Formation by Christy Karpinski
The photographs in this series are the result of my many years working as a nanny. I have always enjoyed letting go and entering into a world experienced through the senses. This seems to be a point of connection between me and my child friends. We explore and relate on this basic level resulting in images that inhabit this sort of in-between space of adult and child.
In the field of Sociology of Childhood, there is an ongoing discussion of how our understanding and perception of childhood and adulthood is changing. The child/adult distinctions that were once based on the idea of the innocent child who is developing toward the worldly completed adult are changing into something new. Children are no longer thought of as blank slates needing to be given all knowledge and information, they are now the “knowing child,” seemingly wise beyond their years, with our expectations of their responsibility for themselves early in life. And adults are no longer “completed.” We think of ourselves as always evolving or “developing.”
This change in our perception of adulthood and childhood has been reflected in contemporary photography mostly through depictions of the “knowing child,” showing the adult this new way of understanding the “child”. In my photographs I bring the viewer into a world of tiny details and imagination where things are sometimes ambiguous and sometimes very simple and clear. Through identifying with the children in my images and engaging with this visual and sensory based experience of the world, the adult is invited to experience this “child’s view” as their own, to see the world as an adult that is always still becoming or in the midst of formation.