We were taught to call the process of human development - from baby via youth to adult - “socialization”. By this we mainly refer to the external influence society exerts on adolescents in order to make them adjust to the given world of norms and expectations. Children, however, experience free space again and again and shape it according to their own conceptions. By playing on one´s own or together they define their personalities by routines, rules and conventions. Thus they create a unique world for themselves in which they can position themselves as individuals growing up with their own imagination and their own free will.
Adults remember their childhood in rather different ways, somewhere between romantic transfiguration and traumatic repression. Facts, wishful thinking, projections of fear, one´s point of view, tales told by others, kitsch and sobriety can hardly be distinguished. After our two children were born I soon realised that the fragmented memories of one´s own up-growing can only be of partial assistance. Children´ s experiences can be accompanied but can never be completely followed. With children, you have to go alongside every day and you have to bear their vivid dynamics.
Staying in the park with my children initiated my discussing the issue of “growing up” by means of photography. I wanted to capture moments of childlike experiences – at full scope of individual and social development. For the last three years I have been playing in the park with a group consisting of eleven children aged 4 to 9 years. In addition, there are six younger siblings and their friends. I am interested in how they spend their time and how their personalities change in due course.
My photographical essay deals with the unaffectedness, the joy and the emotional moments of these children. I was astonished how few means and things children need when playing in the open air. They live in and experience the park as a surface for any projections of their wishes and dreams. As an adult, it is difficult to follow the incredible range of children´s imagination. My work shows how they surprise us again and anew and direct our gaze to aspects we hadn’t discovered before.
You may buy the book here: Café Lehmnitz Photo Books