Adoption

Did you notice this shot on the front of Thursday’s NYT?

The accompanying article (Overcoming Adoption’s Racial Barriers) examined the increasing tendency for white families to adopt black children.  I thought the examination of the issue was pragmatic and even-handed.  It was also gratifying to see a prominent write-up dealing with the dynamics of parenthood.  (If I had any complaint, the piece mostly avoided the economic and social roots of the “supply chain,” in which white middle class families are the “beneficiaries” at the expense of what one assumes are mostly poor, urban black ones.)

Where I mostly had a hang up, however, was with this image.  I found it misleading, and exploitive of those sensitivities the article otherwise handles well.  Maybe it’s the fact the JonBenet Ramsay case just broke, but the image seems to play more to abduction than adoption.  It might have been different if it was a woman holding the child.  Instead, the “language” — the guy turning his back to us, and ducking his head — reads like shame, or some sense of the covert.  And the child’s expression?  It has a “Who is this (white) guy, and where’s he taking me” feel to it.



(image: Mark Schiefelbein for The New York Times.  August 17, 2006.  nyt.com)

  • Terri K

    I am not really seeing the racial aspect in the photo, although it is obvious the two are of different races. The man could be Asian with his skin coloring…
    I do see the questioning look in the child’s eyes, and my impression is that she is looking behind her at something that grabbed her attention – surprised her maybe.
    She does look comfortable though while the man (to me) looks thoughtful, introspective.
    I cannot comment on the article since I have not read it yet. However, I can understand your point re: “supply chain” and those it effects.
    As you say, with the Ramsey story breaking, it is hard to examine a photo like this without the emotions of the news interfering with the visual. Or should I say impacting the visual.
    There is no disagreement with your take. This is just my impression.
    I like this website. I find the visual disections really very interesting.

  • ummabdulla

    “Instead, the ‘language’ — the guy turning his back to us, and ducking his head — reads like shame, or some sense of the covert.”
    That’s a good description.
    I don’t think the little girl necessarily looks like she’s being abducted, though.
    You could also see it as her looking over at something that scared her, and a man rescuing her from it. Without knowing what the article was about, I wouldn’t think of him as being her father, though. (Maybe I’ve seen too many photos lately of rescue workers carrying children.)
    His white shirt, which takes about at least 1/3 of the photo, definitely plays up the color of the girl’s skin.

  • mugatea

    The father figure could be walking down some stairs, or there might other children at his feet – the girl could be watching an ice cream truck drive by … As it’s presented, you just can’t tell. Her arm seems to be relaxed over his shoulder. I agree with you that this photo is potentially misleading – especially with the JBR story hitting the fan.
    This is an editor’s choice to use this, I’m sure there were plenty more shots to choose from.
    Contrast is beneficial in newspaper printing of photos.
    If a child is up for adoption and a nice person/couple is there for them, it’s a good thing.
    I like this photo – issues of peace, love, not war. Moving forward, not back.

  • Charles Gerlach

    As a father of mixed race adopted kids, I read the article and viewed the picture with great interest.
    I am not sure about your concern on exploitation is warranted.
    As a family though, we are often viewed with a person’s very particular filters. Some see saints saving these urchins. Others see white middle class exploiters of the poor and dark skinned. Some, when they view me or my wife separately, think we are sluts who have kids with multiple partners. Others think the kids are delinquents in foster care.
    Ya’ know . . . we really just wanna be parents to our kids, and our kids to be kids.
    Dear bag readers, when you see a picture like this, don’t read anything more into it than this: Hey, look at that dad and that lovely child. And then ask God to bless ‘em.
    Thanks.

  • Lightkeeper

    Charles,
    Despite your very reasonable point, I still think this image does have connotations of being kidnapped. Because we analyze the image rather than the thing, I would like to point out that I don’t think any of us really believe what the visual construction is telling us. We are simply pointing out what that visual construction is and what it implies for interpretation.
    The fact that this man is looking away from us, and the child is longing looking in the other direction, one can’t help but see something insidious into the pic. On top of this is the racial politics, particularly emphasized by the man’s white shirt. Scanning the article, it seems to have at its underlying premise the idea that these poor Black people need to be rescued, and the only ones who will (or is willing) to save them is these nice white folks. However, I think the image tells us something different. Perhaps: this white folk is the reason why so many Black kids are being ‘kidnapped’ and dying in the first place. (Not this man himself of course, but the overlying insitutionalized structures which deny Black folk the same rights as those of white folk).
    I don’t know. Maybe this is all drivel. But when I saw this image on the NYT I somehow knew it would be popping up here. Well done BAG!

