Monday, October 25, 2010

A child's foot

While putting together my portfolio for The Fall Frolic I noticed that there are quite a lot of children's bare feet.  All of the child angels and the likenesses of children are bare footed.  When I was taking photographs of Madeline I had considered putting her in frilly socks but decided against it.  It wasn't so much to "match" the angels or to create some sort of visual associations.  It has to do with perfection. Children are not corrupted by societal norms.  Why should they wear shoes?  It is not the way they were created and they are all born perfect.  What is perfection and why is it most often used to describe children?  Perhaps it's the Tabula rasa. The idea that all newborns are blank slates therefore in some way smooth and flawless.  If children die without any physical/mental/spiritual exposure they remain perfect.  They remain as nature intended them to be.  They remain shoeless.

I remembered a poem by Pablo Neruda.  It is my favorite.  It's rather long so I'll only post the first and last stanza.  Here's a link to the whole poem: To the Foot From It's Child.

To the Foot From Its Child
By Pablo Neruda, translated by Jodey Bateman
(First Stanza)
A child's foot doesn't know it's a foot yet
And it wants to be a butterfly or an apple
But then the rocks and pieces of glass,
the streets, the stairways
and the roads of hard earth
keep teaching the foot that it can't fly,
that it can't be a round fruit on a branch.
Then the child's foot
was defeated, it fell
in battle,
it was a prisoner,
condemned to live in a shoe.

(Last Stanza)
And then it went down
into the earth and didn't know anything
because there everything was dark,
it didn't know it was no longer a foot
or if they buried it so it could fly
or so it could
be an apple.

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