Random Images: Colleen Doran

Here’s a lovely Art Nouveau-style illustration by comics artist and author Colleen Doran. I’m a huge fan of her space opera comics series A Distant Soil, which often features several beautifully rendered child characters.

My next post will be a much larger one, but with Ron out of the country we’ve been on something of a hiatus. Things should be returning to normal near the end of the month.

Colleen Doran – Inexorable

Colleen Doran (Official Site)

Wikipedia: Colleen Doran

Pierre Brun illustration from Revue des Arts Décoratifs

There is virtually no information available about French illustrator Pierre Brun (who is not to be confused with earlier artist Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun, though he may have been related to him). This is one of a handful of works I could find attributed to him, and the only one that really fit the Pigtails theme. It comes from the French art and style magazine Revue des Arts Décoratifs, though I couldn’t tell you which issue or page. Otherwise I might be able to find a better copy of it elsewhere. But this one isn’t bad.  After a bit of cleaning up, that is. It definitely fits into the Art Nouveau mode and was a practice example of a border illustration such as was often found in books of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Pierre Brun – From ‘Revue des Arts Décoratifs’

Pierre Brun – From ‘Revue des Arts Décoratifs’ (detail)

 

Maiden Voyages: June 2019

It is once again time to visit my friend Graham. Pip and Christian will be holding down the fort in the mean time. I will return on June 21st. Be advised that any comments for Ron or “Administrator” will not be approved or answered until I return.

The Garage Press Site at Long Last: When I first heard about Graham Ovenden’s recent publishing efforts, I searched in earnest for any sign on the internet—all to no avail. I am pleased to announce that the official Garage Press website is now in place. Although the purpose of the publishing enterprise is to provide high end museum-quality books, now serious collectors willing to pay for quality will have a chance to order these books as well. Please note that these books cover a range of artistic and academic subjects and do not just focus on young girls. Also, serious postcard collectors will have the opportunity to contribute in an upcoming project about the multitude of wonderful Victorian and Edwardian postcards. You can visit the site here.

Father-Daughter Bonding: Pip found this charming video of a father who learned to do his daughter’s hair.

The Flying Squirrel: I got this lead a while ago and, for some reason, did not get around to publishing it. This one is about a kind of prodigy surfer. You can get started with this video, but there is plenty more on this amazing athlete.

More Medical Contrivances? Ever since I brought up this concept, Moko has been digging around for more examples. He found an interesting photo of a school medical exam in the Soviet Union in 1932. At first he was not sure if it was a medical contrivance. But a little research revealed that the girls did not actually need to be naked for the procedures shown. However, it is possible that having children disrobe for exams was customary for Russia at the time (perhaps to spot other conditions). It seems that students normally wore underwear for the exams except for during a brief and private session with the doctor. Here’s a link to the Russian exam board that references the photo (Note the post dated 15.08.15 01:27). And here’s an example of the boys’ exam.

The Challenges of Lists: I feel we got a good start on the Pigtails films archive, but I am beginning to realize the challenge of deciding whether or not the girl is a substantive part of a film. Even films centered around a little girl may simply be following a Hollywood formula and hardly worthy of note (unless you just happen to be a fan of that particular actress). In the next year, I am planning to add some small comment to each entry, giving readers a better idea of whether a film is worth watching. I would also like to thank those who have so far offered leads that I have missed.

The Child Portraits of Kate T. Parker

Kate T. Parker is a commercial photographer who, in addition to producing images for many global companies, also photographs her own children and their friends. The artist was already working in the advertising industry when she started to photograph her children. At first she was making these images to document and create memories of their childhood, as well as learning how to create photos that matched her idea of what a good photograph looked like. As she had always been submitting images to art galleries it was inevitable that a photographic club, society or gallery would accept some of her images for an exhibition. In 2014, two of Kate’s photographs were accepted by a women’s photography club for an art display that was held at Mason Murer Fine Art. Two months later the gallery owner liked her images sufficiently enough that he offered her a place in another upcoming group exhibition entitled ‘Under My Roof’. The twenty images she displayed were black and white photographs depicting her two children, Alice and Ella, at play. After the show the photographer sent the twenty images to Mymodernmet.com where they agreed to place them in an article. The Huffington Post noticed the web page and went onto create their own article, which subsequently went viral and gathered worldwide attention.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 1)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 2)