  • slouching_toward_paranoia

    I think the thing that I saw was the white shirt, which somehow dredged up images from the old civil rights struggles in the south, the early 1960s. Men used to wear white shirts back then and a lot of them show up in pictures, often of the marchers themselves. I had a moment when I wondered if this picture was from then or now.

  • http://www.wreckingboy.com/madworld Nezua-Limón Xoloquinta-Jonez

    The picture just seems odd. The girl is so dark, and the man so nattily white (yes I am figuring in the starchy shirt and conservative haircut) that one cannot help but think “what the hell is going on?” Sorry, Charles, but nobody can look at this initially and be like “oh what a loving dad and his daughter…” because humans who look like this girl generally have “dads” that look similar. It reads like the White man (symbol, because he has no face and is thus generalized as an icon) carrying a black girl. And in my mind I say…Why?
    PS: Asians have a yellow/olive based skin color. This man has a pink base. I know it may be subtle, but he doesn’t look Asian.
    And…it’s not a good idea. Black kids should be with black families. I don’t see a need for White people to come along and speed up the colonization process any more than necessary.
    The picture itself makes me uncomfortable. Because I can’t help but wonder who is going to make this girl feel that black is beautiful, and not with words but with thier dark brown eyes and their dark brown skin as they smile down at her; by being black, and by modeling what that should be. Michael Jackson shows us the danger of the Brown wanting to aspire to be like the White society that bore up his success. You don’t give a panda bear a polar bear cub to raise. I think it’s a bad idea. Unless you want the polar bear to think it’s a panda when it grows up…or denigrate itself because it’s not.
    I know Charles and his wife (commenter above) just “wanna be parents.” My issue is not with the intent. My problem are the effects in the child the most loving parents cannot control. And my problem is with the inherent colonization of thought that goes on in White America. The subtle undercurrents of racism that I’ve spoken about in past posts here at tha Bag; the ones that are so hard to see if you are the beneficiary of their prejudice. I don’t mean to single Charles the Commenter, he sounds loving (but he did offer himself up as an example). But I think it’s a bad idea in the long run. Nobody needs to save black people by placing them in white families. Save them by attacking the institutionalized racism in this country; by speaking out, by changing laws and perceptions about tha Brown. Adopt children of your own color. Leave brown people with their own kind. Let black people adopt black kids.
    As a brown person who was raised in a white family, my feelings and thoughts are based on more than conjecture. But yes, I have my own filter, as we all do.

  • margaret

    If people of colour would adopt children of colour, then white “folks” wouldn’t need to. The photo is not alarming to me (it is a tender picture), as I have caucasian friends who adopted a bi-racial boy. They have been accosted, repeatedly, by hostile people who want to know where the “got” the child! Charles’ remarks are right on target. Congratulations, to him for caring about children. It doesn’t matter what colour they are. When they need loving and a home, and someone wants to take on that responsibility, they should not be looked at with suspicion. Nezua, above, needs to adopt a “brown person instead of criticizing white people who do.”

  • gasho

    Bag – you’ve been looking at too many images of violence and struggle. Chill out.
    I see the clean-shirted, well groomed fellow’s downward glance as humble, caring and somehow even thoughtful. I see him watching his step as he carries his little girl along the path of life.
    She has a nice sundress on (?) and colorful rubber bands in her hair. Curious eyes glancing off camera while lightly holding daddys arm.
    How much more benign does it need to be to be OK?

  • http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2006/08/a_little_dark.html#comments Chris

    I think it might be just a case of trying to be subtle in implying something in the caption which isn’t necessarily in the photo. If this picture actually shows a new adoptive parent going off with a new child for the first time, that’s one thing, but I doubt that’s what’s happening. Kids are kids, and they like to look around; it’s wonderful because they haven’t acquired blinkers yet.
    This is just Photojournalism 101, showing someone looking off to the side, making something “artistic.” A shot of the family together might have been more to the point, if less dramatic.
    At least, judging from the numbers given, it’s not the start of a new yuppie trend. In certain parts of the New York metropolitan area, it’s pretty common to see parents with their Chinese kids, usually little girls, and frequently in matched pairs. Kids from countries like Roumania were the thing for a short while but that slowed down when people realized just how damaged a lot of those children were. Life should be perfect, I’m told.

