Saturday, January 23, 2016

Léon Gimpel's WWI Kid Photos

In 1915, photographer Léon Gimpel befriended a group of kids playing make-believe war games on the streets of Paris, and had them stage tableaus for his new-fangled autochrome camera.
Read more in The Guardian


Steve said...

Went through the link to view The Guardian article, from there to the other photos. Fascinating, yet -- speaking as someone who spent decades in the company of young children -- sad images. Some of these kids would have been about 30 years old when armed conflict reignited in Europe, launching WWII. I wonder how many of them were given the role of adult soldier, fulfilling the play of childhood imagination. I also wonder when this archetype will lose its charm for young boys; it seems tragically hard-wired.

Then there is is Gimpel's role in this -- he clearly equipped the kids in ways their imagination and material resources could not. I wonder abut his motives in making the images -- it could have been to make a statement; dramatizing the contrast between the innocence of childhood and the violence of war. Or, it could have been for reasons miles away from that.

Unknown said...

Steve, that would make an interesting movie if in the beginning was like these kids playing war games, and then like you said when they get older WW2 starts and they actually have to go to war.