Monday, December 3, 2012

No Amount of Insulation is Sufficient

I shot this yesterday while walking down my street at the Jersey Shore. This young boy, who I don't recognize, was in front of the storm-ravaged home of a neighbor. I suppose he was visiting.

He shot me a cold, suspicious look when I aimed the camera his way. Only later, when I returned home and processed this photo, did I realize that I'd caught him in the act of decapitating a rather creepy looking toy figurine that he'd probably found amidst all the Hurricane Sandy detritus. If you look carefully, you can see that he's pulled off the head of the toy that lays on the ground in front of him. For me, that makes his gaze all the more disturbing. He appears to be bothered that someone has interrupted him from his mission. He seems rather unselfconscious, however, over the act of beheading and partly disemboweling this grotesque toy. Almost as if making a photograph is an aberration while ripping heads from bodies is normal.

From my idealist's point of view, it would be nice if we could insulate kids from all the nastiness and ugliness of the world. But the realist and cynic (cynics being nothing but disappointed idealists) in me says this isn't possible. This boy's expression makes me wonder if he's paying a price -- if we all pay a price -- for not insulating children better.

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