In Photographs by Justine Kurland, mother and son set off on a journey

In Kurland’s portraits of himself and Casper, who grows from a toddler in diapers over the course of the book, there is a nursery. In «Go Dog Go» (2010), the van is shown with the back door open to reveal the pair, both naked, on a mattress they appear to be using to sleep. Kurland is lying on her side, her head in her hand, looking at Casper, who is sitting with his back to her, leafing through a children’s book. His legs are curled in childish concentration; soft sunlight covers the scene. In Dirty Dishes (2009), Casper rests on a rock by the riverbank while Kurland, washing dishes in the water with her pants rolled up, again trains her eyes on her child. The two appear to be in the middle of a conversation, and although they are not physically touching, their psychological connection is palpable. These portraits have an Edenic quality, as if Kurland were asking: What if my child and I were the only two people in the world?


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