When We Had a Sense of Humor

When this ad was first brought to my attention, it was suggested that it might be a fake. It is easy to forget how uptight we have gotten about viewing the human body these days, but with careful analysis, I think it is clear that something like this would not have been that unusual in 1974 Germany.

Elefanten Schuhe Ad (1974)

It is worth noting some of the motivations and circumstances associated with this ad. First of all, this image was meant to convey humor as in “look at how cute and silly these children are!” For those who can understand the text, Elefanten Shoes is advertising the fact that their children’s shoes come in three widths, just like the girls—wide, medium and narrow.

The other thing is that although an ad like this would not have been so out-of-place at that time, still it would not have been used to target the general market. Clearly, this ad appeared in a publication targeting the countercultural demographic with money to spend.

There are certain advantages to using bare bodies to advertise this product. Any clothing might have distracted from the shoes which the company wished to emphasize and there is also a timelessness that would have been lost if the girls were wearing clothing of a particular era and nationality. Clothing would also have obscured the noticeably different figures of the girls as would a calves-down only view which we might see in a more mainstream ad.

So, who out there is going to make a fuss about this ad? And what does it say about our capacity for humor?

Maiden Voyages: May 2017 (Pigtails in Exile)

My apologies for getting this update out late, but some new information came my way and I had to compose my thoughts.

Ruffled Feathers: Pip is not naive and neither am I. When he started Pigtails in Paint and when I joined him, we knew we would have to use extreme discipline to make sure we did not create any legal problems for ourselves. We know how touchy people can be and how unaccustomed the layman, particularly in the US, is in viewing the human body. We are also aware of the witch hunt mentality that is taking place with regard to the ostensible exploitation of children. We hoped to persuade the general public and art lovers specifically about the legitimacy of the child nude. We felt we could do this without ruffling any feathers; we would remove any images if an artist complained or if we were persuaded that a particular image violated US law (or in the country of our service provider). Since then, the popularity of the site has grown enormously and it is no longer possible to fly under the radar. We had to deal with both primitive and sophisticated cyber attacks and survived. We took it on the chin when critics would insist that we are really a pornography site pretending to be something else. Well, they are entitled to their opinion and flaunt their ignorance, ignorance we hope to someday dispel. The problem comes when our adversaries do not play fair. Instead of engaging in informed debate, they resort to ruthless and underhanded tactics to shut us down. These people fall into two groups: the zealots and the puppet masters. The zealots are the true believers and think our site is an abomination on the internet and are the front line soldiers getting people worked up to take action. Behind the scenes are certain moneyed interests who feel Pigtails has a chance of upsetting the status quo. They fund those zealots who would otherwise not have the kind of time to make this much trouble.

If I learn of a website that is stupid or silly or ethically questionable, I will simply not pay it a visit. If I believe there is something illegal about it, I would be duty-bound to report it. Then it is up to the authorities to handle it. I do not organize a grass-roots campaign to have it shut down. I know I am not a legal expert of everything and so it is not my place to engage in a cyber war with the operators of these sites. Our adversaries do not respect these protocols. Fueled by the power of their faith (or a cynical easy buck), they take it upon themselves to take the law into their own hands. In one respect, I have been naive. I thought if we operated within the law, we would have no problems with service providers (WordPress, JaguarPC) or domain registrars (Register.com). Due to the widespread ignorance of the law and the role of nudity in general, our adversaries have succeeded in their tactics. First, they bombard the service provider with complaints that Pigtails contains sexually explicit material. Supporters of this site know that is categorically false: 1) no persons are shown in sexually-suggestive poses, 2) no emphasis is placed on the genitalia whenever visible and 3) there are no suspicious displays of adult-child interaction. However, service providers and registrars are companies and are not used to images of the human body and so are unable to make the distinction. These requests for termination of service are almost always accompanied by threats of hacking and other cyber attacks. Since the companies are primarily money making operations and the claims at first blush appear to be true, it is easier for them to make a summary decision rather than investigate the case properly and treat us fairly. They claim Pigtails is in violation of their Terms of Service (TOS), getting them off the hook for contractual violations and then cut us off. In each case, we were notified only after the fact and not given the chance to make our case. The companies were simply uncomfortable hosting our site. Register.com’s actions are particularly egregious; not only did they not make any offer of a refund, but they are punishing our service provider by requiring that he transfer 10 of his other domain registrations to another company, incurring additional costs. From the look of it, these other sites are mundane businesses with no association with Pigtails, no images of children or controversial subject matter of any kind. This move seems like a special effort to keep service providers in line with the status quo.

As it stands, it does appear that we will be able to retain our .org domain, but it will have to be registered through a company that knows how to handle these aggressive tactics. Pip and I are US citizens and it is ludicrous that we would be blocked from having an American domain designation. Our new registrar will undoubtedly have to field complaints and if they do not cave in to the demands of cyber bullies and terrorists, their next step would be to make their appeal to ICANN (although they would have to refrain from their more heavy-handed tactics to make a good impression), the organization responsible for issues regarding domains worldwide. Let us hope that they are sophisticated enough to make sound judgments, but I am not holding out much hope.

Protests and other complaints about Register.com’s actions should be directed to:

Tom Lam
Manager: Abuse, Fraud and Executive Escalations
Register.com, a Web.com service
Maritime Center, 2nd Floor, 1505 Barrington St.
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5 Canada
Office/FAX: (902) 749-2746
Toll Free: 866-964-4270

I suppose these folks have not thought this problem all the way through. After all, if they believe our adversaries are capable of following through on their threats, what makes them think that technically savvy Pigtails supporters won’t do the same thing?