Kate’s next project was to create the book Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves and most images in this article come from this publication. The book contains about 175 images of girls who live across America, including her own daughters and their friends. The photographs show the girls playing sport, learning, either at home or in a school, creating art or simply playing and being normal kids. The girls that were photographed were also interviewed and their responses are printed next to their image. Some quotes are simple, yet adorable, for example “I can be whatever I want, even a unicorn” to more inspiring quotes such as “Many girls grew up dreaming of a hero to save them. I grew up dreaming of becoming one”.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 3)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 4)

The book was also created to celebrate the confidence that girls have, as well as to reignite that confidence in girls or women who may have lost that feeling. In an article for Insider magazine the artist described it like this.

Every photo celebrates confidence—something many women lose as they get older. When girls reach puberty, they lose the sense [that] they’re awesome just as they are. As you get older you just lose that sense of confidence. One of the reasons that I started this project was that I didn’t want my girls to lose it. I wanted my girls to have this sort of recollection, these actual physical pictures, like, remember what a badass I was?

 

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 5)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 6)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 7)

The book was released worldwide and has been translated into many other languages; it appeared on the American best selling book list an well as being listed in The Best Books of 2017 (Amazon), Books of the Year and Pick of the Day, 2017 (A Mighty Girl.com), Feminist Kids Books for Dismantling the Patriarchy (NY Mag), and “Heather’s Picks” Chapters/Indigo (Canada).

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 8)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 9)

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (Date Unknown 10)

Kate’s ‘Strong is the New Pretty’ photo collection has continued, and has also increased the number of companies that she does commercial work for. One of these is the Dream Big Princess photo campaign, run by the Disney Company. The #DreamBigPrincess project displays about sixty works from nineteen female photographers and Kate has provided at least five images. The campaign website describes itself as being an inspirational project, though I consider it more a princess rehabilitation project as the “princess image” is being pummeled in the current girl-child empowerment movement that we are currently transitioning through. As princesses are a major source of income for Disney then maybe they fear a reduction in their revenue? Kate, or more specifically her nine year old daughter Alice and friends, turned the idea of being a princess upside down. The artist’s photo series is partly inspirational as the images seek to show us that princesses can act in any way they want. Alice and her friends have literally been dressed as Disney princesses then they were photographed as they played. I have displayed what I think is the best of the five photos and is also the last one, it shows the aftermath of a mud fight the girls have had. Alice is in the foreground dressed as Snow White.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled) (2016)

In addition to commercial work Kate T. Palmer is releasing more books with Strong is the New Pretty: The Guided Journal, published in October 2018 and The Heart of a Boy will be published in April 2019. Her family photographs and art projects are displayed on her Instagram account.

Kate T. Parker – (Untitled Instagram Image) (2018)

A Most Charming Lucky Charm: La Nigüenta

No one is exactly sure what gave rise to one of Costa Rica’s most enduring icons. All we know is that for decades, few Costa Rican homes were without an image or statuette of the nude toddler girl known as la Nigüenta (or sometimes La Niña de la Espina). Her name comes from the fact that she is in the act of picking out a nigua, a tiny bothersome flea whose larva has a habit of burrowing into the human foot, especially the soft bit of flesh between the big toe and the second toe of the human foot, causing extreme itching, swelling and infection. In fact, one nickname of the insect is bicho de pie, or “foot bug” in English. It’s a bit confounding how a child with such an unlucky affliction came to be a symbol of good luck, but that is indeed the case.

