Photos My Kid Took

Marvel at my 3 year-old son’s ability with the camera on my iPhone. He’s completely untrained and displays a raw, awe-inspiring talent. This is what it looks like when a child is far beyond gifted.

The first photograph is titled  “This is Not an Arm (Ceci n’est pas un bras)”


Powerful, isn’t it? The artist is challenging us to imagine who this arm belongs to. The position of the arm suggests its owner might even be unconscious. Is this a crime photo? In fact, there’s nothing to suggest that the arm is even attached to anyone. What segment of the arm are we looking at? Is that an elbow? Is it even a real arm? Wait, is it even an arm at all?

The more one gazes at this work, the less he understands it. The slow-developing subjective ambiguity is what makes this piece so ground-breaking. Also, in what has come to be known as his signature, the artist included a section of his leg at the bottom of the photograph. It’s his way of saying, “Yes, I was really here. I am present with my art. Deal with it.”  An impressively bold voice for such a young man.

The second piece in the limb series is titled: “Perspectives on a Corduroy Leg”


This is perhaps the artist’s seminal work.  Many people are unable to look at this photo without experiencing vertigo, and that was likely the artist’s intent: to show the world from his perspective. Imagine being that close to someone’s thigh all day. And yet, we still wonder why children fuss? Needless to say, he is quickly establishing himself as the new voice of his generation — a bellowing spirit around which all toddlers can rally. At the bottom of the frame, he’s included the tips of his red stocking feet. Red for REVOLUTION. Next to his feet is what’s believed to be a wadded up dish towel, the significance of which is unknown.

This leads us nicely into an analysis of the photographer’s first known self-portrait, entitled: “Rug Foot”


Why has he chosen to show one complete foot and only the big toe of the other? We personally believe the artist thought it was more important to include his brother’s crumpled grey shirt than the remaining 4 toes of his left foot. He’s trying to tell us something: He’s alone in his brother’s room. Further evidence of this assertion is the color of the rug, which, according to the artist’s parents, only exists in that room. So, the question we’re left with is why. What is he trying to tell us by infiltrating his brother’s space? Is he ready to sleep in the same room as his brother? Is that why he shows us only his feet — the wheels of his body, and symbols of movement? Or is this an act of war,  a warning flare indicating his plans to stage a bedroom coup?

The piece that follows may be difficult for some of you to look at. It is another self-portait, but this time, the photographer appears to have taken it while falling, or in the midst of an intentionally rapid movement. It’s called, “My Foot. The Corner. SOFA! A Blur. DON’T BLINK! Lost.”


Kinetic, raw and uncensored, this photo shuns convention. The artist dares us not to look at his foot. There’s a whole room of blurry items to gaze upon, but it is the foot in the corner that draws us in. At the same time, however, the foot is difficult to look at, leaving the viewer more than a little conflicted. We’re left to guess the events leading up to and following this moment. Some scholars believe that seconds later he attempted to kick the iPad from his brother’s hands. Others think he was simply flailing in an effort to avoid putting on his socks. But the reason doesn’t matter. What matters is the EMOTION, and there’s plenty of it here.

This next work — one of his most recent — is of a more threatening nature. It’s called “Press Here For Agony”


This  is an interestingly angled shot of an old firetruck birthday card the artist received. The star says “Press Here for Siren”, and indeed, when that button is pressed, a heinous whine engulfs the surrounding area. It’s clear that the artist was angry when he took this photograph, and that might be why it’s one of his less personal pieces. It lacks the emotional openness of his other work. But what heinous event could have led him down this dark path? After speaking to his mother and consulting with her on the date the photo was taken, we were able to discern that this was likely a response to the artist’s frustration over not being permitted to watch a third episode of Cailou. In fact, according to the mother, the photographer attempted to lock himself in the vestibule moments after snapping this shot. One can almost feel that raw emotion and anger here, and it’s difficult not to imagine someone screaming “BUT I REALLY REALLY WANNA!!!!!”

This artist’s latest piece is an even further departure for him. It’s named, “Still Life with Pillow”


The artist is growing up. This piece shows a maturity and distance from his emotions, but doesn’t sacrifice any intensity. He’s transfered his need and craving to the viewer. It’s now us who want so desperately to reach out and pull that piece of green lettering. Or is it a number? THOSE ARE THE QUESTIONS! Just as he did early in his career with “This is Not an Arm”, he’s challenged us about the very nature of things. It could be an O or an eight, six, nine, lower-case b. We simply do not know. But, what’s so fascinating here is that perhaps, just perhaps, that’s all there is — just a green semi-circle; an incomplete shape lying demurely on a sofa pillow, just daring us to ask it questions…

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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