At least some of our adversaries are up front about intending to shut us down for good. Therefore, we need to be proactive about fighting this hate-mongering and obstruction to progress. Anyone willing to offer legal services, investigation services or have contacts with law enforcement officers willing to assist with this problem is urged to come forward. We must find out who these people are, how they are funded and take the appropriate legal action. Pigtails in Paint does not deserve to be singled out in this manner. Why are our adversaries so terrified of informed debate and its implications for the reform of our society?

Readers are reminded to consult our Facebook page when encountering interruptions of service rather than trying to email me directly. If there is a problem, an explanation will be posted there right away.

Because of the gravity of this situation, all other monthly notices of interest will be postponed until the June ‘Maiden Voyages’. -Ron

Child Emancipation

*** Spoiler Alert ***

With our recent troubles, my thoughts have been occupied with those guardian angels who have helped us in the past and those who continue to do so today. Therefore this post is dedicated to “Liquid” who handled the technical end of getting our site up and running again after first being shut down by WordPress. In one of our few communications, he mentioned one of his favorite films starring a sweet little girl called Maisie. What Maisie Knew (2012) is the latest remake of a story based on a novel by Henry James. It is about a neglected girl who bonds with her nannies and, in the end, exerts her independence by expressing her wish to stay with them. The theme of the story reminded me of a film years ago called Irreconcilable Differences (1984) starring Drew Barrymore. This inferior film starred Shelley Long and Ryan O’Neal as Casey’s parents. It had a clever hook; at the time, there was a California law that allowed for minors to “divorce” their parents and take adult responsibilities for themselves. The intent of this law was for older teens—who were close to legal adulthood anyway—to escape the abuses of the foster care system or neglectful parents. The unusual thing in this story was that the girl suing for emancipation was 9 years old. Her wish was to live with the housekeeper and her children. It is an intriguing idea but the fact of the matter is that this movie was guilty of child neglect itself. Instead of telling the story from Casey’s point of view, her testimony was simply used to showcase the retelling of the drama of her parents’ relationship working in the brutal world of Hollywood film production.

Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers – Irreconcilable Differences (1984)

On the other hand, the latest incarnation of Maisie directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, screenplay by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright, was a delight. Six-year-old Maisie (Onata Aprile) gave a skilled and convincing performance. Her mother Susanna (Julianne Moore) is in an updated role as a music diva engrossed in her career. It was decided that the early scenes should reflect her parents’ more nurturing sides. Although Moore is a performer, this was the first time she was recorded as a singer—singing a bedtime lullaby.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (1)

Maisie’s father Beale (Steve Coogan) was a high-stakes business man travelling all the time. One of the motifs of the film was that Maisie should be surrounded in animal imagery to accentuate the difference between her world and that of the grownups.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (2)

Aprile was a remarkably disciplined actress for her age. She had barely turned six when she was cast. Her mother Valentine Aprile dedicatedly ran lines with her and was present on the set during shooting. Valentine played a small role in the film as one of the mothers of Maisie’s classmates.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (3)

The only time Onata’s discipline would be broken was when food was present. Good directors of children know how to make use of these foibles and there were a number of ad libs that made it into the final cut—usually the girl’s idle but effective manipulation of the various props—making her performance that much more real. For example, while assembling a peanut butter sandwich, Aprile could not help licking her fingers.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (4)

We are introduced to Margo (Joanna Vanderham) in the first scene.as Maisie’s nanny. At first she is working for the mother but, as an added bit of turmoil in Maisie’s life, she falls in love with and marries Beale and thereafter is only present in the father’s household. Instead of the girl’s father properly explaining the situation, Margo is left to look after Maisie’s well-being by explaining things the best she could.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (5)

With Margo living with the father, one of Susanna’s groupies Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård) was abruptly tasked with running domestic errands including shuttling Maisie around. The first time he did this, no one was informed so Margo and the school personnel were quite nervous about turning over custody without some verbal confirmation from Susanna. These days, we are so conditioned to expect the worst since the decision to send Lincoln was made in haste and we did not really know him yet. There are two amusing details about the Aprile-Skarsgård relationship. For some reason Aprile really took to Skarsgård and loved spending time with him on and off the set. One of the demonstrations of her skill as an actress was persuading us that she was actually nervous about being passed off to Lincoln. The other thing was that Skarsgård was quite tall and getting the two of them together in the same shot was a continuous logistical challenge.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (6)

During the course of the film, Maisie is seen spending a lot of quality time with her nannies—sometimes at the same time. In these scenes, she is actively involved with the adults. In contrast, except in those cases when the parents are lavishing her with compensatory attention, whenever Maisie is observing the adults, the directors established the convention of shooting her behind some kind of obstacle or barrier to help convey this alienation.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (7)

The neglect becomes progressively more horrific as Susanna goes on tour and Beale travels overseas. The situation reaches a climax when Maisie’s mother leaves her unattended at the bar where Lincoln works because she neglected to confirm the arrangements. Beale’s neglect takes its most severe form when Margo is locked out of their apartment and cannot get in because he did not bother to put his own wife’s name on the lease. Aprile really enjoyed those scenes with the young couple and movie-goers begin to realize that they had fallen in love during the course of this drama. By all accounts, this is when Aprile gets to display her real personality. She was reported saying that she hoped her next film would be a happier one because she dislikes having to be “so sad” all the time in this one. While both parents were away, Margo took Maisie away on a kind of retreat to a beach house on Long Island owned by her uncle; they are shortly joined by Lincoln.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (8)

