They are wild and magical, as if they came from some different planet, Nan Goldin would say about children, an American photographer who brought out her intimacy and the intimacy of her friends’ revealed in dramas and adventures which were often happening inside house walls, from the bathroom to the kitchen and bedroom.
Petra Mrša, in her project ”New School” captures growing up of her sister’s son. The magnetic appearance of that child in his kingdom, colouristicaly expressive and toned environment, is a coulisse for uncovering mental moods of this little being and for capturing visual images of his relations with his nearest. So we follow this boy and his mother through their everyday activities like bathing, sleeping, playing and eating. Those acts create the bonds between the parent and the child from the very beginning of the life and implement upbringing. In their closeness and connectivity, besides other members of the family who are literally in the background, we can sense the presence of a third person: Lovro’s little sister who is going to be born in the time of the creation of this photographical project. By bringing another child in the relationship between Lovro and his mom, the fine structure of their relationship grows in even more layers and expanding the ways of understanding his expressions and reactions.
According to the words of the author herself, Lovro’s extremely devoted mother raised him in a way controversial to the traditional ways of our grandmothers. She would always read newest guides about upbringing that advised extreme importance of raising children without physical violence and forcing, focusing on giving the child a dignity of an adult. Petra describes Lovro as a demanding and extremely interesting young boy- initiator of events around him. But the question is: is it possible and how to control that energy through that kind of upbringing (“New school”), especially when comes third person which needs mother`s time? Will the dedication and that way of upbringing be possible to stay the same? How do the unlimited amount of love that he was receiving before helps the new situation and how much it makes it worse on the other hand?
The freedom, she envies the children for, which is amongst others, the subject of her observing, Nan Goldin explains with the fact that in the early age of life, people are not yet socially conditioned and therefore can openly be loud in public and show their feelings without any restrictions. Unstaged pictures of Lovro’s family environment let us forebode the conventions which he will adopt through learning and the ones that he will discard as meaningless. With the birth of her little sister we can sense the end of the complete freedom: Lovro will, in the age when it is expected from children to learn the basics of their mother tongue, share his care for the new member of their family and, beside of learning through playing, he will start learning in a new- learning through care and guiding.