BABIES are the subject of a huge and lavish new exhibition at the National Media Museum, at Bradford.
There are lots of vintage baby pictures from the Daily Herald and other archives held at the museum. There are old magazine covers showing the actual process of birth. Visitors will also see pictures of dead babies – a fashionable thing at one time when someone had lost a baby.
Baby competitions at British Holiday Camps in the 1960s are featured in black and white, while the astonishing vogue of American baby beauty pageants – a very expensive venture for mothers – comes across, like the dresses, in vivid colours.
There are photographs from inside the womb, photographs of the Queen Mother with the infant Princess Elizabeth, photographs of children being raised in slum conditions.
This is a most comprehensive show, especially of interest to mothers and mothers-to-be, but everyone should find something to raise their imagination or tickle their fancy.
A short walk from the Media Museum, in the new pub and restaurant complex, is the Impressions Gallery, which moved from York a few months ago.
Here, the 2008 Jerwood Photographic Awards are on view, with £2,500 going to each of the winners – talented artists picked out by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and in the transition from training to professional life. Their work was published in the November 2008 issue of the Portfolio magazine.
Martina Lindqvist, in Ragskar Island, 2008 creates mysterious and unsettling landscapes inspired by the small island off the coast of Finland, which she grew up visiting each summer. The loneliness and sense of isolation of the island are emphasised by the darkness of the images.
Kurt Tong’s People’s Park, 2007, is a series inspired by nostalgic reflection on family snapshots and the artist’s own childhood memories of Hong Kong. He set out to document city parks in mainland China similar to those of his youth, presenting a sorrowful and nostalgic view of the now deserted Communist-era parks.
Nicky Walsh’s untitled minimalist efforts capture the subtle differences in the tonality of everyday mass-produced objects and sterile office environments, revealing their simple elemental forms. Alice Myers, in Rockets 2008 captures the exhilaration, delight and fear of children as they propel themselves through the water, letting go of safety and launching out awkwardly into the unknown.
James Pogson’s Ladykillers, 2008, takes its title form an international women’s Thai kick-boxing tournament held in England. The garishly coloured outfits of the competitors reflect their confidence and self-assurance. The exhibition runs till March 29.