You can view other individual images in the
series at: www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/
artist_work_md_191_ 4.ht ml.
A Closer Look
• Describe the expression on the character’s face.
Begin a conversation with students about
Untitled #1 (Wonder). Choose questions appropriate
for your group’s age and interest.
• What are some choices that Gaskell made
about the composition? The point of view?
Why might she have made them?
• If this photo were an illustration in a story
book, describe this portion of the story.
• What is going on in this photograph?
• What kinds of feelings might she be
• What sounds might she be hearing?
• What can’t we see?
• What can we see?
Before starting the suggested art activities, you
may want to show several other works in the
series for a different understanding of Gaskell’s
work. Ask students to pay close attention to the
configuration and relationship of the photographs
which is different each time it is exhibited.
Blessing, Jennifer, Ed. Family Pictures; Contemporary Photography and Video from the Collection of the Guggenheim Museum. Galleria
Anna Gaskell, Untitled #1 (Wonder)
Anna Gaskell attended Bennington College,
the Art Institute of Chicago, and Yale University (where she received an MFA). Since then,
her work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, for which
she has received several prestigious prizes and
grants. She lives and works in New York City.
In this photograph, a girl wearing a dress is
swimming in a pool of water looking frightened
and lost. According to the artist, this image—
and the series—is suggestive of the multiple
psychological dimensions of Alice, the lost cen-
tral character of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adven-
tures in Wonderland. According
to Gaskell, this iconic character
serves as a metaphor for the anxi-
ety that children experience on
the verge of adolescence.
Although Gaskell’s photography
might be compared to a film, the
images in the series are not connected by a clear
narrative thread. Gaskell intends for the works
to be placed together in a variety of configura-
tions so that the viewer can imagine the story
in various and changing ways. An example of
how the works might be exhibited is illustrated
below; however, there are numerous possibili-
ties. Indeed, each frame is vague and open to
multiple interpretations, whether on its own or
as part of the series.
Untitled #1 (Wonder) is one photograph from
a larger series titled Wonder (1996–1997). The
photos are printed in a variety of sizes.
About this Work
Gaskell intends for the
viewer to imagine the
story in various and
Anna Gaskell sees film and storytelling as her
primary inspirations for becoming an artist.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1969, Gaskell
thinks of her childhood as a time when she was
very influenced by and immersed in movies
and books. Gaskell still loves
to read and to escape through
stories, which may explain her
interest in narrative photographic work.
Gaskell’s early photographs
were self-portraits, but she soon
began photographing girls collectively acting
out stories. In recent years, Gaskell has crafted
tableaux of pre-adolescent girls that reference
children’s games, literature, and psychology. The scenes that Gaskell photographs are
meticulously planned and staged, existing only
for the sake of the photographs and the viewer’s