“And when he was good, he was very, very good.”
Smashing apples on a porch, burying dolls in a sandbox, or running away from suburbia, the children in my photographs appear to be in the midst of some kind of mischief, trouble, or state of uncertainty. The literary reference, interpreted through dark humor and playful theatrics, sets up a point of departure for various levels of meaning and associations to emerge. As we peer through this window, are we the big bad wolf, the girl, the woodsman, or grandma? Or can it be that we carry all of these characters inside of us at the same time?
Backyards, BB Guns, and Nursery Rhymes puts quite the spin on the classic childhood tale in images that teeter between surreal and sinister. Houston-based photographer Krista Steinke was inspired to explore the theme of childhood innocence after becoming a mother, focusing on the time in a child’s life when they transition into a perceptive being—that moment when they learn to process and negotiate the world around them. Through her recreated versions of nursery rhymes, Steinke further blurs the line between reality and fantasy by merging her photographs with vintage Super 8mm film stock, resulting in eerie new worlds of make-believe.
“Better to see you with, she said.”
“The apples grew ripe and fell far from the tree.”
“They wondered where the path would take them.”
“The sheep were in the meadow.”
“The toad croaked out with glee.”
“She scolded them, washed them, and hung them out to dry.”
“The maiden was in the garden.”