There is not a single object in a residence that can be used only for one specific reason. And when it comes to kids, everything can be a toy to enjoy their times. That’s what laura and Gina, Eric Klemm’s twin daughters would do, and worked as inspiration for the Sweetie Project photo series.
For his images, two boxes of tissues are turning into a pair of shoes or a flower pot is hiding a girl’s face. However, most of the kids’ expressions are quite sad, and don’t agree with the initial project idea, the game. A feeling of irritation is created to the viewer, while the net images and their colour lucidness are stressing this contrast. the viewer is unable to understand what the child might have in mind, why it is surly. Have its parents scolded it, or does it feel uncomfortably when being shot like that?
Playing is a ritual, which, once an adult tries to undertand, he is devaluating it and is taking its magic away. The same occurs with a child’s psychology. Being decoded by an adult is sort of impossible. Maybe, this is the reason why Klemm doesn’t reply to the question of the kids’ expressions in his project. Maybe, only a child can perceive what another one has in mind, what it is imagining when it’s using its books as toys. Maybe, not.
“Unlocking” a child’s thoughts is really hard, and there is no doubt that the photographer can do something else. So, what if we’re watching through his lens, his own disappointment for his inability? Or what if he is looking up to his childhood, with some hint of jealousy?
Eric Lemm, ericklemm.com