Nannies Photog Speaks

The Brooklyn Eagle has a story today on Nannies of Brooklyn Heights photog John Barnard:

Brooklyn Eagle: Learning Curves: “There are so many different nannies, so many different shapes and sizes. Some just love kids and take such pride – you can see that. In one picture, the nanny is just flipping the child upside down.” Barnard said that often the nannies weren’t happy about being photographed. “Maybe they’re superstitious, or they may not be legal aliens.” He acknowledged that some of the nannies might also have been protective of the children, who were not the focus of his lens. “Perhaps they didn’t want to put the child in jeopardy.”

BHB publisher Homer Fink gives his take on the exhibit in this week's edition of the Brooklyn Paper:

Great art elicits an emotional response from its viewer. If John Barnard’s photo exhibit at St. Francis College, “Nannies of Brooklyn Heights,” was meant to provoke feelings about a number of issues including race and class relations, it’s a resounding success.

One would expect a show entitled “Nannies of Brooklyn Heights” to pay homage to the hard-working women who partner in raising the offspring of their affluent employers. Instead, Barnard places focus on the children who are being cared for by using titles that make them the center of attention (i.e. “Six Toes and Looking for Candy”).

Whether Barnard is using his titles as a sleight of hand is up to the individual. But what appears to be an accounting of neighborhood caregivers documents far more than that — a huge racial divide. Every nanny is black and all of the children are white. That, along with the way the pictures are composed, recalls the turn-of-the-century work of photographers Henry P. Moore and Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr.

Read the full article here


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