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (9)

When Susanna arrives later in her tour bus, assuming that Maisie would be delighted at the prospect of joining her, she is surprised to learn that she would rather stay with Margo and Lincoln. In a frank and heartfelt moment, Susanna finally realized how unhappy Maisie had been and in a selfless act of love, allowed her to stay with them.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (10)

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (11)

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (12)

The point of James’ novel was to show an uncharacteristically self-possessed little girl take a hand in her own happiness. Although her future was far from certain, she at least had some say in shaping it. At the end of the pier was docked a boat and in the last shot, she is shown running toward it in anticipation of another outing, another adventure.

Scott McGehee, David Siegel et al – What Maisie Knew (2012) (13)

Maiden Voyages: April 2017

Art Style Advisor Wanted: Thanks go to Christian for rigorously reviewing old posts and updating them and, more importantly, streamlining the classification system to remove confusion and redundancies.  However, he is not an expert on artistic styles and movements and we are still in need of someone who can help us with these categories now that Pip only has time to work on this site sporadically.  Someone please come forward, even if you are only knowledgeable on a small range of art styles or media.

Pigtails Welcomes New Writer: I am delighted that yet another fan of this site has agreed to do some writing.  His first proposal is to do a series of commentaries on single ‘Compelling Images’ such as that of William Klein.  Many of the artists he proposes to cover have only done incidental work with little girls and so it is a great way to bring attention to these photographers.  The use of the handle “D.F. Ottewill” is an homage to the camera Charles Lutwidge Dodgson used to take the famous Beggar Maid photograph—the Double-Folding Ottewill.

Where One Can’t Prosecute, One Can Always Censor: One of our readers, who offers interesting leads from time to time is a child model agent.  She has offered a number of insights into the world of modeling and the conditions under which these children must work.  In the past month, two of her sites were shut down without warning with explanations that she violated the Terms of Service (TOS).  This tiresome tactic is used all too often to eliminate any material a company does not want to be associated with no recourse for the customer.  I have seen the site and can tell you that the top page has a few images of girls in various costumes (no nudity) and one can click to see the second page which contains some partial nudes.  I can assure readers that those photos were innocent out-of-the-bath/shower shots and contained no frontal nudity or suggestive poses —a towel, bath toy or other object was always strategically placed.  The agent has requested that Pigtails not link to her site in fear that more aggressive zealots would make even more trouble for her and her business.

Paranoia in the Streets of Paris: After producing the Perrusset post, the photographer told me a couple of interesting anecdotes about the challenges of his work.  I decided to add these to the end of that post so readers can take another look.

Dance Prodigy’s New Book: Maddie Ziegler, 14, whose interesting work has been posted on this site has now released a new book, The Maddie Diaries.

New Joshua Hoffine Film: In WCL’s post on this photographer, a new film had just been released and, at the time, no copies were available for review.  It is a pleasure to inform readers that the video can now be viewed on Vimeo.  If you are a fan of this photographer and filmmaker, take a look at Black Lullaby right away in case it should be removed.

Famous Postcard Girl: I have heard a lot in the past couple of years about the discovery of the identity of the little girl pictured in a number of iconic Edwardian postcards.  It seemed a suitable subject for a Pigtails post but since so much has already been published on the subject, it would be foolish to spend time duplicating someone else’s efforts.  If you collect vintage postcards of little girls, chances are you own some Grete Reinwalds.

Where’s the Line? One of the anecdotes offered by the agent mentioned above is the issue of what is acceptable nudity in child models and under what circumstances.  Whenever someone tries to spell out some standards, they seem arbitrary and absurd.  For example, another agent has taken nude shots of children (including her own), but does not publish them on her website.  However, her nudes of babies and toddlers appear openly without comment.  The Mexx Kids ad caused quite a stir but something like these Cinta Child ads (here and here) do not.  What’s the distinction?  Age?  Skin Color?

Removal Requests: From time to time, artists or their agents request that their work be removed from this site.  In the past, we have complied because we did not want to make trouble and wished to fly “under the radar”.  Since that is no longer possible, removals will only take place under compelling circumstances.  Otherwise, like it or not, artwork and other media images will be legally drafted in service to the noble political purpose of this site.  Given the usual ignorance and narrow-mindedness of these requests, it is not possible to spell out what is considered a “compelling reason” as artists will simply use one of these excuses to cover up their real objections.

Anime and Manga on Pigtails: A reader sent me samples of numerous manga artists requesting that we cover this medium/genre more.  The contribution is appreciated but the real problem is that none of us is knowledgeable enough to say something constructive about these works.  I would once again like to offer an invitation to manga/anime fans who can write to please contribute to this site.

The Quagmire of Internet Research: This is a bit off-topic, but one of the points of Pigtails in Paint is to make certain material accessible and not have to compete with more “popular” politically-correct material that may have less relevance.  It is annoying how many searches yield nonsensical results and one must sift through these redundancies just to find the object of one’s clearly-defined search.  Here is an interesting article that discusses some of the interesting aspects of this issue.

