Exhibition Announcement – PWA 2023
For Kids Only?! Exploring Photobooks for Children
To this day, picture books for children rely more on drawings than on photographs. And not many photobooks for a young audience are considered remarkable. The exhibition For Kids Only?! seeks to challenge this view through a carefully curated selection of photobooks for children from various countries. Adults and kids alike are invited to (re)discover this often-overlooked genre and get glimpses of its rich history spanning over 150 years.
While early examples date back to 1866, it was not until the 1930s that photographically illustrated children’s literature began to gain ground. Since then, photographs have been used in a wide range of different contexts: from instructional books, to fairy tales or board books for toddlers. They also use many different styles and techniques: from black-and-white images to fantastic, colorful photocollages; from documentary photographs to staged and manipulated ones.
Among the most famous books worldwide is Børnenes Billedbog (1975) by Sven Grønlykke and Jesper Høm, which was published in English (For Kids Only), German (Kinderbilderbuch) and Swedish (Barnens Bildbok), in several editions. Conceptualized as a pictorial dictionary for children, it offers a true „adventure in reading without words“. Apart from such classic examples and some rarities, the show will include a reading corner, where the young (and not-so-young) visitors can sit down and explore the books on their own.
The exhibition is curated by Vreni Hockenjos and Thomas Wiegand for Photobook Week Aarhus 2023 and HEART – Herning Museum of Contemporary Art.