Bears is a series of photos by Kent Rogowski that shows stuffed teddy bears turned inside out. The normally adorable toys become something that is simultaneously funny and monstrous.
There are teddies of different designs and colours, from the typical browns to blues and yellows. Some are more recognizable as bears, while others just look like strange creatures. You can see how the toys were constructed and view all the inside parts that were not meant to be seen: some even have beanbag pellets, electronics, or rubber inserts to make them “squeak.” Some are missing arms, legs, or ears because of the way those parts were attached. I think it’s interesting how Rogowski has taken an object that is so recognizable and makes us look at it in a totally different way. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are a reminder of childhood for most of us — but these ones with loose strings and wires don’t look like something you’d want to give your kids.
“Their fasteners become eyes, their seams become scars, and their stuffing creeps out in the most unexpected places. Together these images form a typology of strange yet oddly familiar creatures,” says Rogowski in the artist’s statement, “They are at once hideous yet cuddly, disturbing yet endearing, absurd yet adorable, while offering a metaphor for us all to consider. These bears, which have lived and loved and lost as much as their owners, have suffered and endured through it all. It is by virtue of revealing their inner core might we better understand our own.”