Didier Perrusset

On occasion, a fan of ours is also an artist and wishes to have his work published on Pigtails. Assuming the work is of sufficient artistic merit, I am delighted to comply.

Didier Perrusset is a French photographer doing this work as a serious hobby for pleasure and to create a kind of legacy. He began shooting photographs when he was fourteen, with a completely manual camera. He did some professional work for a few months for Keystone Press Agency. His influences include David Hamilton, Lukas Roels, Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, Evgeny Mokhorev and Irina Ionesco and strongly believes their work is legitimate art and not mere pornography. His main interest is street photography, cosplay photography and artistic nudes. Young girls do feature prominently in his work and he tries to shoot 2 or 3 times a week. He operates north of Paris and won 1st place by popular vote in a recent competition.

Didier Perrusset – Stripes and Light (2016)

The following images are from his ‘Angels’ series.

Didier Perrusset – Angel (2016) (1)

Didier Perrusset – Angel (2016) (2)

Didier Perrusset – Angel (2016) (3)

Didier Perrusset – Angel (2016) (4)

Didier Perrusset – Angel (2016) (5)

Didier Perrusset’s Facebook page

Perrusset also has an online book and there is a video interview in French.

This artist has some interesting insights to share and I regret he did not mention them earlier so it could have been included when this post was first published.  Apparently, the hysteria and paranoia in France has reached a fevered pitch in regards to shooting young girls in public.  For example, a friend of Perrusset’s was approached by the police in Paris because he was taking pictures of a little girl—his own daughter!  Three years ago, Perrusset experienced something similar during a Bastille Day Parade (July 14th); the police were told that he was shooting little girls in the audience while they were watching the parade.  -Ron [20170329]

Maiden Voyages: March 2017

I do not have much to say this week, but I am glad that Pip, our Founder, and Christian, our Associate Editor, have messages for our readers.

A Reminder from the Founder: I understand that we have a wide range of viewers who are interested in our site. Some of them may even have a prurient interest in the images we post. While there is no way to actively bar such viewers from visiting, we would like to remind them that Pigtails in Paint is not, nor has it ever been, a child erotica site. We occasionally post artistic nude or demi-nude images of young girls in order to challenge the stigma against artists portraying kids in the nude, and to demonstrate that this sort of portrayal has a long and respectable pedigree through the entire history of art. Thus, if you are simply coming here to get some kind of lewd pleasure from gawking at naked underage girls, then I daresay this blog is not for you, and I courteously ask that you go do your ogling elsewhere. There are, no doubt, plenty of sites on the web that cater to your tastes. But if you insist on hanging around, then we ask that you keep your sexual comments to yourself. They are, at the very least, disrespectful to this site, its editors, and most importantly, to the artists who create this wonderful art, the girls in the images, and, by extension, all girls. Moreover, they directly threaten the integrity of the site. In short, they have no place here. We always welcome comments and questions that are insightful, informative or even challenging, providing they are respectful and conform to the rules and goals of this blog. Anything outside of that will be summarily deleted. Thank you.

Announcement from the Associate Editor: Christian has worked for more than one year to review, correct and update the whole contents of Pigtails in Paint: categories, tags and all posts. He still has to check the pages (see the menu under the banner at the top).

First, the categories and tags were reorganized and simplified to make searches easier and more efficient. Redundancy has been eliminated; there is no more overlap between tags and categories. Thus a “Tag Cloud” has been added to the right column to allow searching among the most frequent tags. The scope of existing tags has been extended (for instance “Feminism” instead of “Feminist Art” or “Parent and Child” instead of “Mother and Child”). New tags were created (for instance “Bigotry and Hysteria”, “Censorship” and “Destruction of Art”). There was a severe problem of tag duplication, with a single tag name corresponding to several distinct tags, each encoded differently in the system; the duplicates were removed, so posts needed to be retagged. For categories, the previous hierarchy (see here) was simplified from 7 groups to 4. The group “(C) Subject Themes & Special Presentations” and its categories were removed, since they are in fact covered by tags. The groups “(A) The Editors’ Journal / Maiden Voyages (Essays, Notes and Site Updates)” and “(D) Media” were merged into “(A) Topics”, with further categories added into it. The two groups “(E) Artists by Name” and “(F) Artists by DeviantArt Username or Similar Designation” were merged into “(C) Artists by Name or Username”. Some artists were included in both groups, by their name then by their username; in this case the two categories were merged under the form “Name (Username)”. The group “(G) Famous Girls in Art by Name” became “(D) Girls by Name”, so it grew by including “not famous” girls. Finally, the group “(B) Art Styles, Periods, Schools & Movements” did not change. This is true also in a negative sense: since Pip gave up the task of categorizing and tagging posts in November 2015, and Christian is not a specialist in art styles, all posts published since do not have any category from this group. We need an art style advisor to suggest new categories to include in this group, and to indicate art style categories to be assigned to posts dealing with art.

The biggest task was to review all posts for any type of defect or problem. This happened frequently with those from the first version of Pigtails in Paint hosted by WordPress (between February 2011 and September 2012): since the editors could not have a general backup of the site, individual posts had to be recreated by copying and pasting from various sources under varying formats, leading to frequent errors and inconsistencies. Some updates are indicated by an editor’s note: merging posts, adding images or providing better versions of them, answering queries about subjects or artists. But there was also a silent work of fixing a wide variety of problems: obviously updating categories and tags, correcting misprints and errors of language, repairing broken or dysfunctional hypertext links … but also badly positioned anchors for links, line breaks inside paragraphs, wrong vertical spacing, missing images, an image with a caption located to the right of it, images linking to other images or to web pages (normally every images links to its file, allowing thus to see it in its full size), parasitic code in the source file, normalizing the format of old comments manually copied from the WordPress version, etc.