  • lemondloulou54

    Baggums, Don’t be sidetracked by Jon Benet. That story will turn out to be a lot of hokm, just like the London liquids case, the Kobe Bryant story, and yes, even OJ. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.
    And kudos to everyone who adopts.

  • Anna

    I don’t see anything wrong with this picture. To me it’s a girl in a man’s arms. I’m guessing the man is looking down towards his feet to be certain he doesn’t trip (I do that with my own child) and fall. It appears to me that something caught the girl’s attention–maybe someone on a bike or a squirrel.
    Maybe we’re so used to seeing or looking for something menacing in a picture that it’s difficult for us to see a picture in its innocent form.

  • http://stiffmittens.blogspot.com Stiff Mittens

    I also don’t think she looks like she’s being kidpnapped. To me it looks more like a bittersweet moment for her, as if she is leaving all she has known in her life for a new life and even though she believes she may be better off she can’t help feeling a sense of loss for her old life. I know that’s attributing some pretty complex emotions and insights to such a young child, but that’s what the image evokes in my mind. The other thing the image brings to mind is far more disturbing. After looking at the photo for a moment or two, the phrase “white man’s burden” came unbidden into my mind. The man in the photo seems somewhat reluctant or somehow put-upon by the situation. Am I being told that I should feel pity for the white man who feels he has to pick up the slack of this young girl’s indigent origin? Or am I being told that he is a reluctant hero, his back to the camera because he doesn’t want to take credit for the nobility of his actions? That white folk are doing more than their fair share to ameliorate the plight of the impoverished? Who took the photo and more importantly, who selected it to go along with the article? I see that Mark schiefelbein is from Missouri and has an entry on SportShooter.com (an onnline resource for sports photography). I’d wager the photo editor was a white male also.

  • http://bncthor.us bncthor

    Interesting. But, I wonder why it can’t be viewed simply as one human being adopting as another human being.

  • Doris

    I don’t read that much into this photo as others do. It’s actually a great candid shot for all its ambiguity.
    BAG, what if the photo that was chosen was of Mr. Mebreur and his daughter facing the camera squarely with big smiles on their faces, or of them playing together on the front lawn, or simply walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. Would any of those actions make you feel better because of the positive body language? What kind of a photo would you think would not be exploitative?
    Also, cross-race adoption issues have nothing to do with the tragedy of JonBenet Ramsay. The only thing these two topics have in common is that they are about children.
    The photo is of Mr. Mebreur, carrying his adopted three year old daughter, Maggie, somewhere. The child looks relaxed in his arms. She wasn’t abducted and she isn’t in peril (read below). Also, Mr. Mebreur’s shoulders are relaxed, his body language does not telegraph anything more to me than a grown man looking down, perhaps tired, perhaps in thought, maybe his shoe lace isn’t tied and he’s thinking that he should probably tie it before he trips — who knows, the action isn’t discussed in the article, so we’ll never know the internal context.
    Here’s the exerpt from the NYT article:
    “A white judge initially denied Nick and Emily Mebruer’s petition to adopt a black child, ruling that the Mebruers, a white couple who live in rural Lebanon, Mo., were “uniquely unqualified” to parent a black child because of their limited interaction with black people and culture. The ruling was overturned, and their daughter, Maggie, is now 3.
    “We felt like it was an indictment of us and our entire community,” said Mrs. Mebruer, a family doctor, as Maggie played with a black doll in the center of the living room and danced to the Australian children’s group the Wiggles. “It was assuming that we didn’t have the desire or the capacity to learn.”
    The Mebruers did not explicitly set out to adopt a black child. But when the Kansas City office of Catholic Charities called one spring afternoon to say that an infant was available and that they needed the couple’s decision within hours, the race of the child, Mr. Mebruer said, was secondary.”
    We all bring so much of our own baggage to our perceptions of art, photography, theatre, etc. I think, BAG, that you are reading way too much into the photo.

  • Katie

    Nezua, the article mentions how the family had been stocking up on black baby dolls and Barbies, and lots of children’s books in which the message is “black is beautiful.” I know that’s no substitute for loving black parents, but it’s better than her being carted around through foster homes, right?

  • Barney

    To me this photo tells a lot about interracial adoptions. (1) It’s not easy being black in white America.
    (2) To do anything interracial is difficult whether it is adoption, marraige, dating, even friendships. (3) I think the photo portrays that both the man and the child realize that what they embark on will not be easy. But at least a child may have a better chance at life and that is what is the most important thing and makes the difficulties worth while.

