Picks and Pans Review: Naked Babies
What could be more delectable, more evocative of our tender feelings than the sight of a baby clothed only in his or her own smooth, adorable, dimpled skin? That's the question that Naked Babies invites us to consider as we contemplate Nick Kelsh's black-and-white photographs of gloriously unclad small humans and as we read the accompanying text by novelist and former New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen.
For the most part, Kelsh's photos avoid the clichés we're used to seeing in ads for infant food and diapers. The most engaging shots focus on details: the delicate plush of a tiny ear, the concentric whorls of wispy hair at the base of a baby's neck: Quindlen's recollections of caring for her own children and her meditations on the perfection of newborns ("A naked baby is like a field after a snowfall...") are pleasant enough if not exactly profound.
What's most useful about Naked Babies are the nuggets of comforting advice embedded in the text: the suggestion that newborns are not as terrifyingly fragile as new parents fear, that normal babies develop skills at very different rates, and that the time it takes for infants to grow into children passes far more rapidly than their mothers and fathers could ever imagine. (Penguin Studio, $24.95)