Brian M. Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
With images that radiate innocence and joy on the one hand, but suggest trauma on the other, The Children is a series that explores the vulnerable aspects of childhood with a tough and tender immediacy, showing us a world at once familiar and strange.
Collaborative artists Brian M. Cassidy (b.1977) and Melanie Shatzky (b.1976), who have backgrounds in video art, captured these children that seem to inhabit a remote institutional setting and are enveloped by an untamed natural world. With bold use of deep shadows and primary colours, the duo makes the settings look somewhat artificial, like stills from a staged scene.
By isolating the subjects from their backgrounds using a harsh flash, Cassidy and Shatzky limit the factual origins of each photograph. This absence of contextual information in the images turns the series into an indistinct narrative, abstract like dream logic and shredded memories.
Together these memory-like images create ambiguous and incomplete stories that invite us to fill in emotions and memories from our own. Therefore, The Children explores the vulnerability of youth and makes it possible to reflect upon these kids as symbols from our own fragile childhood.