  • Barney

    I first post my thoughts then I read others. That way I don’t feel influenced by others remarks. I noticed a lot of people on this post saying why should we even worry about this photo or people are reading too much into this photo, etc. But remember a picture speaks a thousand words. And this photo was taking by a photo journalist for a news publication. The image is supose to convey some story that the photographer and or editor wanted to express. That is if the photographer and editors are doing their jobs correctly that is what should happen.

  • ray

    Bag — You are reading far too much into this picture. It’s just a kid on a man’s shoulder. best, ray

  • readytoblowagasket

    The photograph is of the child, but most comments focus on the parent. The article too is more about the parents than the children, and maybe that’s why The BAG felt the photograph was “misleading.”
    The girl is very expressive but she doesn’t have even the trace of a smile. Eyes wide, eyebrows raised, mouth downturned, she looks worried. We don’t know if she’s worried or if she just woke up from a nap, but whatever she’s responding to, the father’s bowed head indicates he’s possibly unaware of her concern. She looks alone in her thoughts. And like all kids, she’s being carried away somewhere.
    The BAG said: “the image seems to play more to abduction than adoption.”
    Interesting choice of words “abduction” vs. “adoption.” There’s a site called Transracial Abductees, where Asian Americans who were raised in white families can vent their anger and frustration about growing up without an ethnic/racial identity. “Abduction” has several references/meanings to the writers.
    “It’s important to talk about this because nothing else we’ve seen out there is politicized in this way.” More about politics of such adoptions:
    http://www.transracialabductees.org/politics/
    Other people of color don’t like the idea of transracial adoption either:
    http://blackademic.com/?p=9
    Not everyone is as angry as the Transracial Abductees, of course; here is one woman’s experience as a mixed-race (half Iranian, half white) transracially adopted child (and I’m sure there are others):
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200507180026
    But I found these articles interesting, and helpful for seeing conflict in the photograph I might not have understood otherwise.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    There is something be said about affluent white parents adopting outside of their “race”, and the Bag question about it been a market for poor children is a valid one (I strugled with that question myself). But I don’t believe that this particular picture has that conotation.
    I see a very tired Dad and a wide awake Kid….

  • jt from BC

    Have been going around in circles on this photo and article, what if the child was white and the adopting parents black I’m now asking myself ?

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    We would probably think that it came from a mix marriage, probably a mix second marriage, with the child been from a previous same race marriage/relationship. BTW, one place I notice a lot, and I do mean, a lot of mix race couples was in Lansing, MI. Kind of took me by surprise.

  • http://laloca.org jenny

    Nezua wrote:

    My problem are the effects in the child the most loving parents cannot control.

    parents affect their biological kids in ways they cannot really control, as well. as my mother, a psychologist, once told me: “the best we can do is to try to give our children different neuroses than those our parents gave us.”

    Nobody needs to save black people by placing them in white families. Save them by attacking the institutionalized racism in this country; by speaking out, by changing laws and perceptions about tha Brown. Adopt children of your own color. Leave brown people with their own kind. Let black people adopt black kids.

    i highly doubt that most parents who adopt interracially are doing so to save “black people.” people adopt for many reasons, but in the end it generally comes down to their desire to raise a family.
    are black people affirmatively discouraged from adopting? or are there simply fewer adoptive families than there are black children up for adoption?
    this also leads me down an uncomfortable path regarding the birth children of interracial couples. should the couple divorce, who should get the children? the parent who most resembles them? sounds fishy to me.

  • http://www.wreckingboy.com/madworld Nezua-Limón Xoloquinta-Jonez

    Katie, yes, I agree. That is better than a life in foster homes. Absolutely.
    Jenny, on your first point, yes. But why add to a host of potential neuroses? Of course we all affect everyone in ways we cannot imagine. All the more reason to give pause when you think of doing something like raising a person who ought to be nurtured and validated by a culture and image you cannot presume.
    I don’t think we are always aware of our motives, either. A person may think they are doing something nice, they may intend well…but they may not be entirely aware of all their motives. I sure know I fall into this category at times!
    And I don’t mean to have too many “shoulds.” I get excited and I’m a fast typer. I guess if I took my time more I would eliminate every Should with a more finessed concept. But it’s a shorthand you understand.
    There are too many variables for me to address your last question and hope to give an honest or helpful answer, without knowing all the variables in any specific case. I do not think one answer would blanket or could, all options.
    I think if you are raised with the parent who looks like you, then you are probably doing good. You have the validation you need looking at the parent who reflects that part of your lineage; they can also share the history and culture of your ancestry firsthand with you. NB: My issue is with having NO parent who looks like you.
    Interracial couples are a whole other question. I am the product of one. But was raised in only a White family.
    I only meant to address the issue of a darker skinned person being adopted and raised in a world that could not validate her/his being visually or culturally. I do agree there could be many mitigating factors. And many experiences. But I understand why, as jt offered above, there are many people who grow up to feel…they lost something. And that they suffered for this lack.