Artist Unknown – La Nigüenta (original print)

Some say the original image was inspired by an ancient Greco-Roman sculpture called Spinario (Boy with Thorn), which has a fascinating history in its own right. Others suggest it can trace its history to pre-Columbian shamanic women. If the latter is true, it underscores the cleverness of the natives, hiding a powerful pagan emblem beneath the noses of the Catholic Spanish colonizers in such an innocent and seemingly innocuous form. Whatever its history, honoring and displaying this sweet little girl in the home somehow eventually became one of Costa Rica’s most honored and important agüizotes. As an article from the Tico Times says:

Offerings were left for her to ask for good fortune or a particular favor. Today, she is seen as primarily an enchantment to bring economic prosperity. It helps to tuck a few bills under her base, or to prime the pump, if you will. A Nigüenta received as a gift is a far more potent charm than one purchased.

For that reason la Nigüenta is often given as a gift to older and more traditional Costa Ricans, who proudly give her a place of prominence on their televisions, altars, desks, mantles or coffee tables. Different colored ribbons might also be tied around her neck, depending on what one wanted her to direct her good fortune towards: red for love, yellow for money, blue for health, and so on.

The sculptures come in a variety of styles and colors, from plain one- or two-color ones to elaborately painted affairs.

Ale Rambar – Nigüenta rosada (2018)

Ale Rambar – Nigüenta dorada (2019)

Ale Rambar (official site)

Artist Unknown – La Nigüenta (1)

Artist Unknown – La Nigüenta (2)

Artist Unknown – La Nigüentas for sale (1)

Artist Unknown – La Nigüentas for sale (2)

These days she is apt to appear in advertisements, cartoons or modern reinterpretations.

Artist Unknown – ARS SDS ad

Rafael de los Santos (Poteleche) – La Niña de la Espina (2016)

Poteleche (official site)

Note: The Spanish text of this cartoon says something to the effect of “I’ve been trying to get this thing out for years and no one will stoop to help me.” 🙂

Artist Unknown – La Nigüenta (Holalola poster)

Ale Rambar – La Nigüenta

Gioco Roesch – La Nigüenta

Blogspot: Gioco Roesch de Todo

One can even find examples dressed in the shirts of their favorite soccer teams!

Artist Unknown – La Nigüentas (3)

Random Scenes: The Big Bang Theory

It may be covering well-trodden ground to mention a TV series of this popularity, but I really get a kick out of this scene and the fact that the TV viewing public is able to comprehend the humor of the situation says something about today’s society.

For those who have not seen the series, The Big Bang Theory is kind of a coming-of-age story about a set of socially-awkward, geeky scientists. The most socially arrested of the bunch is Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical scientist. In a Season 2 episode, he realizes that to get something he wants, he has to suck up to one of his colleagues and goes on a quest to figure out how to master making friends. Naturally, he tries to do this using book learning and the results are quite amusing.

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Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady et al - The Big Bang Theory: The Friendship Algorithm (2009)

The premise is interesting. Sheldon in his own social innocence sees no problem in making friends with a little girl (Rebecca played by Jade Zdanow) while his roommate understands the potential hazards and whisks him away from the scene. Zdanow also starred in a short film, Specifically (2010), in which she and a little boy play out a Bergmanesque marriage scenario.

Random Images: K. Pedrós

Here’s an interesting example of killing two birds with one stone brought to my attention from one of our readers. It appears that in 1994, two publishing companies were publishing volumes that included pictorial information on sex education with text in Spanish. The funny thing is that photographs were used that clearly came from the same photo shoot.

The first image appeared in a sex-ed reference called Enciclopedia de la Sexualidad from the Spanish publishing house Editorial Oceano. It was published in four volumes and this picture is from the last volume.

K. Pedrós – From Enciclopedia de la Sexualidad(1994)

The second one is from a Colombian book published in 1994 as well. It is called Atlas de Sexualidad with text by Aurora Otero published by Progama Educativo Visual, S.L. The second book did not have specific credits for Pedrós but there can be no doubt about the source. Are they perhaps of his own kids? And how did the availability of these photos become known to these two publishing firms?

