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Love It Or Hate It: Jonathan Hobin’s In The Playroom

This blog is mainly for me to post my reviews on movies, books, music and TV shows but this post is a little different today.

I want to talk about Jonathan Hobin’s In The Playroom. He is a Canadian photographer who re-created the world’s most infamous tragedies… with young children. Yes, tragedies. And these tragedies ranged from the terrorist attack on September 11 to natural disasters such as the tsunami that struck South East Asia in 2004. One example of the picture that Jonathan Hobin shared with is below:


(Click on the above image to go to’s full slideshow with other images as well as an interview with Jonathan Hobin)

I was looking through the slideshow of images. Some images are hard to figure out so I had to look through the comments to find out what the images were about and some I don’t really consider tragedy such as the bank bailout but I guess that different individuals will perceive it differently so I let that one pass.

Some of it are disturbing, I have to say, but this is art. Art can be controversial and art should make people talk. And this certainly got people talking. 

I wonder to myself when I felt disturbed about some of the images why I felt so when these did happen in reality and these were some things that we went through one way or another. Do I find it disturbing because it’s real or do I find it disturbing because Mr. Hobin used children to re-create these tragedies? A little bit of both, I have to say.

I find it unsettling that children were being used here. I’m pretty sure they are too young to understand and know what they were doing in these images and they might have felt that this is a playtime for them or role-playing time. But the parents of these kids knew what they were putting their children up for. On the other hand, I’m also very sure they are not irresponsible parents. They might have talked and reasoned it all out. If I’m a parent, would I do this? No, because I run away from problems and I would like to think of happy things rather than recalling all the sad tragedies that ever happened in my lifetime. In the interview with Jonathan Hobin, he did mention of one parent’s reluctance.


But, this is the real world we live in. These are the things that happened. And if you find these disturbing, yeah, well, these happened for real. These are actual incidents that happened. And I thought to myself if I’m an alien from another planet, I would look to Earth and go: “You are one bunch of f***ed up human beings.”

Love it or hate it? Siti is neutral on this. It’s disturbing but it’s also art and I appreciate art in all forms especially if it got me thinking.

Anyway, if you’re in Canada or you live there, In The Playroom will be in Toronto for an exhibition in Gladstone, as reported, so you can pay it a visit.