Photographer Mark Nixon creates portraits of worn-out vintage teddy bears in the series Much Loved Bears. These nostalgic portraits immortalize the innocence of youth; better yet, the goodness and appreciation of a child, as they hold on to the old with no remorse. The photographs are paired with text provided by the owner and they are part of a book called Much Loved.
The funny looking portraits project a sense of irony, as seeing the teddy bear, a signifier of early age, and their ‘wear’ and ‘tear’, a signifier of old age, together generate an interesting tension between the two. The battered teddy bears are a symbol of love, respect and friendship- moreover an undenying preservation of a friend that was important, and therefore hard to replace.
“When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back.”
It feels as if these photographs also expound on a critical string of thoughts regarding the journey of becoming older, and what it means to be an owner of something today. The fact that we so easily get rid of ‘damaged’ material things with the eagerness of wanting more and ‘better’ is something that contrasts Nixon’s attention to the teddy bear’s ‘battlescars’; for a kid,however, the damaged but useful and loved, is not something to easily get rid of. (Via My Modern Met)