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Captured Childhood - two centuries of snapshots

The first ball gown. The first motorcycle ride with Dad. From the beginnings of photography, children have been a favourite subject for photographers. A new book from Fotostiftung Schweiz (centre for photography) showcases pictures capturing magic moments of childhood in Switzerland since the 19th century.

Lots of experiences are totally new for children, and have to be recorded to be remembered.

"Photos of children are often imbued with a deep longing for the time that once was and will never be again. A longing for a world in which you actually got what you wanted if you wished hard enough. A longing for a life in which fantasy is more potent than reality. Something from this lost Utopia resonates in every photo of a child," writes the Fotostiftung Schweiz in the foreword to its new photo book "Childhood in Switzerland".

Most of the photos are snapshots, and in them children are moving, as they generally do. Only the posed and stiff portraits from the early days of photography seem rather strange today. The centre has put together a collection of photos featuring children from every region of Switzerland over the past 170 years.

(Photos: Fotostiftung Schweiz, unless otherwise mentioned. Text: Christian Raaflaub,

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