A feral child is one who has lived isolated from human contact, often from a very young age. As a result, the child grows up with little or no experience of human care, behaviour or language. Some were cruelly confined or abandoned by their own parents, rejected perhaps because of their intellectual or physical impairment, or the parent’s belief that this was the case.
As a mother of two boys, fine art photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten was appalled and intrigued when she first learned of feral children. So she chose 15 cases to portray, not to replicate the exact scenes, but to interpret and duplicate the feelings and actions of each feral child living their experience.
"Life is complex, for some more than others, even when we are considering a normal human life," exclaims Julia. "Its complexity varies from one part of the globe to the other. In considering feral children, who are fully human, at least at the start of their lives, how can we not look at my images and question and wonder about the tenacious survival instincts of these human beings."
If you're intrigued by Julia's work, you can see Feral Children on display at FORMAT, the UK's largest photography festival which this year explores the theme of "habitat". Launching at various venues around Derby on 24 March, and running until 23 April 2017. More details can be found at formatfestival.com.
All images courtesy of FORMAT & Julia Fullerton-Batten | Main image: Genie, USA, 1970 © Julia Fullerton-Batten