While not mainly inspired by them, the pieces in photographer Krista Steinke’s series that depict fairy tales in a contemporary manner are oddly reminiscent of the dark stories spun by the Brothers Grimm at first glance.
Richmond, Virginia-native Steinke is an artist whose works usually venture into the surreal, as seen in her ongoing projects Post Ever After, Purgatory Road, and earlier works Pom-pom Pink/Duct-tape Silver and until there were none. In this feature, we’re looking at one of Steinke’s finished works, Backyards, BB Guns, and Nursery Rhymes.
As the title might have already implied, Backyards, BB Guns, and Nursery Rhymes portray Steinke’s modernized interpretations of some of the more familiar children’s stories and nursery rhymes as a means to “explore childhood innocence and the peculiar world of make-believe.” According to her artist’s statement, this series was inspired by “my experience of being a new mother” and took its roots from “my desire to revisit childhood and ponder the developmental stage when one breaks into consciousness, becomes perceptual, and tried to negotiate conflicted feelings about the self, others, and the environment.”
With kids as her subjects, Steinke placed them in situations where they’re caught either “in the midst of some kind of mischief, trouble or state of certainty.” Among those presented in this series were Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, The Frog Prince, and Three Little Pigs.
One may also easily notice that the photos have a sort of black frame surrounding it. Apparently, this was a deliberate move by Steinke, done by merging her photographs with vintage Super 8mm film stock in order to create a voyeuristic illusion. She said that this also “[comments] on the complex relationship that adults have with children and placing the question of innocence back onto the viewer’s lap.
“As we peer through this window, are we the big bad wolf, the girl, the woodsman, or grandma? Or can it be that we carry all of these characters inside of us at the same time?” Steinke concluded.
All information in this article were sourced from Krista Steinke’s website, where the rest of the photos in this series as well as the rest of her online portfolio may be viewed.