Some previous errors may have been overlooked, or some new errors may have been introduced during the update, so if readers see any type of problem in a post, they can alert us, either by using the contact form in the ‘Contact Us’ page or by emailing Christian at the address shown here.

Flavie Flament Review: A reader informed me of an interesting review about Flament’s book accusing David Hamilton of sexual misconduct published shortly before he committed suicide.  You can read it here.

I would like to emphasize that I concur with Pip and add that not only lewd comments will be deleted, but simple frivolous comments and opinions about the beauty of the girls lacking any other substance will also be trashed.  In the case of legitimate comments of a sexual nature, such information and insights should be expressed in a clinical manner, again to emphasizing a respectful attitude.

I would like to offer my personal thanks to Christian for his diligent work the past couple of years.  The completion of his project means this site is more of an integrated whole than it has ever been since its inception.  I recall how relieved I felt when all the old lost posts from the first incarnation were finally replaced.  Other technical improvements to the site will be announced as each is put into place.  -Ron

Poetry in White: Will and Carine Cadby

I get to meet a lot of people in the course of producing this site and, in one case, this has resulted in a deep friendship. Not only is Stuart a great fan of this site, but he informed me that anything he can scan from his collection is at our disposal. This was an especially generous offer because, from his descriptions, he appears to have one of the world’s biggest collections of little girl lore. With such an extensive collection, I assumed he could fill many of the gaps I have been trying to fill in. But alas, no collection is perfect and he does not recall owning any of the postcards from ‘La Journée de Suzette’ by Armand Gaboriaud. However, when I mentioned that series, it reminded him of a charming book called A Child’s Day (1913) using photographs by Will and Carine Cadby and accompanied by the poetry of Walter de la Mare. The samples he sent were just so precious and so I requested he scan the entire book.

There is not much biographical information available except for a kind of curriculum vitae. The couple were English and lived in London until settling later in Kent. Will Cadby, in particular, was personally known by Alfred Stieglitz and they maintained a written correspondence. Will began taking photographs in 1891 and his first exhibitions were in 1893. In 1894, the couple were elected members of The Linked Ring and began exhibiting in The London Salon. In 1896, Will began experimenting with white-on-white photography with models dressed in white shot with a white background. This signature style is apparent in A Child’s Day. The couple published their first of several children’s books in 1902, Dogs and Doggerel. For the most part, Carine did the writing and production while Will provided the photos. From 1912–1932 the Cadbys wrote a column called “London Letter” for Photo-Era magazine until its demise.

The Cadbys’ work had an international following and was appreciated in the United States as well as the European subcontinent. A particularly delightful example is Die Heilige Insel (The Holy Island, 1917). This kind of book would have been well-received during this heyday of Europe’s fascination with fairies.

Will Cadby – Die Heilige Insel (1917) (1)

Will Cadby – Die Heilige Insel (1917) (2)

It is remarkable that there have been so many books published in various languages containing images of little girls accompanied by poetic description. What follows are excerpts from de la Mare’s writing followed by the image that appears on the opposing page. We are introduced to our subject thus:

But nevertheless, as sweet as I can,
I’ll sing a song to Elizabeth Ann—
The same little Ann as there you see
Smiling as happy as happy can be.
And all that my song is meant to say
Is just what she did one long, long day,
With her own little self to play with only,
Yet never once felt the least bit lonely.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (1)

… At last from the pillow,
With cheeks bright red,
Out comes her round little
Touseled head;
And out she tumbles
From her warm bed. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (2)

… So in her lonesome,
Slippety, bare,
Elizabeth Ann’s
Splash—splashing there;
And now from the watery
Waves amonje
Stands slooshing herself
With that ‘normous sponge.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (3)

… But sailing the world’s wide ocean round,
In a big broad bale from Turkey bound,
All for the sake of Elizabeth Ann
This towel’s been sent by a Mussulman,
And with might and main she must rub—rub—rub—
Till she’s warm and dry from her morning tub.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (4)

Now twelve above,
And twice six beneath,
She must polish and polish
Her small, sharp teeth.
The picture, you see,
Entirely fails
To show how nicely
She nipped her nails. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (5)

Here all we see
Is Ann’s small nose,
A smile, two legs,
And ten pink toes,
Neatly arranged
In two short rows.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (6)

… Yet—though, of course, ‘twould be vain to tell a-
Nother word about Cinderella—
Except for a Mouse on the chimney shelf,
She put on her slippers quite—quite by herself,
And I can’t help thinking the greater pleasure
Is to dress in haste, and look lovely at leisure.
Certainly summer or winter, Ann
Always dresses as quick as she can.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (7)

And there she is (on the other side),
The last button buttoned, the last tape tied.
Her silky hair has perched upon it
A flat little two-stringed linen bonnet.
Each plump brown leg that comes out of her frock
Hides its foot in a shoe and a sock.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (8)

… While all the pigs
From York to Devon,
Have finished their wash
Before half-past seven.
But Elizabeth Ann
Gets up so late
She has only begun
At half-past eight
To gobble her porridge up— …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (9)

The following passage does not seem to make sense. Throughout the book, de la Mare incorporates the girl’s activities with those of wild beasts as in the pig reference above. In this case, it seems the poet did not have anything to say about the image itself.

