Photo Gallery: Ilze Vanaga’s ‘Childhood Is Like a Loaded Gun’

The provocative title of Latvian photographer Ilze Vanaga’s series Childhood is like a loaded gun comes from something the artist was once told but didn’t understand for years. “At age six I lost the reality but gained a dream,” Vanaga writes. “And ever since then I have subconsciously dragged myself back into that time. The time that has had the greatest significance in my life. Full of adventure, love and pain. Since then I started to live in a dream, where I imagined things, but knew they were never gonna happen, and even knowing that — I never wanted to escape from it.”

It’s fitting, then, that the model for the series is the photographer’s niece, Katrina, dressed in Vanaga’s clothes from that period of her life. In the photos, Katrina often appears lost in an Alice in Wonderland-like reverie. At other times, she has an almost unsettling maturity about her, peering out from under Minnie Mouse ears or staring suspiciously at the camera as she kneels in bed, clutching a stuffed dog. Vanaga intersperses the portraits with other subtly dark images — a water gun left on a dock, a half-eaten meal abandoned on a kitchen table, a grave site strewn with brightly colored flowers and candles. Page through a gallery of our favorite Childhood is like a loaded gun photos after the jump, and then visit Vanaga’s website to see more.

Photo credit: Ilze Vanaga [via Booooooom]