  • http://www.wreckingboy.com/madworld Nezua-Limón Xoloquinta-Jonez

    Margaret, with this: “If people of colour would adopt children of colour, then white “folks” wouldn’t need to” you betray your racism. No White people need to adopt “children of colour!” Please. There are many things I might posit need to be done. But that’s not one.

  • Cactus

    A rare man indeed, it looks like he is actually reading directions. And the little girl is holding on to HIM. Maybe she’s wishing he’d let her play in the sand box some more. She’s wide-eyed and alert, not in distress.
    Sorry, Bag, I think you are overreaching with this one.
    Too often, the choice is between a white couple or foster homes till adulthood. That’s a no-brainer for most folks, I’ll bet. As for the problems perceived by inter-racially adopted adults? I want to say get over yourself. Or maybe I should start a blog for children of selfish mothers and absent fathers. Why don’t they try thinking about the good things their parents did for them? Comes a time when you are responsible for who you are and your parents are just that, your parents.

  • PTate in MN

    What strikes me about this picture–and I didn’t read the accompanying story for context–is that we can see the little girl’s face very clearly. We can see that someone has taken very good care of this child: She’s well-groomed and her hair is carefully plaited. Her body is relaxed and curious.
    But Dad is a cypher–we see a white shirt, the back of a neck, big ears, close-cropped hair and a bit of glasses. How interesting that we can tell he is White from so little information.
    I also thought about infertility as I looked at this photo. If they are like most couples, Mom and Dad adopted only after struggling with infertilility. Many people have a powerful biological urge to bear children and experience pain when they realize they are sterile. So they adopt. Now, the picture suggests that the parents who adopted are invisibile,lost to us. The camera’s view centers on this well-cared-for black child.

  • http://laloca.org jenny

    nezua: no offense, but it seems like you may be overlaying the issue with some of your own experiences that may not be applicable to the kids in question.
    i am friends with several families where the adoptive children are not the same race as the parents. in family A, a black girl was adopted by a jewish family in the early 70s; she has an older and a younger brother who are the “natural” of the parents. she is a physician now, married (to a black man), and with two beautiful kids. and they live right across the street from her adoptive parents.
    in family B, a black girl was adopted at age 2 from an orphanage in the early 90s. she’s doing very well, looking at heading off to college soon. she was the flower girl in my first wedding. oh, and her parents are also jews.
    in family c, a half-korean girl was adopted by a lutheran family in the late 1960s. she is by far the most fucked up of the adoptive kids i know (despite most closely resembling the family that raised her).
    IMO, it’s all about the parenting.

  • charles Gerlach

    Okay, how about this interpretaton: the little girl is protecting her dad, whose head is hung down because of all the recriminating skuttle butt from folks who wonder whether this white, conservative, “christian” in a white shirt is stealing that poor black girl in a futile effort to save her from poverty. Her hand on his shoulder looks to me like an act of possession, as in: “He’s my dad, y’all. Leave ‘em alone.” :D

  • charles gerlach

    or shorter me: What the heck are all those people staring at?

