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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Children of the Russian Rich

German photographer Anna Skladmann's portrait series features children of the new Russian elite. "They live in a secluded world," says Skladmann, who spent years befriending and photographing the little ones. "Their parents are attempting to make up for the Soviet times--they only want the best for their children. They receive private language lessons; they go swimming or play tennis. The lives of these children are very planned and regimented." This interview and these slideshow captions are fascinating.

P.S. The series reminds me of the riveting documentary Born Rich about American heirs and heiresses. (Have you seen it?)

80 comments:

Elissa said...

lol, the little boy with giant red bow looks like he's about to make a financial deal.

http://www.littlemisscards.blogspot.com

Stephanie of Pretty {much} Art said...

They look like little adults! Almost creepily so. I'd love to see Born Rich; I find different lifestyles fascinating.

Heba said...

these two girls with ballerina outfits are so cute

http://girlynote.blogspot.com

The Devoted Classicist said...

It is interesting that the children were photographed so as not to appear happy.

thrillofthechaise.com said...

Oh my word. Gorgeous, fashionable children. Mini adults :)

Kate

www.thrillofthechaise.com

Hannah J. Holmes said...

these pictures are fascinating yet almost haunting. i've never seen children look so austere! but surely this isn't their expression all the time?

Diana Mieczan said...

I can't help but feel a bit sad for them. I bet they have the best of everything but I cant help and wonder if they are happy like that. One thing for sure, they don't look to happy on those photos, do they? Btw: Those twin girls are so beautiful and cute. Kisses, Joanna:)

Ana* said...

I love these photos.

The child on the 3rd photo gives the vibe of a man trapped of a child's body.

Joanna Goddard said...

The Devoted Classicist, i agree -- i wonder if she made them all pose like this or if they are really kind of stoic naturally?

Joanna Goddard said...

ps. the caption of the little girls in the boat is so sweet/sad:

"The twins were very nervous when we were out on the water in our little boat. From the dock, their mother was yelling at them, “Just be brave and pose.” Finally, they realized that they would have only each other for support, and so they held hands and stuck together until the shoot was over."

Closet Cravings said...

The photo of the girls in the boat is so sweet. I love that they're holding hands (especially knowing they were a little scared).

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SeaGal said...

They are precious and oh so sad.. seems born to privilege in Russia, is not so wonderful..

ourdreamlives said...

woah this is a really facinating project - have to agree with others though that the pictures are almost creepy at the same time as being beautiful! they really are mini adults!
Sally

Leanne and Jenna said...

Eerie and haunting photographs. Thanks for sharing them and the link to the interview. I found it very interesting. The photo of the girl on the table with her shoes off is my favorite. Her innocence is overwhelming.
- Leanne and Jenna
http://thekahnartists.blogspot.com

Kaylen said...

This reminds me of Rushmore. I'm not sure why.

Becca said...

These are fascinating - although I won't lie, that both pairs of little girls remind me of the twins from "The Shining".

Becca

Izabella said...

wow. these are so intense. i wonder what the parents thought about these. studies of the upper classes are always so fascinating.

Rachel Dangerfield said...

The captions next to the photos remind me so much of the way a character is introduced in a Wes Anderson film. Wild!

Patricia said...

they look so sad, but love the styling and the locations. I wonder what their parents do? It would be an interesting background

http://www.pinkpeonieswithlove.blogspot.com

Mrs. C said...

This is fascinating!! Wow!! They seem to have lost their innocence in these photos...

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Prippy Handbook said...

Thanks for sharing - definitely will be checking this photographer's work out. The 2 girls in the boat is a beautiful (and haunting) image. Russia's history, even just in my lifetime, is astounding.

On a slightly different note, one of the most fascinating books I've ever encountered is the "Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia." Sounds odd, but the history is mind blowing. Worth checking out for sure.

http://prippyhandbook.blogspot.com/2009/11/in-my-library-russian-criminal-tattoo.html

Bladh photography said...

This is so interesting. And the images are so beautiful

d i a n a m u s e said...

Interesting interview with Skladmann and fascinating images. I look at them with a skewed perspective, for sure. My wonderful daughters were born in Russia - they came to us through adoption.

Fate and destiny are notoriously fickle, don't you think?

Mandi said...

These pictures are very interesting and kind of depressing...the photographer did an awesome job. the style is beautiful.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

They all look as though they need a dog to play with.

G. said...

Yes I saw "Born Rich", very interesting documentery, and so are these photographs and interview. What a different world!

Meghan @ Wishful Thinking said...

These images are so captivating and creepy at the same time. I can't remember ever being so poised at that age (although most photos of me at that age involved me eating snails or mud pies)!

CheekyPinkTulip said...

They look so...austere. I wonder if they're happy?

Maria xx
www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

Sunshine said...

they look like little grown people..

Girliest Nerd said...

It's amazing how your judgments of people change after you've had kids. I'm sure I would have rolled my eyes at this before, and I know I swore that my future kids could do just fine with the bare bones upbringing I had.

