UofL’s fascinating ‘Fine Young Kids’ exhibit features 70 years of archive photos

“Vashira and Tashira Hargrove” by Mary Ellen Mark, 1993

For the past year, Marcy Werner, curatorial assistant at UofL’s Photographic Archives, has been hard at work on a database collecting all the fine prints in the extensive collection.

Werner notes that’s more than 4,000 photos so far.

While she was busy sorting and cataloging, she couldn’t help but notice a few themes emerge. One of those commonalities was pictures of children, and the range was vast in context, time and locations. Thus was born “Fine Young Kids,” an exhibition of these photos that spans more than 70 years, from about 1940 through 2012.

The show, which features 31 fascinating and compelling photographs, is now on display in the Kain Rare Books Gallery in the lower level of the Ekstrom Library.

“Paro #250” by Kenro Izu, 2005

Werner arranged the photos with themes and interesting juxtapositions in mind, she tells Insider, which were meant to pose questions to the viewers. Questions like: How has childhood changed through the years? How does an American childhood differ from those abroad? How do children process adult values?

The exhibit also features photos from many acclaimed photographers, such as Leonard Freed, Sally Mann, Bruce Davidson, Bill Carner, Arthur Leipzig, Nicholas Nixon, Barbara Crawford and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

“Where there are kids, there are cuteness, nostalgia and humor,” she says. “There are no interpretive or didactic labels, so the viewer can engage on a personal level. This exhibit can simply be enjoyed as a collection of amazing photos of children from renowned artists.”

Whether it’s a boy showing off a baseball or twins posing for a formal picture, the photos offer relatable moments forever frozen in time.

“Fine Young Kids” continues through May 25. Admission is free.

Here’s a look at a few more photos from the exhibit: