China’s Baby 59 sewer pipe rescue is a grotesque image of abandonment | Jonathan Jones

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

The harshness of human existence when love, compassion, communal solidarity and collective care fail is grimly exposed

A baby is being desperately extracted from a sewer pipe in this utterly grotesque image. Some pictures are moving because they make you sympathise with victims of violence. This one exerts a terrible psychological hold because the baby’s release from the pipe is a macabre travesty of birth.

As in a birth, this little child emerges from an enclosed dark world into the bright open air – but instead of growing in the nurturing womb of its mother, it has been imprisoned inside a drain, flushed down a toilet to die, until its cries were heard. Born for a second time, it is a child of the sewer. We see the hopeful yet horrible moment of this faecal birth, a monstrous image like something out of a surrealist horror film by David Lynch.

Does this sound flippant? In China, this awful story has inspired rage, apparently focused on the child’s mother. But seeing the picture here in Britain, far from the social realities that created it, any apparently rational conclusions about the meaning of such a disturbing event are only likely to be ignorant and confused. Sometimes imagination is saner than what poses as responsible “political” discourse. It is more reasonable, from a distance, to acknowledge the strange power of this image than to pretend to draw any moral conclusions from it. An honest, gut response to a picture like this is better than a supposedly sombre analysis that in reality expresses undisclosed prejudices.

For me this poor baby is a figure of ultimate abandonment, a child whose early hours were spent in a filthy claustrophobic tube, with injuries that include a broken skull, fighting for life – and crying, successfully, for help – in the darkness and dirt.

Perhaps comparisons with horror films are inadequate – this image of a cloacal birth is worthy of the dark satirical imagination of Jonathan Swift. Yet surely no writer, however daring, could come up with such a devastating image of a child betrayed at the very start of life. The harshness of human existence when love, compassion, communal solidarity and collective care fail, is grimly exposed here.

Baby pictures – normal ones – elicit a fundamental human urge to say “cute!”. No doubt we are innately disposed to be tender towards images of the newborn. But this picture shifts the perspective. Hard as it is for adults to imagine, we were all babies once. This baby’s bizarrely cruel experience of a second, motherless, filth-drenched birth gets inside your deepest sense of self. This is an image of a child whose birthright of love has been flushed away. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Jonathan Jones Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

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Posted on June 1, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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