British photographer Polly Borland has always specialised in the offbeat, surreal and fringe. So when she heard about a secret club in which adult men spent weeks looking and living like babies, she first could hardly believe it – but then set out to document it.
For the solo exhibition “Nudie” Australian photographer Polly Borland has, after a long career, turned the lens on herself for the very first time. Using an iPhone camera, she challenges ‘selfie’ tropes and social media culture of self-worship and self-image through contorted, grotesque oversized nudes. These confrontational photographic prints amplify her aging body with tightly cropped frames that seem sculptural and surreal in their abstraction. The artist twists, kneads, flips and folds her body, handling her flesh like a malleable material while also steering her iPhone camera with a selfie stick.
For the first time in over 15 years, prolific photographer Polly Borland is showing her photographic series, The Babies, a body of work that dives into the world of adult males role-playing as infants. As an aspect of fetish culture, male infantilism lacks the threatening power dynamic of BDSM, or the eroticism of photographs showing people at the moment of orgasm. For those interested, its attraction lies elsewhere. Through Borland's lens, the men—dressed in diapers and often sucking on a pacifier—look vulnerable and somewhat sad, but always desiring of comfort and care.
The first time Australian photographer Polly Borland heard about the Babies, she thought, "No, that couldn't exist." Her friend assured her it did. There were secretive clubs in England where adult men spent weekends dressing up as babies, napping in cribs, wearing and soiling diapers and sometimes even suckling a surrogate mother's teat.
It’s been 16 years since Australian-born, Los Angeles-based photographer Polly Borland released The Babies, a book visually chronicling her extensive time spent over the course of five years with various communities of adult men who like to dress up as and act like babies. Yes, it’s a thing. And yes, when it was released, The Babies was subject to a range of reactions from the public, most of which hovered somewhere in the neighborhood of ‘totally freaked out.’