Apr 8, 2011
Child with Toy Hand Grenade
The picture above was taken by the famous photographer Diane Arbus. It shows a boy*, with the left strap of his jumper awkwardly hanging off his shoulder, tensely holding his long, thin arms by his side. Clenched in his right hand is a toy grenade, and his left hand is held in a claw-like gesture; his facial expression is maniacal. Arbus captured this photograph by having the boy stand while moving around him, claiming she was trying to find the right angle. The boy became impatient and told her to "Take the picture already!" His expression conveys his exasperation and impatience with the whole endeavor, as the contact sheet for the shoot reveals. In other pictures, he is seen as a happy child.
The photograph was used, without permission, on the first version of the cover of the debut LP ".. And No One Else Wanted To Play" by Canadian punk band S.N.F.U. in 1984, and had to be replaced with drawing in subsequent editions because of copyright infringement.
The image is also used on the cover of American indie rock band Cloud Cult's debut album "Who Killed Puck?" and on the cover of the sametitled EP from 1984 of the hardcore/punk band from Netherlands called No Pigs.
An original print of the photograph sold for $408,000 in April 2005.
* The boy in the photograph is Colin Wood, son of tennis player Sidney Wood. An interview with Colin, with his recollections about Arbus taking this photograph, is presented in the BBC documentary "The Genius of Photography".