… But Time, she nods her head—
Like flights of the butterfly,
Mammoths fade through her hours;
And Man draws nigh.
And it’s ages and ages ago;
Felled are the forests in ruin;
Gone are the thickets where lived on his lone
Old Bruin.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (10)

When safe into the fields Ann got,
She chose a dappled, shady spot,
Beside a green rush-bordered pool,
Where, over water still and cool,
The little twittering birds did pass,
Like shadows in a looking-glass. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (11)

Please to look and see it there,
Dangling in her fleecy hair.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (12)

… “Happy, happy it is to be
Where the greenwood hangs o’er the dark blue sea;
To roam in the moonbeams clear and still
And dance with the elves
Over dale and hill;
To taste their cups, and with them roam
The fields for dewdrops and honeycomb.
Climb then, and come, as quick as you can,
And dwell with the fairies, Elizabeth Ann!” …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (13)

But this little morsel of morsels here—
Just what it is is just not clear: …
… But it’s all the same to Elizabeth Ann.
For when one’s hungry, it doesn’t much matter
So long as there’s (something) on one’s platter.

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (14)

Now fie! O fie! How sly a face!
Half greedy joy, and half disgrace;
O foolish Ann, O greedy finger;
To long for that forbidden ginger! …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (15)

… And see! That foolish Ann’s forgot
To put the cover on the pot;
And also smeared—the heedless ninny—
Her sticky fingers on her pinny.
And, O dear me! Without a doubt,
Mamma has found the culprit out. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (16)

… And here upon the stroke of three,
Half-way ‘twixt dinner-time and tea,
Cosily tucked in her four-legged chair,
With nice clean hands and smooth brushed hair,
In some small secret nursery nook,
She sits with her big Picture book. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (17)

As soon as ever twilight comes,
Ann creeps upstairs to pass,
With one tall candle, just an hour
Before her looking-glass.
She rummages old wardrobes in,
Turns dusty boxes out;
And nods and curtsies, dances, sings,
And hops and skips about. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (18)

… But now, dear me!
What’s this we see?
A dreadful G—
H—O—S—T!
A-glowering with
A chalk-white face
Out of some dim
And dismal place. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (19)

“But now, my dear, for gracious sake!
Eat up this slice of currant cake;
Though certain sure, you’ll soon be screaming
For me to come—and find you dreaming. …”

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (20)

But soon as Nurse’s back was turned
Ann’s idle thumbs for mischief yearned.
See now, those horrid scissors, oh,
If they should slip an inch or so!
If Ann should jog or jerk—suppose,
They snipped off her small powdery nose! …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (21)

But higgledy-piggledy
Slovenly Ann
Jumps out of her clothes
As fast as she can;
And with frock, sock, shoe,
Flung anywhere,
Slips from dressupedness
Into her bare. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (22)

… This brief day now over;
Life’s but a span;
Tell how my heart aches,
Tell how my heart breaks,
To bid now farewell
To Elizabeth Ann. …

Will and Carine Cadby – A Child’s Day (1912) (23)

I was informed that there was some confusion about the date.  I had originally placed the date of 1913 for A Child’s Day which may have been confused with a film produced that year.  A colleague has informed me that the first edition was published in 1912 by Constable and was in a 12″ by 9¾” format, while the second edition was 9¾” by 7¾” and published in 1915 with a third reprint in 1920—sometimes referred to as the second edition by those who are now reproducing copies of many of these books with expired copyrights.

Official Walter de la Mare Society Website

Fudge Factors

Today is Pigtails in Paint’s 6th anniversary.  Not an auspicious one to be sure and I admit to some reservations.  For one thing, even though this site was founded by Pip 6 years ago today, it cannot be said that we have been in continuous operation that long due to technical issues and outright censorship.  Recently, Pip designed a little banner to celebrate our 1000th post, but again I have reservations.  As the site evolved, it made sense to consolidate a number of shorter posts and, on occasion, posts were deleted out of necessity.  And then there is the issue of monthly updates: do they count as posts or only those that contain images?  Some posts are long and some very short.  So I decided that, so that Pip’s efforts would not go to waste, I would post his celebratory banner on this anniversary date.  Thanks go to all our readers for their support particularly during these trying times.  -Ron

Maiden Voyages: January-February 2017

As we had to shut down in December, it was not possible to make a January ‘Maiden Voyages’.  A lot has happened and I am proud that through our supporters, the site was essentially up and running again within a month!

Our New Banner: By now, you have noticed the new banner.  This one is a breakthrough in two respects: 1) it is an original work of art by a U.S. painter with a background designed by Pip and 2) Pip always liked the idea of a banner with the girl actually drawing the letters of the site’s title.  The old banner has been archived in Pigtails’ third anniversary post along with all the earlier incarnations.  The banner is only the start as we modernize and organize this site to make it more accessible.

