A child is the ultimate before-and-after project, and if you’ve ever watched one grow, you might have noticed: something happens between a child and their favorite toy over time. Returning to the friend again and again for comfort feeds the child, who grows bigger and less dependent even as the toy withers. There’s an exchange taking place. Sure, there’s the simple wear-and-tear involved. But as any parent who’s tried to replace a lost toy with a new one exactly like the other one can tell you, only that specific companion will do. Once the exchange has started, it can’t be handed off.
German photographer Katja Kemnitz noticed this dynamic with her own daughter, and it inspired her to create the Too Much Love series. Kemnitz’s child carried a plush dog everywhere with her, and flatly refused a shiny new one. The mother was struck by how much “soul” this and other broken-down stuffed animals seem to have absorbed, and set out to document the rigors of exchange over time.
Like so many before-and-after photographs, with Too Much Love you can start to feel, with reflection, the dense layers of story and growth that span past and present.
Images via Ufunk.