If you’re reading this note, you’ve probably looked at some of our show pix posted on this site.

And you’ve probably figured out by now that our favourite things on the planet are children....... even the grubby rude teenage hooded ones.

Something very disturbing came about at one of the shows in 2006 which almost changed the look of what we do and how we do it...

and, for quite a while, soured us on the entire showpix excercise.

On a bright Autumn Sunday afternoon last year (2006), while enjoying the parade of humanity that flows ever onward past our stand,  I saw a perfect little girl.. around five or six and dressed in Victorian costume. She was every inch a classic. Clearly pleased with the outfit that her parents must surely have chosen for her she sashe’ed down the aisle towards our stand and I, of course, couldn’t resist taking her picture for these pages.

Her mother, seeing me take the picture, looked worried and grabbed her husband for a brief but animated conversation. He approached me and DEMANDED to know whether I had taken a picture of his child. I told him that I had, and began to explain these pages and their content.

He interrupted and asked me to remove the picture from the camera. I complied and he, and his family, went on their way.

But I was shaken by the incident.. and it never really went away.

I used to take pictures of things that interested me, things that represented the reasons why we do what we do.. day after day. I never gave a thought for the concerns of parents, friends, relatives, pets or probation officers..

I just took pictures as they came to my eye. And we always got great pleasure from looking back at our show days.

This incident.. this “assumption of evil intent” as though evil intent were the norm rather than the exception, has troubled me greatly ever since. I didn’t attempt to HIDE the fact that I was taking the picture of this child who had clearly been dressed to attract attention.

I made no effort to attract her to my stall, to engage with her personally - in other words, I did nothing threatening to her at all.

If I had been bent on mischief, I could just as easily have waited until she passed and then arranged a more secretive snapshot when the parents weren’t looking.

For a while, I stopped taking pictures.

I had been made to feel dirty..... somehow evil and suspicious.

I have daughters of my own four of them - and a son.

We have, after all, always championed children.

Had this overly protective parent simply talked to us for a few moments, I am sure that their fears would have been allayed.

But they didn’t.

They assumed evil and wickedness.. where there was none.

They propagated suspicion and paranoia where there was no need.

And, for a while, they made me feel that I was doing something terribly wrong..... that I was somehow harming children.

It is my feeling that such parenting, such creation of paranoia around a child forces a child to be afraid rather than wary

suspicious rather than cautious..

cynical rather than friendly

Isolated rather than communal..

And, in the long run, unhappy and always afraid.

This cannot possibly be a good thing.

 

After much soul searching we have decided not to allow one couple's paranoia to ruin our pleasure

and that of anyone who may well wish to remember the shows as well.

 

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