I rather like the idea that the title is not immediately legible and that it takes a few seconds of work to make it out. That will make it more memorable, since people must actively engage with it instead of just glossing over it. Which, I think, is a fundamental reflection of what good art is about, so the banner better represents what our site is. There are layers to it. It would be easy to make it all very pretty and simple—that’s how my earliest banners looked—but girls aren’t just pretty and simple, and that’s the point. The title reflects that they can be rough around the edges sometimes, but to me that adds to their charm. And it’s one thing to have a simple design when you’re just starting out, but we’ve hopefully moved beyond that. We are a well-established site now, and we’ve been through a lot. The new banner I think captures that complexity. The girl has made her mark, so to speak, and it cuts against the status quo, violates the simply ornamental. Like our girl, we have made a mark, and we did so on our own terms. Anyone could post images that are simply pleasing and non-challenging–what we’re doing is exploring aspects of girlhood that much of society would rather we didn’t. There have been several attempts to silence our voice, but we didn’t let that stop us, did we? -Pip Starr, February 1, 2017

Our Domain Name: The change of the domain name was originally a practical matter because we were having trouble reaching the domain registrar to forward searches to the new IP.  This has now been remedied.  All links and references to pigtailsinpaint.com will now be forwarded to the corresponding pigtailsinpaint.org page.  Please make the necessary adjustments to your search engines as the old name will be permanently retired in November 2017.  The decision to stay with the .org designation was to give Pigtails in Paint a more institutional feel as the site becomes a more important clearinghouse on materials connected to the topic of little girls.  One of the side effects of this change is that, for the time being, Russians now have access once again.  In fact, Russian visitors currently outnumber Americans two to one!  If this site should be blocked in your country, there is also a mirror site pigtailsinpaint.uk which will have a distinct IP address once the complications of mirroring have been solved..

Vindication after the Witch Hunt: Pip has mentioned the case of Mike Diana before on Pigtails. He’s the only legitimate artist ever to have been convicted on obscenity charges for his underground comic Boiled Angel that featured graphic depiction of violence and sexual abuse. There is a documentary in the works about this case. It will feature interviews with such comics luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Peter Bagge and Steve Bissette. You can see a teaser here, which is called The Trial of Mike Diana. The producers have been seeking funding for it on Kickstarter and they have been so successful that not only is the film completely funded, but they used some of the additional money to clear an outstanding arrest warrant on Diana in the state of Florida.

Closing the Barn Door: One of my associates discovered this interesting document online.  It lists material considered inappropriate for viewing by imprisoned sex offenders in the UK. They include artists like Graham Ovenden, Jan Saudek, Hajime Sawatari, Jock Sturges, Sally Mann, Oliver Hill’s Garden of Adonis and nudist magazines.  It also includes various texts on sexology and pedophilia which do not contain any “offending” images.  The Ministry of Justice also flaunts its ignorance a bit; one of the banned books is Thomas Hamilton’s The Age of Innocence!

Will the Real Artist Stand Up? The October 2015 ‘Maiden Voyages’ showed two photographs falsely attributed to Lewis Carroll.  An associate has found that one belongs to nude photographer J.L.M.E. Durieu mentioned in a short Pigtails post.  The site identifying the real artist can be found here.

Orphans Looking for Names: When Pip became semi-retired from Pigtails in Paint, he wanted to make sure that important images and other materials were not lost and would eventually find a place here.  These included a number of intriguing but unidentified photographs.  So in addition to the restored ‘Dream Girls’ images that have yet to be identified, there is a new batch.  So please take another look at the ‘Little Orphan Images’ page and help us find homes for these wayward pictures.

Bonds of Blood: Two Adaptations of a Vampire Story

* * * Spoiler Alert * * *

For some reason, one of our readers took me to task for reviewing the film, Le tout nouveau testament. One of the titles he suggested I review instead was Let Me In (2010), a British-American film directed by Matt Reeves. In the mean time, a good friend of mine told me about a film he had just watched called Let the Right One In (2008), a Swedish film written and directed by John Ajvide Lundqvist. When Pip informed me they were based on the same story, I was curious why there were two similar films produced in such close succession.

I had hoped to find a clue in some interview, but Matt Reeves’ explanation was not forthcoming. He knew that the Swedish film was about to be released. Did he not think there would be a dubbed English version in due course? The main motivation of the story revolves around a 12-year-old boy being bullied and hoping—but being too afraid—to get his revenge. In a roundtable interview, Reeves explains:

Sure. Well, I was bullied. And I grew up at that time, and my parents went through a very painful divorce. And I identified with that sense of being incredibly confused and the sense of humiliation and the sense of isolation. There’s tremendous shame with being bullied. I think there’s a level at which you think that there’s a reason that you’re being singled out, that you’re being chosen. As a kid, I was always mistaken for a girl. -Reprinted by Michael Leader, November 4, 2010

A telling difference in the two versions of the film was that Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) was called “piggy” (such an insult does not suggest fatness as it does in America) while Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) was called a “little girl” and in the latter film the violence of the bullying was more explicitly violent and humiliating.

Apart from a teaser in Reeves’ version which the filmmaker must have felt was necessary to interest an American audience in the movie, the two films follow the story almost word for word. The story begins in the early 1980s with an older man and a young girl—also appearing to be 12 years old—moving in next door to a boy who lives with his divorcing mother. In Reeves’ version, the mother is especially religious. Those observing this scene are supposed to assume the man is her father with the peculiar fact that the girl is walking around with bare feet even though it is outside.

