The Age of Innocence: Jessica Maria Manley

5 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on January 23, 2012.  Enjoy!

The other night, we caught a bit of a Travel Channel show in which Andrew Zimmern visited a tribe in Madagascar, whose ritual tradition dictates that a boy becomes a man at the age of five years old.  Jewish boys celebrate coming into manhood with a Bah Mitzvah at age thirteen.  The work of photographer Jessica Maria Manley explores the idea of whether societies can truly define what is appropriate based solely on an individual’s age.  Is a boy really a man at five? Thirteen? Twenty-one? Forty-five?

At the Lake

Manley’s haunting images of her young subject, Melissa, show the young girl engaging in those activities so many little girls enjoy– playing dress up, playing with make-up, pretending to be grown-ups.  How many of us did the same?

Melissa and Her Toys

Some of the imagery may be a bit off-putting, even disturbing as we see a little girl exploring an adult’s world.  But how often are children thrust into situations beyond their years?  Or they feel pressured to be tiny adults?

Make-up In the Living Room II

Untitled

Manley’s images may be a visual representation of the societal pressures kids feel every day, in every nation.  They could also be interpreted as imaginings of a woman who is chronologically an adult, but still feels the vulnerability and smallness of a child.. A woman whose childhood was robbed of her.

To see more of Jessica Maria Manley’s intriguing work, please visit her website.  Her provocative photos touched me, hope you find them as thought provoking as I did.

Featured image is On the Dock, 2011.  All images are via the artist’s website.

3 Responses to “The Age of Innocence: Jessica Maria Manley”

  1. sefikaefeoglu January 23, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Reblogged this on sefikaefeoglu.

  2. Marguerite Clarka October 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    It is clear that Jessica Maria Manley, has a very special perspective and an amazing vision.
    I look forward to following her work for many years.

    • Lesley October 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed Jessica’s work, Marguerite!

Share your artsy thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: