This portrait is another in the ‘Pink Princesses’ series (see Polly post, 5th Oct). I wanted to really explore how deeply the colour pink has become associated with femininity within our culture. I came up with the idea of photographing a boy wearing pink. My idea was that as we are all so immersed in our own culture and it’s values, that we might at first glance see a boy wearing pink to be a girl.
I tried to keep everything else in the shot very neutral, so the only element that could be interpreted as feminine was the colour pink itself. This was not easy from the start. When I went shopping for a plain pink T-shirt I actually couldn’t find one that was without a frill, ruching, or embellishment. I bought the plainest pink T-shirt I could find which has a frill at the shoulders. ( I would love to see a shop selling fun, brightly coloured, plain and unisex children’s clothing.)
For me, because I know Henry I cannot see him as a girl. I just see Henry. So I am really interested in other people’s initial response to this picture. I think I have ended up with quite a romantic image due to the lighting and it might have been better to do a more straight shot with eye contact too, but I am keen on the idea and will be doing more portraits of boys in pink.
Henry was a joy to photograph. He was really interested in the whole process and I gave him my Nikon SLR to take some photographs on. Part of me wanted him to say “Pink!, that’s for girls. I’m not putting that on!”, but he was way too cool for that.
Thanks to Henry, Donna, Mabel and Phil.