That’s a Wrap: Picturing the Overprotected Child

The Overprotected Childby David Arky

In editorial photography, there’s a very fine balance between supporting the story and overshadowing it. The same can be said of parenting. So when the Wall Street Journal asked us to illustrate a story on “The Overprotected American Child,” we got it. We asked ourselves: how do you depict constrictive parenting?

With a perfectly controlled composition. Each element of the shot was carefully chosen to help tell the story: the head-to-toe bubble-wrap that says “fragile.” The bright pops of red (including a fire hydrant only inches away) that shout “stop” and “safety first.” Even the choice of a rope belt, to convey the idea of “reined in.”

Casting and direction, too, were orchestrated to capture precisely the right glum expression. The result, a human still life: the perfect metaphor for the emotional paralysis that, the article argues, can come with overprotective parenting.