Daddy and I: photos of white fathers with Chinese adopted daughters

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I just read about this on Harlow’s Monkey.

An artist named O. Zhang has taken a series of photos of white American adoptive fathers with their Chinese adopted daughters. The series is titled Daddy and I.

The artist’s statement starts as follows:

By photographing adopted Chinese girls and their Western fathers in America, I try to capture the affection between a female child and an adult male. What is the nautre of this complex relationship, especially when different ethnic and cultural backgrounds are introduced? Through the relationship of the emerging feminine power of the adolescent girl to the mature father, each image explores the relation of the two often divided cultures: East and West.

I have to agree with Jae Ran though that there’s something very disturbing and exploitative about these pictures:

My first thought was immediately that this was inappropriate, especially the one photograph of the father and daughter on a bed. I couldn’t help but feel this was pushing it, especially with the proliferation of p o r n o g r a p h y involving A s i a n women and children with white men available on the internet…

As an Asian adoptee daughter, I find it repelling. I can’t imagine having a photo with my adoptive father in this way. What does it say about power and patriarchy? About feminization/fetishization? Contrast the Daddy and I series with Horizon, also featuring Chinese children.

I can’t agree with the reviewer, who states that “It’s evident that the it is the precocious young girl who is in control of the family.”

Art is meant to push the envelope and make people think and question. The artist claims that this series is about juxtaposing East/West, Male/Female and Adult/Child. Was the artist trying to be provocative by also using a medium that would so easily be interpreted as inappropriate?

What do you all of think of these photos? You can view the whole series here.