Photos by An-Sofie Kesteleyn
“My First Rifle” is the advertising slogan for small rifles manufactured specifically for young children. For appeal, they come in an assortment of colors and styles like hot pink, orange, royal blue or with multicolor swirls, and although they look like toys, these rifles are very real. The bizarre concept instantly grabbed the attention of Belgian photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn, and she immediately took on a project to photo shoot children with their own rifles in America.
The idea first came about when Kesteleyn read an article about a 5-year-old boy in rural Southern Kentucky who accidentally shot his 2 year old sister, and not with any gun, with his own gun. Having been raised in Belgium, she found this astonishing, so when she traveled to the United States she sought out to find gun shops and shooting ranges with families who had bought these playfully colored guns for their children. With the permission of the children’s parents, she photographed them with their rifles. While meeting with these families, she respected that most of the parents discussed self-defense and their fear of attacks with the kids, so she then asked the children to write about their own fears, and she presents their writings and drawings next to their portraits.
Although the idea and gun topic are both very controversial, the portraits are intriguing and thought provoking. Take a look for yourself and let us know how you feel about the concept.
[Via The NY Times]