The Babies

Front Cover
PowerHouse Books, 2001 - Photography - 95 pages
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As perversions go, infantilism is little known, and even less understood. Imagine fully grown men wanting to revive their earliest days -- dressed in diapers, dipped in baths, and "fed" from breasts -- as a means to sexual stimulation or familial comfort. Now imagine trying to document this -- yes, that thought that just popped into your head is right -- and you have an idea of the Herculean effort Borland went through to grapple with and understand people with this type of fetish.

Portrait-photographer-by-trade Polly Borland compassionately explores this surreal world, artfully framing the inner lives of adult babies alongside their outer manifestations. Many of these men -- who function in society as truck drivers, accountants, and teachers -- suffered as children and were left obsessed with the warmth and care experienced by other infants and toddlers. So they dress up in adult-sized baby clothes, powder their own bottoms, and...do what babies do, all in an attempt to recreate that lost attachment. And sometimes to get aroused.

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About the author (2001)

A leading portrait photographer before moving to the UK from her native Australia in 1989, Polly Borland has earned her reputation for specializing in stylized portraiture and off-beat reportage. She shoots regularly for numerous UK and US publications including "The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Independent" and "Dazed and Confused". In 1994 she won the prestigious John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, and a selection of photographs from The Babies was exhibited at the South Bank's Meltdown Festival in 1999, curated that year by Nick Cave. The National Portrait Gallery in London and Australia have acquired a number of Borland's photographs for it's collection, and in 2000 both exhibited a solo show of her work. Powerhouse published her first book 'The Babies' in 2001 with an essay by Susan Sontag. In that same year she was one of eight chosen photographers to photograph the Queen for her Golden Jubilee. Michael Hoppen Contemporary will exhibit her 'Bunny' project in 2008 - a series of portraits of a giant girl called Gwen.

Susan Sontag, an influential cultural critic with a Harvard master's degree in philosophy, is noted for taking radical positions and venturing outrageous interpretations. Proclaiming a "new sensibility," she supported the cause of pop art and underground films in the 1960s. Her reputation as a formidable critic has been established by numerous reviews, essays, and articles in the New York Review of Books, the N.Y. Times, Harper's, and other periodicals. Against Interpretation (1966) includes her controversial essay "Notes on Camp," first published in Partisan Review. The title of the book introduces her argument against what she sees as the distortion of an original work by the countless critics who bend it to their own interpretations. "The aim of all commentary on art," she writes, "should be to make works of art---and, by analogy, our own experience---more, rather than less, real to us." Sontag has a mature modernist sensibility, but manages to depict the avant-garde in language accessible to any reader. She has lectured extensively around the United States and has taught philosophy at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, and Columbia. She is a frequent and popular television discussion personality, particularly on contemporary issues of illness or feminism, although many feminists are unhappy that she does not declare herself to be a "feminist critic." She is also, less successfully, a fiction writer.

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