Editor’s note: We were on assignment with photographer Irene Searles when we spotted a young girl with extraordinary charm and clearly a flair for fashion having an afternoon treat with her mother, Lisa Rosenberg, at Cafe Zoë. Lisa gave Irene permission to photograph her daughter and gave us some background on her talented 7 1/2-year-old, who loves both art and acrobatics. Lisa’s narrative follows:
“Zoé is bilingual in Greek, her father’s language which I speak passably. We raised her exclusively in Greek until she hit about 5 1/2 and started speaking back to us in English a lot. Of course, she got plenty of English from everyone else around her.
“Zoé started drawing somewhat early (making closed shapes at age 2) and began very purposeful development of drawing figures, mostly people but also animals, just before she turned 4. She is very observant of detail and has a keen memory — two qualities that can really fuel artwork. Between 4 and 5 she drew daily, often for long periods of time. Her princesses have typically worn intricate outfits with highly patterned fabrics.
“She began experimenting with perspective close to age 6 and still explores that intermittently, as well as optics (we don’t actually discuss it in such technical terms!). This year, she has been concentrating on human faces, and in addition to perspective, she has depicted objects with their reflections, relative sizes, and even embedded vantage points. It was not surprising to me that she came to reading through writing (writing first, that is); letters and words being interesting as drawn objects.
“[We support her with] lots of time together, observation, and building her opportunities for learning around her interests and inquiries. We try to provide both structured and unstructured time, including time out in nature. [That is typically] labelled “Attachment Parenting,” along with Homeschooling. My husband and I are both trained as practitioners in the Feldenkrais Method, which has profoundly influenced our thoughts on human development and learning in particular.
“Zoé likes to experiment with clothes, and she really knows what she likes — two qualities we hoped to foster even though it can make for some conflict! Fashion is an area of artistic play more than anything. She used to go through more than 10 outfits a day (clothes as toys). Fortunately, we have lots of hand-me-downs, and she does not outgrow things quickly. Her great-grandmother, whom she knew, was a costume designer for the movies, so maybe it’s in the blood. She was also a prodigious seamstress!”
Photos by Irene Searles