Perhaps it's a sign of the times, but there's been a societal trend of late for examining the experience of childhood. Whether looking at photographs taken recently, or at those from five decades ago, the fashions may change but children are always children.
This is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG), for When We Were Young. Delving into the rich collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, it explores how the lives of children have fascinated photographers, from the earliest days of the medium right through to the present.
More than 100 images, which capture children at play, at work, at school and at home will reveal how the experience of being a child, and the ways in which they have been represented, have changed radically in the past 175 years.
The photographs not only reveal the shifting attitudes towards children and their representation, but also show the evolution of the photographic processes from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital prints.
The exhibition explores the notion of play, a subject synonymous with childhood. From portraits of Victorian children with their dolls and books to explorations of today’s virtual playground, the photographs reveal that while children may have vastly different toys from the past compared with the present day, there is still the desire to escape into a world of make-believe and imagination.
When We Were Young opens on 14 October 2017, and runs until 15 April 2018 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Visit nationalgalleries.org for more details.
Main image: MacMahon of Aberdeen, Giant Cod, 1908, Carbon print, 43.50 x 59.50 cm. Collection: National Galleries of Scotland