  • readytoblowagasket

    I wonder if we can ever see anything clearly when it comes to children or parenting.
    Related reading: For those who don’t know the writers Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich, I would highly recommend reading both, for their fiction and for their nonfiction accounts of adopting Native American children with fetal alcohol syndrome. I mention them because I disagree that adoption can be narrowed down to the success or failure of one factor (namely, environment). I’m not making any leaps to the child pictured above or to anyone in the comment thread; I’m simply saying adoption itself is always a complicated experiment. But I happen to believe all parenting is a complicated experiment.
    Dorris himself was part Native American (Erdrich too), but no amount of talent, education, stubbornness, or fierce idealism could override basic biological factors, for his adopted children or for himself: he suffered from chronic depression and eventually committed suicide. Despite the tragedy of his own life, his writing is beautiful and he brought Native American culture and FAS to national attention. An excerpt from a review of The Broken Cord:
    “Mr. Dorris was warned that the boy had been born almost seven weeks premature; his mother was a heavy drinker who neglected him; he ‘had not been toilet-trained or taught to speak more than a few words. He was diagnosed as mentally retarded.’ In the perfect abstraction of longing to be a parent, Mr. Dorris believed in the ‘positive impact of environment.’ He assured himself: ‘With me he’ll catch up.’
    At their first meeting in the social worker’s office the boy Mr. Dorris calls Adam looked up from his toy truck and said ‘Hi, Daddy.’ It was the beginning of a bittersweet relationship that has gone on for 18 years, lovingly and painfully described in The Broken Cord, the story of a child afflicted by fetal alcohol syndrome and of Mr. Dorris’s personal investigation of the condition that has blighted his son’s life.
    Despite the attention of the best teachers, countless examinations by medical doctors and psychologists and the constant, doting care of his father and family, Adam Dorris never shook his bad start. He struggled through the Cornish, N. H., public elementary school; at graduation in 1983, ‘he could not add, subtract, count money, or consistently identify the town, state, country or planet.’ He went on to high school in Claremont, a half-hour bus ride away. He was sent each day, but could not reliably get on the right bus going in the right direction to get home. He was transferred to a vocational education program at a school farther away. At the age of 20, he still could not count money or tell time. His I. Q. remained a steady 65.”
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DA1638F933A05754C0A96F948260
    Some refs:
    http://www.princeton.edu/~howarth/557/tracks.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Erdrich

  • SEAS

    As the uncle of mixed race children, all I see is a little girl so confident in the love she feels for her dad that she’s at rest in his arms, and secure and curious enough to observe the world around her unafraid while he’s walking (that’s why his right shoulder is lower than his left – his left leg is striding forward, and with the extra weight on his left side, he holds that side a little higher, the way I always carried my daughters), looking at the ground to be sure he doesn’t crash with his precious cargo. In short I see a daddy who loves his daughter who loves him back. I doubt either of them has the slightest awareness of racial issues; that’s something each viewer is imposing on the picture.

  • margaret

    I find it interesting, in reading all these comments, that there is so much speculation about the meaning of the picture vis-a-vis a racist reading. And, because I am colour-blind about children and their need to be in loving homes, nezua insults me, and calls me a “racist.”
    Children without parents need to be adopted, regardless of colour. My friends, who are caucasian, wanted to adopt, at first, a white child, but there weren’t any, except for a very high “price.” That is interesting, in itself. They wanted a child, and it did not matter to them, in the end, what colour he was. They were told that black couples did not want to adopt bi-racial children. That my friends did, showing great courage (in the face of hostile encounters with prejudiced people) and love.
    My suggestion to nezua that he do the same makes me “a racist?” Amazing.

  • jumpyjohnny

    I disagree with the abduction view. The girls body language,the manner she has her arm wrapped around the man is one of attachment (trust?) and the man, although head is hung down is relaxed, not tense.

  • ooofest

    That picture struck me as a dad carrying his daughter, while she (typically) looks around from her lofty perch. Dads tend to watch where they’re going while carrying kids, and slightly older children also bring a weight/balance consideration into play.
    Maybe the little girl is helplessly gazing at something she wanted to go see, or perhaps something pulled on her fleeting curiosity just as the picture was taken.
    There’s a bunch of posts above which seem to indicate a quick judgement towards something nefarious afoot; given today’s tendency towards somewhat sensational reporting of children as criminal victims (not to minimize actual crimes against kids, but the lack of context in some reporting on historical trends, probabilities, etc.), it makes me wonder if such opinions to this picture would have sounded similar 30 years ago.
    I’m partially colourblind and didn’t pick up a serious difference of skin hue, only tone.

  • Mum

    I agree with Terry K above. It appears to me from the lack of tension in the man’s shoulders that he is relaxed, comfortable, lost in thought, perhaps reading something or looking at something in his hand – a cell phone perhaps? The child also looks relaxed, but momentarily distracted by a noise – perhaps someone who knows her father and is calling his name, or a dog barking. As a mother who held her son or daughter on her hip on a regular basis, while he or she was contorting to look at something going on, this is a familiar picture.

  • http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org Nezua Limón Xolagrafik-Jonez

    “color blind.” that’s a good one.

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