Now that I actually have a child though, and I can't even believe how much I love him, I want nothing but the best for him. The things I thought were OK from my childhood are not good enough for him. I want better. It's very hard to maintain perspective because you want the moon and stars for your child.

Fortunately (or not!) I don't have ridiculous wealth to guide me too far off course :) The best thing I'm sure I can give him is more love than I got from my own family. The things are not as important.

Lisa Griffin said...

this is fascinating but also a little sad! why can't they smile?
www.indramaticfashion.com

abby said...

the pictures of these girls kinda remind me of the creepy twins from the shining. it's a little creepy.

Sydney said...

sad parents :( how could they control others lives? they are kids and kids should be playing outside at these ages :(

sydsense.blogspot.com

Alice said...

Fantastic series. They are going to be super-children.
I would like that life, I think... but now as an adult, instead of working! Just tennis in the mornings, swimming in the evenings, italian after lunch. Sounds like my dream retirement!

Just a Silhouette

Caroline said...

It is eery how adult these children look. I hope that between the lessons and plans, they have time to just be kids, you know?

O'Melly said...

Beautiful and a little sad at the same time. I bet people are quick to judge these children because of their privliges, but really, how much fun can a tightly scheduled childhood be?

The greatest memories of my childhood were ones that lived outside of a daily routine.

Lulu B said...

Incredible photos, what a very strange childhood they must have, I wonder if they ever get to play like normal children do xx

wildchild said...

these are so bizarre to me. kind of creepy. it's interesting though, i guess. that culture has just always been a mystery to me.

Mighty Burns said...

I havent seen the doc but I am all about these photos.. is it bad that I'd really love for my kid to arrive in a bow tie, or ballet shoes?

J said...

I find the last girl so mesmerising. She seems wistful. Thanks for posting these Joanna.

Nomadic D. said...

Fascinating! And those photos, even without the back story, are so eerie. Wonder what it is about those portraits that's somehow chilling? Definitely going to check out that documentary you mentioned, thanks!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

Gina said...

I love the Born Rich series and this on the Russian Rich is SO fanscinating!

Anne said...

That first picture looks like a painting. Fascinating subject, but I do wonder if the children had to pose like that.

Filip Demuinck said...

Nice article

Anonymous said...

These pictures are quite stunning. I always feel a little regretful if children's lives are too regimented. I love it when little kids play house or make-believe! Interesting post.

Bronwyn said...

Wow, so strange! That last little girl looks so desolate, though...

windeater.blogspot.com

Melissa Blake said...

How interesting. I can't help but feel a little sad for these children. I can't imagine having a childhood like that...thanks, too, for the Born Rich suggestion. I'll have to put it on my netflix queue! :)

Shea Nichole said...

Absolutely fascinating!

erstwhiledear said...

These remind me of Nabokov's childhood. I wonder if he would think Russia has finally returned to its past, or if it's changed for the worst. Of course he got to collect butterflies on beautiful garden estates too, which is different than being stuck in a gloomy portrait gallery.

Collections said...

I've seen Born Rich which was an interesting documentary in terms of subject matter but very poorly done (in my opinion). This looks very interesting and sort of sad. The photograph of the two little girls in the boat is great.

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Mandy said...

Wow, these photo's intrigue me, these children have 'perfect' lives on the outside, however, they don't look happy. Beautifully captured.

carina said...

They look so sad:-( They should all 'grow down' and play a little.

dc said...

disturbing! does that child really have a tattoo, I hope it was drawn on for the photo shoot!

Anonymous said...

recently read a magazine article of accounts of nyc moms pining to get their not-yet-born children into pre-school + nannies accounts of toddlers schedules filled to the nil with extra-curricular activities (mandarin lessons, gymnastics, music lessons, etc). would be interesting to see how others abroad view some of our elite children's upbringing?

the photos are hauntingly beautiful from an art standpoint though.

Joanna Goddard said...

anonymous, yes, i'm sure the elite children are similar all around the world -- their schedules are probably packed, in part, because the parents are working so much!

Joanna Goddard said...

becca, you're right!

Botany's Desire said...

Why don't any of these children look happy? Sort of spooky looking, like from the movie the OMEN. LOL

Jelanie said...

I think the purpose of the shooting was not to make them look happy. I don't feel comfortable with their lack of expression too.

Educational Worksheets said...

Lovely pictures and great photography. Especially second and the last one.

Chaucee said...

Interesting concept....

Megan said...

At first, I thought these pictures were a joke. The children look as if the photographer said to them, "okay, pose like you're in lifestyles of the rich in famous!" The fact that these pictures are for real makes me feel sad for them. They don't look very happy at all, and even if children are rich, they should still look like happy, active children.
One thing that these pictures remind me of is that famous Sargent painting, "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit". Their blank facial expressions are creepily reminiscent of the Russian children.

Anonymous said...

So interesting, these photos: truly lost children, but Skladmann has done a wonderful job in capturing the detachment that any aristo always seems to have.

The PvdH Journal said...

Anna is such an incredible photographer and such a lovely girl!


PvdH -designer and illustrator

www.ThePvdHJournal.com

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To my mind everybody have to glance at it.
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