K. Pedrós – From Atlas de Sexualidad (1994)

Maiden Voyages: May 2018

The Pigtails Film Database: I am pleased to announce that the first 400 films or so kept in the Pigtails archive are posted on the ‘Pipeline Films’ page. The task was quite daunting as there were so many entries to list. I also had to come up with a consistent scheme since there were so many films not produced or dubbed in English. Films with an asterisk mean that we are still looking for a digital copy of that film. Also, I have only seen one or two percent of the films so I am taking it on faith that readers have sent legitimate leads and not used poor judgment or mentioned films in which the girl does not have a integral or compelling part in the film. Films in which a girl appears in short scenes will be reviewed in a future ‘Random Scenes’ post while more substantial roles will be given dedicated posts. There is often the question of a cut-off age for Pigtails coverage. There is no such definitive age but films about more mature adolescent girls will not be reviewed here but will remain on the database for the readers’ reference. The current layout is preliminary as there are still the wish list items and those films that have already been reviewed on this site to list. Finally, readers will have a better idea of what we have, what we know about and what we don’t. Readers are urged to follow up with interesting details or concerns about films that should not have been listed on the Pigtails database.

Can Child Protection and Freedom of Expression Co-Exist? The problem with most so-called child protection organizations is that they take a simplistic zero-tolerance approach which very often does more harm than good. Also, their attitude and approach often calls into question their own motivations. I received an interesting email last month from someone in the Prostasia Foundation. Their approach is to remain focused on issues of personal freedom while discussing (and providing feedback) on real ways to protect children. This organization is interested in covering issues from the perspective of the artistic community, and so has reached out to find those interested in contributing an article for their blog or even engaging in a video interview for their podcast. In fact, I have just been informed that there will be an item published soon contributed by an art photographer. I have taken a preliminary look at their site and have so far been impressed with the caliber of the discussion/articles and their political involvement. I recommend readers concerned with overzealous censorship take a look at this organization and either a) inform me of any red flags I may have overlooked or b) take this opportunity to get involved.

Climate Warriors: It appears that school children are taking a stand and striking for the cause of real climate action. It began with 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden and has since gained some political traction. Read more here.

Good Friends: A reader sent a link to a charming video of a 6-year-old Indian girl named Pooja as she went about her day with her special friend Shanti. Check it out.

Richard Müller’s Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan

I’ve been wanting to post something by Richard Müller for ages but up until recently I couldn’t find anything that really fit the blog’s theme. There were some lovely images of boys, including Boy with Snake and David and Goliath, but nothing featuring girls. That was unfortunate, because I really love Müller’s work. He was a German Symbolist and surrealist painter and illustrator, born in what used to be Tschirnitz, Bohemia (now Cernovice nad Ohra, Czech Republic). At fourteen he began attending the School of the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen, Germany. Post-graduation, he entered the Art Academy in Dresden, eventually becoming an instructor at the very same academy. Under the Nazis, Müller, after 35 years as an influential professor and a couple years as president of the Academy, eventually lost his position due to his “subversive tendencies”—any artist who annoyed the Nazis is okay in my book.

Anyway, I thought I’d never get to post anything by Müller here. But then I happened upon this glorious work, Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan, which exceeded any expectations I could’ve had for anything suitable for Pigtails. Not only does it feature a beautifully painted nude young girl but the size and quality of the image was exceptional. In fact, this is reduced to forty percent of the original size, and I had to downsize it by about 500 kilobytes as well. If you want the full-sized image just Google the title; it should come up.

What I particularly fancy about this image is the girl’s pose, which strikes just the right balance between formal stiffness and relaxation: the legs crossed at the ankles, the way her right hand casually toys with her hair, the little pudgy rolls of flesh around her hips, even the look on her face, which could be boredom or sleepiness, gives this girl a humanity and familiarity without pushing her into tawdriness or sexual suggestiveness. She’s a child who is only just becoming aware of her feminine appeal. The silky, dark green ribbons tied into her loosely-braided hair contrasts nicely with the warmth and texture of her skin too. A truly lovely piece.

