Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unnerved by the Toadstool Farm

I rarely write negative reviews, and I don't mean this to be one - only a question. Occasionally I will google "fairy" just to see what comes up (it's like tossing a crabpot out into the fjord). Today, "My Fairy Baby" came up. It is one of the services/products offered by the Toadstool Farm: they will photograph (or paint) your baby with attached fairy wings, gauze, etc. I have to ask: is anyone else as disturbed by this as I am? This isn't celebrating an aspect of the baby, it's using the baby - like dressing a cat as Little Bo Peep. Except this isn't a cat.


Today I simply cannot put my finger on what is unnerving to me about this. And it may be that My Fairy Baby is actually cute and adorable, and I am missing the point somewhere. Interestingly, I find myself not unnerved by the advertised pictures of twelve-year old children with wings, but for some reason the baby troubles me. I thought I would ask for comments so that I can question this particular application of fairy tale in our culture, and gather the perspectives of others.

4 comments:

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shyrose said...

This child is covered, I do not understand where child porn even comes into play here.

The human body is a work of art. What makes it porn is when there are sexual suggestions, inuendos, poses, ect. Or if it is used to "get off" on.

I am willing to bet that the grand majority of the population has bare bottom pics of themselves as babies. I have a picture or all of my children in each of their baby books getting their very first baths. Nothing pornographic about it. It was a very first bath. No different than taking a picture of them taking their first step or eating a bite of their first birthday cake.

Matter of fact... I am pretty sure I have a picture of my oldest sitting in my mothers kitchen sink naked, covered head to toe in chocolate cake from his first birthday.

Call DCFS and let them know, please. I am pretty sure they will think their is something seriously wrong with you.

It scares me that one would look at this farie picture and see porn anywhere in it. That kind of makes me wonder where ones mind is at...

Jacqueline said...

I am the owner of the above mentioned website, and the mother of the child in this picture. While I am surprised by this review, I am going to take your comment that you do not mean this to be negative at face value. But I do have a question in return for you...how is this depiction of my daughter any different ( apart from photo quality since it was my own less tha talented shot) than the hundreds of photographs of babies that noted photographer Anne Geddes has done? She, and dozens of professionals like her, have photoshopped babies with wings, pointed ears, sitting in the center of roses, in trees, etc for years and years. For myself, I am using a cherished photo of my child that was hand photoshopped by a dear friend as an illustration for a business I run. Its nothing more or less than that. If you read the About page of the website you'll see there is a reason behind the site and the accompanying photos.

As for the 'person' who accuses this photo of being no better than child porn, oh for Pete's sake! Grow up and get a life. I'd be outraged and deeply offended if it wasn't so patently ridiculous.

Dante's Heart said...

Dear Jacqueline,

No offense was meant by the review, and please know that the first comment (above) has been retracted by the person who made the comment, with apologies for the offense.

I personally find Anne Geddes' work unnerving as well. I have trouble with the concept of the infant as an art object (the infant has no say in the matter - and in Geddes' work the photograph is not a record for a proud parent, but an exhibit for the aesthetic pleasure of anonymous viewers; I do not agree with our first poster that this verges on the pornographic, but I am curious whether there is something inherently exploitative in this art) but I recognize that many viewers get great delight from Geddes' work; I also recognize a difference between her art for art's sake and your service offered to proud parents - I am sure that the parents who receive your art are both proud and joyful, and that the Toadstool Farm does offer a great service to parents. I hope it is clear from our post that we were inviting open discussion. Thank you for taking our own comment at face value - I meant this post to be more of a question thrown on the table than a review.