Remember way back in the 90s when everyone was obsessed with the work of Anne Geddes? Those kitschy-cute photos of babies lying on pumpkins and toddlers in rabbit suits that plagued newsagents from about 1992 to 1996? Those fucking photos were EVERYWHERE - greeting cards, wrapping paper, tea towels, aprons, t shirts, postcards... Sure they were cute at first, but after a while people started developing violent reactions to the sight of toddlers holding sunflowers, which I suspect is why they eventually stopped making them.
A lot of wannabes tried to ride Geddes' coat tails in this time, and despite the fact that everyone is well and truly OVER cutesy black and white pictures of kids dressed in 1920s outfits kissing in railway stations or popping out of watering cans, some people out there are still trying to force Geddes-like products onto us.
Which brings me to the 2006 'Kids' calendar, which was forced upon ME at a shop last week just so the staff could get rid of it. I gladly took it off their hands for free, and now I present it to you, citizens of the mighty interweb, for mocking and deriding.
Let's start with the cover, shall we?
If looking at this fills you with a sense of impending dread, you're on the right track.
"Oh look honey, how cute! It's a twisted, disabled boy with no legs sitting down to a hunk of Edam cheese with a giant four year old girl with mental problems! Let's get it for the sunroom."
I mean, at least Geddes picked GOOD LOOKING kids. Or you know, ones who could pose for the camera without squinting from the sun. Or ones that didn't have some sort of congenital birth defects. Although perhaps that boy wasn't BORN like that (ie: perhaps we can rule out Thalidomide). He might have been bashed into a pulp by the other kids at school when he turned up wearing that bow.
It's French kissing. You can tell, there's a beret and baguettes.
Fantastic composition - whack a great big basket of baguettes in the foreground that take up half the frame, then get the kids to pash in the middle of eating a sandwich so you can't see their faces. And make sure one of them does something strange with his hand. It worked for the cover.
Words fail me.
CUTE RULE #122 - little kids dressed in adult clothes are always cute. Except here, where they look strange, awkward and just a bit scared. The "strange hand" and "birth defect" themes continue, with the girl looking like she has a hand growing out of her left shoulder.
If I was involved with this calendar I'd hit the bottle too.
"That's right kids, look in opposite directions, NOT AT ME, that's right, completely opposite directions, good. Now you boy, twist your right leg around so it looks like a birth defect... excellent...aaaaand SWIG! Perfect, we nailed the shot."
If I hold the rose just here no one will know it's me and I can keep my credibility intact.
I don't know what's going on here, but it looks like a girl with a stump for a hand is about to suffer some sort of heart problem, possibly a stroke, while a midget perched on a flowerpot checks her vital signs. While obscuring his face with a rose. Baffling pose - check. Strange hand - check. Birth defect - check. I think I'm seeing a pattern with this calendar.
This would be July.
"Ok Jimmy, screw your face up a bit...no, no, MORE...I want you to look semi-retarded...GREAT, hold it there. Now Jenny, can you angle your prosthetic a bit more to the right? I want it to REALLY jut out on an angle. Great, and if you could just stare at him blankly...that's it, like you can't believe your mum made you do this for your 'portfolio' that you don't even give a shit about because you'd rather be outside playing...PERFECT, that's a wrap."
I think these two must be the children of the photographer himself, as they appear no less than three times in the 'Kids' calendar. And I think we can all safely say it's not because of their looks. Disappointingly, there is no "strange limb" element to this photo, however I doubt that mouth-breather on the right could even recognise himself in the mirror, so that fulfils the "birth defect" requirement.
And here they are again...
We hit the jackpot with TWO strange hands in this pic, plus a random baby chicken thrown in for good measure.
And SCORE! Dodgy hands, vacant expressions, strange set - it's a 'Kids' classic.
And as we reach the end of the calendar, it becomes obvious there would have been some heavy decision making when it came to picking the cover shot. The demented kids squinting and eating cheese, or THIS:
They always save the best photo for December.
Clearly "demented, squinting, slouching redneck child in floppy hat" fell short of being a cover classic, but it's definitely right up there. I particularly like how the photographer clearly hasn't given a shit that you can see right up her dress, and that the boy is turned away from the camera so you can't even see his face. So post modern.
I think the expression on her face says it all, really.