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (1)

In Lundqvist’s novel and film, the girl is called Eli (pronounced “Ellie” and played by Lina Leandersson) and in Reeves’, it is Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz). They first meet when the boy is sitting in the courtyard. She appears behind him and immediately tells him that they cannot be friends. He is playing with a Rubik’s Cube and invites her to try it. He comments that she smells funny, apparently a trait of vampires who need to feed. Due to some bad luck, her caregiver was not able to secure her some blood and she has to fend for herself this night. He gives her the puzzle to play with and later finds it sitting in the courtyard, mystified that she solved it so easily.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (1)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (2)

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (2)

Despite the girl’s admonition, a bond does seem to form. Her caregiver has noticed this and strenuously advises her not to see the boy anymore.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (3)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (3)

Since the two live next door to each other, a kind of Morse Code is created so they can communicate through the wall. Still unaware of the girl’s true nature, the boy offers her some candy. At first, she declines, but she wants the boy to like her and tries one piece. It does not agree with her and she is momentarily sick.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (4)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (4)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (5)

The Swedish film is more subtle in its presentation which is why I favor it slightly. In fact, the revelation of what is happening is all implied and depends on our own understanding of vampire lore. Lundqvist’s version does not even mention the word vampire throughout the film. No stranger to violence, the girl advises the boy that he needs to hit back hard, even though he is outnumbered. All the while, he fantasizes in the privacy of his bedroom that he confronts his aggressors with a knife.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (5)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (6)

On a field trip, the bullies once again threaten him and tell him he will end up in the frozen pond. To defend himself, he finds a stick. When confronted, he explains that it he will use it to hit back. Given his track record, the other boys do not believe him and he suddenly lashes out and strikes the leader on the side of his head, giving him a serious injury. The adults unaware of the context of this attack come very close to suspending him. Upon his return home, he explains to Eli/Abby what he has done and she says she is proud of him. After another night of feeding, the girl appears on Oskar/Owen’s windowsill and asks to be let in. The boy is half asleep, but she explains that she must be invited in—another vampire trait which the boy does not immediately catch on to. She disrobes and gets into bed with him. She still has blood on her face so she tells him not to look. He comments that she is ice cold and wonders why she is naked. She asks if he finds that gross but he does not object. He decides to ask if she wants to go steady but she does not really understand. She finally agrees based on the promise that there will be no basic change in their relationship and it is a way to get him to like her.

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (7)

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (6)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (8)

In the Reeves interview, it was explained that the decision to change the title in the English version of Lundqvists’ novel was because the publisher though the American audience would not be sophisticated enough to understand the metaphor of the original title. New editions have since changed the title back to Let the Right One In. Of course, the correct title offers a greater depth of meaning. Not only does it refer to the requirement that vampires be invited in, but also refers to the risks of inviting a new person into one’s intimate personal life.

Meanwhile, the caregiver has made a serious mistake and his capture is imminent. To avoid being identified, he spills acid all over his face, a shocking clue to the his devotion to the vampire girl. Was his advice to the girl more about keeping her out of trouble or was it a form of jealousy? Eli/Abby learns he is in the hospital under top security. She finds out his room location and visits him from the windowsill. Because of his injuries, he cannot speak and invite her in. In one last act of love, he extends his own neck out the window so he may offer her one last meal.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (7)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (9)

This turn of events has brought her closer to the boy and she decides she must risk revealing what she is. He hesitantly accepts her but not until she makes a most extraordinary leap of faith. She visits his home and asks to be invited in. He teases her about this ritual and asks if there is some barrier preventing her from entering. She walks in without the invitation and shortly begins convulsing in pain, blood seeping out. The boy rushes over and urgently tells her she is welcome to come in.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (8)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (10)

He lets her take a shower to get cleaned up and offers her one of his mother’s dresses. Now Oskar/Owen begins to assume the role of helping the girl get food. In both films, a man investigating the peculiar happenings of the town is lured into the girl’s home and ambushed. The boy is shocked by the viciousness of the attack and walks out in distress. She comes out afterward and tries to show her gratitude with a little affection.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (9)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (11)

Eli/Abby, not being able to stay in any one place too long, informs the boy that she must leave soon. In the mean time, the older brother of the lead bully is planning revenge and manages to draw the coach away from the swimming pool where Oskar/Owen is working out. He is told that if he can stay underwater for three minutes, he will be spared, if not, he will have his eyes gouged out. We then see him underwater with the brother’s hand firmly grasping his hair while he does his best. Suddenly, there is a lot of commotion and we see bloody severed body parts. The boy emerges to see that he has been rescued by the vampire girl.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (10)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (12)

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (11)

In the final scene, the boy is sitting on a train accompanied by a large trunk on the way to a new hunting ground, the two communicating with each other with the knocks and scratches established earlier in the film.

John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let the Right One In (2008) (12)

Matt Reeves and John Ajvide Lundqvist – Let Me In (2010) (13)

I know I am not the first to make this observation, but the whole development of the vampire idea had as much to do with the terrors of sexuality as with that of violent murder and the metaphor of consumption. This plays very well in this film since there is ongoing tension about the ambiguity of the relationship. Presumably when one is infected, one keeps one’s appearance forever thus Eli/Abby is both a little girl and yet very old. But despite her long life, she still has some naivete regarding matters of love since she would not have had much occasion to practice and learn. There is also a strong accent on the morality of a vampire’s violent lifestyle versus the hateful bullying that children can inflict. A society might frown on a vampire feeding on its citizens, but is it really any worse than the psychological trauma and humiliation that bullied young people suffer? So it is ironic that Oskar/Owen should find affection not from the warm-blooded denizens of his neighborhood, but from the icy embrace of a vampire who understands and appreciates him.