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Lights of the Future

Children in Photographs in the 20th Century

5. December 2016 – 3. March 2017

The images from selected photographic fonds from the National Museum of Contemporary History depict children and their daily lives during the period between the two world wars, all the way up to the early nineties of the 20th century.


The photographs take us on a journey through all stages of the century – from the time when children had to be placed in front of the camera in a studio to contemporary photography, capturing spontaneous moments. It was a time full of political, social and cultural change, which of course also influenced the photographic techniques and practices. 
We have made a selection from the Museum’s rich photographic archive from among photos that illustrate the past childhood of preschool children. A narrower criterion was that the motif set the children in the foreground as the central figures, in order for the chosen photograph to demonstrate its documentary value. We look at photographs as a whole, of course, they tell us about the time in which those portrayed lived, about clothing fashions, toys, the family environment etc. An observed photograph can be interpreted in a number of ways, since the discourse that the photograph creates between us and the world is never neutral. Although the camera, perhaps even the photographer, is neutral, the viewer never is.


Author of the exhibition: Katarina Jurjevčič

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