|Johnathan Hobin, The Twins, photograph, 2010|
When interviewed by George Strombolopolous for Canadian television, Hobin claimed to be surprised by the uproar the photographs have caused, instead thinking more people would get his meaning:
Most of my work is about childhood experience. It is important to acknowledge that childhood is not always wonderful and whimsical and sometimes it is sad and tragic. Kids do see some of the horrible things in this world... It is important to reflect how the world appears to them.Ironically, much of the controversy surrounding In The Playroom is focused on Hobin exposing kids to these catastrophes by way of re-enactment, which pretty much enforces his point. Many of the comments on the blogs I found during research were from parents wondering what kind of person would let their kids be involved with something like this. Well... this kind.
The dividing line seems to fall between people who believe kids should be kept from anything they may find disturbing and those who are realistic enough to know that kids actually grow up. Hobin concludes the televised interview by expressing his desire for parents to actually have a conversation with their children as opposed to ignoring problems and hoping they'll go away.
Say what you will about the way he chooses to convey his message, Hobin has certainly garnered attention for himself. Of course, this is also a bone of contention amongst detractors who see the shock value as a road to commercial success.
In 2009, Hobin's Mother Goose photographs probed the thematically similar motif of dark subtext in nursery rhymes.
|Johnathan Hobin, Jack Sprat, photograph, 2009|
It is interesting to note that the three models used in the Mother Goose series were chosen with specific care. They were family friends of the artist's whose father had passed away. Said Hobin,, "If there are any kids that understand that life is not free and easy, then it's these kids... They totally represent the type of kid I was at that age."
Both of the series mentioned here can be found at Johnathan Hobin's website along with his commercial work. - John Elmore