India Herning by Amelia Hambrook

India Herning by Amelia Hambrook

I'm not sure she's real, perhaps I just imagined her. #indiapoppyrose

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It might seem strange, doing a post on a photographer and her daughter immediately after reblogging a piece featuring the same two (see previous post for link) – but after the reblog I was aimlessly drifting through Amelia‘s Instagram feed, when I had a small epiphany. It’s the usual happy tumble of four children having exquisitely-photographed fun together – from eight-year-old India to recently new-born Hugo – and I’d honestly have to say I’ve posted on a number of similar Instagram/Flickr families before: but this time I was really struck by how much this blog originates from my own lack of sisters or daughters.

I’m sure it’s a complex psychological process that I’m probably the last person to try to fathom – and I’m equally sure that it makes my pleasure in visual reproductions of young females hopelessly separate from physical reality…….except how their own mothers also sometimes perceive them. In Amelia’s post above she comments – whimsically, but with a note of true wonder:

I’m not sure she’s real, perhaps I just imagined her.”

………which reminded me of a comment to a portrait of her daughter (Imogen) by one of the Flickr mother/photographers, Angie Baxter, from August last year (here):

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My baby. My big girl. What a gift to be her mother – although somehow I think she’s just bringing me along for the ride.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel you’d get the same reaction – awe, disbelief in their almost supernatural beauty and already-formed characters – from the mothers of boys: maybe my own emotional and aesthetic responses aren’t so unrealistic after all – but would I feel the same if I’d been vaccinated by my own dose of sisters and/or daughters?

I’ll leave the question hanging – but also note how welcome a slight break this is: featuring such a seemingly-uncomplicated, domestic version of girlish sweetness amidst Evgeny Matveev‘s body-conscious, isolated teen models. This isn’t to criticise him – who knows what relationship India and Imogen will have with their own bodies and sense of self at the ages he’s portraying – and how they would present themselves to a photographer in solitary portraits in a studio, or out in the woods.

Anyway, India’s present life is spent deep in the bosom of a loving family – with the ducklings, crayfish, and wildflowers – a girl who luckily (as her mother says) loves babies and little brothers, while having a dreamy, contemplative character that enjoys poems and writing songs:

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The Instagram feed is obviously dominated by the kids, and India in particular – but tells a bitter-sweet story as it unfolds (or in fact recedes into the past – as social media tend to). Amelia is English, and about half-way through her mum died back home. She might seem to be living an idyllic existence in the countryside near Nashville – four adorable kids and a husband whom she dotes on (even writing a poem to him for their anniversary) – but the loss of her mother put the value of everything (physical as well as emotional and spiritual) in doubt. She’s a strong, gifted woman with a lot going for her, and I have no doubt she’ll get through it in time – but as always, perfection is very much the perception of the outsider: her real life is as complicated as yours or mine.

Here are Amelia and India together – two really special people:

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As a PS, I’ve also decided to remove the two sidebar galleries – their content seeming more puerile day by day. Given that the space will always be there, and may as well be used, I thought a gallery devoted to the “iconic” images I’m often banging on about would be a good substitute. Watch this…….well, that….space….

Eight with #indiapoppyrose has had me pulled back into my childhood full of strong memories of moments realizing what's fair and what's not, friendship woes, becoming more independent, planning future adventures, really thinking for myself. And so the complicated journey really begins to adulthood. She's very much like I was in some ways, but much braver. I only hope I can get through it as well as I know she will. • • • • #pixel_kids #candidchildhood #letthekids #cameramama #childhoodeveryday #magicofchildhood #childhoodunplugged #kidsforreal #thesincerestoryteller #clickinmoms #runwildmychild #mymagicalmoments #raisinggirls #stillagirl #motherhoodunplugged #childhoodmemories #unitedinmotherhood #childhoodeveryday #simplifymotherhood #follow_this_light #my_magical_moments #celebrate_childhood

A post shared by amelia hambrook (@amelia_hambrook) on

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6 thoughts on “India Herning by Amelia Hambrook

  1. I put one video as an Instagram link: but I’d like to follow this up with a number of short videos Amelia has taken of India – that dreamy, slow-motion quality is there in sixes. Also, she has the sweetest English accent for someone living in the American “heartland”: or at least a couple of years ago she did. 😍😍😍😍😍😍 As I kind of said in the post, going through Amelia’s “story” and her family-based visual banquet was rather a shock after having immersed myself in Evgeny’s hormonally-charged teens……but they’re all girls, albeit at different ages, in different situations, in different countries…..

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  2. What an interesting coincidence(from my perspective at least) – It was just yesterday that I looked trough the pictures on the side gallery for the second time and for the first time really thoroughly, so that I actually noticed the pictures get randomly organized each time.
    The contrast between Evgeny Matveev‘s work and Amelia’s(for example) is evident, yet at the same time one does notice that Matveev’s artistic approach to photography is more rare, maybe because it shows a less joyful side of life(which many of the girls portrayed surely experience as well) but also because “little girls” depicted in such way may be more or less disturbing for the general audience. It makes me appreciate what artists do even more, as so often they have to risk getting criticized by people ignoring the actual artistic value of their work.

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    1. Hi Snow – sorry I’ve been a little slow in approving your comment and replying to you – that bell thingy in the top right corner seems to be capricious, to say the least….. The sidebar galleries were installed when I felt rather “in your face” about the purpose of the blog: now they seemed a bit too juvenile, and I wouldn’t put some of the content in a regular post simply for aesthetic reasons…..so I bit the bullet and scrapped them.
      If you put “icon” or “iconic” in the search feature you’ll find a lot of posts that refer to my contention that there are a reasonably large number of portraits and studies of girls that you tend to come across regularly if the subject interests you – on blogs, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. – I’ll try to be diligent about putting together my selection, and hopefully that will be the new permanent gallery: and they aren’t too hard to add to…..
      Matveev really gets worked over by Russian-speaking prudes, if my Googlish is telling me the truth: when you realise that they’re as damning of Sally Mann as they are of him, then you start to see what he has to put up with. Having said that, he isn’t Sally Mann, or Jock Sturges, or even Ryan Mills – and he doesn’t side-step the girls’ own budding sexuality in a limited number of his portraits: the question is whether he encourages it or exploits it. As it’s only ever an expression, a raised knee, or a bare shoulder – and in the context of the conscious artistic vision you refer to, I’d prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt……there are some really gorgeous portraits….

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      1. I follow your blog about half-way from the begging and I’ll definitely get back to the all the posts I missed in 2016 as I have to confess – one day I even spontaneously decided to keep an offline archive of everything posted thus far, updating it monthly… for my personal use and convenience only so I hope you don’t mind 🙂

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  3. Hi, well, nothing belongs to me in terms of the portraits posted – and anyone can quote the text if they can find a good reason to do so 😥 – also, given the nature of the content and the current levels of related hysteria and philistinism, you never know when WordPress might decide it doesn’t like something….and switch it all off. So, I’d recommend anyone to take copies of things that interest them – just remembering that if they’re ever used online in the future, to add the acknowledgements and links that they originally came with.
    I’m really grateful that there are people who appreciate the accumulation of character and beauty (represented in the work of untold numbers of photographers and their models and daughters) in these posts. Thanks again 😘😘😘😘😘😘!!.

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