Richard Müller – Liegender Mädchenakt auf Diwan (1924)

Summer in New York

The day I wrote this in sketch—Tuesday 22 January 2019—a young Dutch model was flying to America, to NY, for the next three years, to work as a model (like Maddie Ziegler) for IMG Models, though based in Paris, London and Milan as well. She, Summer de Snoo, is 9 years old and has been a model since she was 4 years old.

(Photographer unknown) – Summer de Snoo with her mother Jessica in Dutch talk show ‘Jinek’ (2019)

(Photographer unknown) – Summer in the same talk show of Eva Jinek (2019)

I had not heard about her before yesterday, when she was a guest in the Dutch talk show Jinek, run by Eva Jinek. In it she appeared with her mother, her first manager, and clearly still under her ‘watchful’ eye. She also has a professional manager. The mother, and two sisters, moved to NY as well. The father has a company in Holland, but will follow later, when things in the States are settled. The mother was asked by some journalist, whether her daughter’s income will be enough for the family—a bit of a direct question perhaps—but she answered at once that whatever Summer earns herself will remain hers.

Perhaps predictably, and inevitably in our culture, there were questions and remarks about whether modeling by someone so young is a good thing to do, let alone flying to America for it. Summer says that this is what she wants to do: that she likes the variety in clothes she wears and the people she meets. Meanwhile, she has her catwalk workshops, her school, her sports and playing of video games (like Nintendo)—as her mother claims, and as she shows in the few short documentaries about her, seemingly without putting on (modeling) airs. She goes on to tell about one of her more specific dreams: to someday become one of the only 14 Angels of Victoria’s Secret.

(Photographer unknown) – 6 out of 14 Angels from Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (year unknown)

May I mention her beauty, apparent in some well-made photographs, shot in The Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe—namely Milan? Today, it is still winter in NY but Summer is there. Later this year,  I may try to find out more about her experiences there, as she expands her thoughts about posing, to write a more general post about young girls modeling (and acting and dancing). She will join the ranks of such talents, often with beautiful names, as Maddie Ziegler, Kristina Pimenova, Thylane Blondeau, Laneya Grace, Jade Weber, Laura Niemas, Lily Chee, Lilly Kruk! Kruk…? Well, what is in a name? And maybe a few are a bit less famous, but as bright and beautiful as the rest! And maybe I will find out what, seemingly, brought some of them together, in modeling—at least in photography.

(Photographer unknown) – Laneya Grace and Jade Weber (year unknown)

(Photographer unknown) – Laneya Grace, Lilly Kruk and Kristina Pimenova (year unknown)

(Photographer unknown) – Summer (year unknown)

Sarah Ann Terschegget – Summer de Snoo (2018)

Sarah Ann Terschegget – Summer (2018)

Cooper Seykens – Summer (year unknown)

Studio STIEP Portraits? – Summer (year unknown

Judith Onderstal – Le Portrait (year unknown)

(Photographer unknown) – Close up (year unknown)

I presume Summer can give us a Mona Lisa smile pretty well. One can see her giving smiles pretty well in daily life as well—at least in the daily media. But I have seen her, giving for example, ‘serious’ (1:27) and even ‘angry’, being asked to (1:35), change herself with this serious gaze—or I would say a vanishing point gaze of beauty like those examples above.

Here below acting out her dream and her signature smile.

(Photographers Unknown) – Victoria Secret Angel – Summer (around 2018)

I will let Summer have the last words, a response to the criticism and the issues of modeling so young. In this short clip in Dutch she answers the journalist who asks her what she thinks of all the reactions (beginning at 1:17). Translated:

Eh, very irritating. Because they do not know how I live my life. The only thing they know is that I make nice pictures and of course normal videos and that is the only thing they see of me.

I want to tell all the children that watch me, to follow their own dreams and do not say that you are ugly. Because you are beautiful the way you are.

However, all in all, if her ‘Big Apple’ dream should somehow end, this could be her other dream.

(Photographer unknown) – Summer (year unknown)

However, at least one fan knows how to find her, one way or another.

(Photographer unknown) – from Summer de Snoo Fan Account (year unknown)