Portraits of Toddlers Reacting to Tasting a Lemon for the First Time


Most of us can agree that having a toddler is a lot less fun than being one, but photographing one… well that can fall closer to the latter given the right circumstances. For photographers April Maciborka and David Wile, the right circumstances were just a lemon slice and a cute reaction away.

Thus was born the cute series pucker. in which toddlers react to their first ever taste of the sour yellow fruit that life’s always giving us with the expectation that we make lemonade.

There’s not much to pucker, the photos pretty much speak for themselves. Even when it comes to describing the series, Maciborka and Wile need only two short sentences:

Lemons can be a great source of entertainment. Especially when you give babies the opportunity to taste [them] for the first time!

The toddlers’ reactions — honest as only theirs can be — range from dismay, to confusion, to betrayal, to a few scattered cases of glee:

















To see more of Wile‘s or Maciborka‘s work, head over to their websites by clicking on their respective links. And if you really enjoyed this series, be sure to check out Nagano Toyokazu’s creative conceptual portraits of his 4-year-old daughter Kanna we shared last week.

(via The Phoblographer)

Image credits: Photographs by April Maciborka and David Wile and used with permission.

  • Sid Ceaser

    “How can I imitate Jill Greenburg’s crying kid portraits and lighting without actually making them cry and dealing with the fallout? A-ha! I’ll give them lemons.”


  • Don Tusk

    Do another ! > Portraits of adults reacting to paychecks.

  • William Richards

    Am I allowed to comment on the poor lighting setup? Why would you want to light the sides of baby’s heads rather then the part where the action is?

  • p.rock

    They’re trying to emulate the Jill Greenberg look :(

  • tom

    I always cringe when I see projects like this. Such an obvious rip-off of Jill Greenberg, right down to the colors and lighting. Is it really that hard to come up with an original idea of your own?

  • p.rock

    Seriously. At least change the background color or something so it doesn’t appear to be just a blatant rip-off.

  • Al

    Poor lighting, inconsistent processing, unpleasant gradient banding, unoriginal idea done badly. If your going to copy something at least do it better. I hate unoriginal ideas like this.

  • tomdavidsonjr

    Lemons aren’t bitter, though. They are sour, or tart due to the citric acid.

  • Carl Meyer

    And don’t forget bibs to cover their unnecessary breasts from lascivious eyes ;-).

  • Carl Meyer

    Bare is the word that is missing.

  • Steven Wade

    Maybe Jill Greenberg should have had them eat lemons the first time because these facial expressions are way better than infants crying.

  • Bruce Kramer

    My agency use to represent Jill Greenberg. If we still did you would be receiving a letter from my lawyer.

  • Dave

    Lighting is more than just illuminating your subject, that’s why. Portrait photography often makes use of the rule of light that states: The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflectance. By putting a light or lights to the side and behind the subject, you use the reflected light to sculpt the subject, not just flatly ‘light it up’. And the baby’s heads ARE where ‘the action is’. This is more about their expression than the lemon in their hands.

  • mikemike9

    Genuinely interested to know: on what grounds would you possibly sue?

  • Dave

    No one has ever taken a picture of a baby before. Duh

  • Rabi Abonour

    While the similarities to Jill Greenberg’s work are obvious, I actually think I find these more compelling. I love these expressions.

    What I don’t love is the phrase “there’s not much to pucker,” which is sort of a pathetic attempt at wordplay. Puns don’t work if you have to make up a new definition for a word; “pucker” has no meaning that makes that phrase make sense.

  • Nada

    used to, not use to

  • Elias

    This has been a tradition in the Mexican culture for decades.

  • Joey Duncan

    Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg Jill Greenberg… Pretty sure it’s part of the joke of the shoot. Get over it…. This is 2013 and EVERYTHING is a “rip off” to one degree or another. Even if the background and lighting was different people would still be saying the same thing. Th context is the baby trying the lemon, not the lighting…. or the background… pretty sure that was intentional.

  • Joey Duncan

    Those of you who can’t appreciate pictures what they are, learn to live a little. It’s funny, not a competition with “Jill Greenberg.” Maybe I see if differently but it’s obvious to me that the troll world would not allow these photos to happen in a similar manner as “Jill Greenberg”‘s photos without a hydrogen bombs worth of hate comments. So as far as i can tell the similarity is part of the satire.

  • Joey Duncan

    As a side note, personally I’m pretty critical of stuff that gets posted on here, but there seems to be a large amount of anger from people over this post…. for something that could simply brighten your day. A thing or two could be said about “Jill Greenberg’s” images too……

    If I see a black and white picture of a Mountain is it a rip off of Ansel Adams? No, I didn’t think so.

  • Joey Duncan

    P.S. these expressions are awesome. I love these photos.

  • RE Casper

    Wow… lot of backlash on the fact someone else has taken pictures of some babies with strong expressions. Frankly I found these entertaining and fun to look through. So yeah, thats my two cents. Oh, or did I steal that “two cents” statement from someone else who previously used it?

  • William Richards

    My poor lighting comment was based on my idea that if I take a portrait shot of someone I’d prefer to get the face correctly lit and leave the ears of the subject for what they are. Not the prettiest part of the human anatomy. But obviously everyone to their own. I have seen the Jill Greenburg shots and enjoyed them, as I enjoy these. Style always wins out over rules. It’s just it’s Jill Greenburg’s style…

  • Bristol

    Who cares?

  • Mikey

    Huh… There’s absolutely nothing new or compelling here. And honestly, the “Greenberg shiny style” has been so overused that it’s starting to look dated and horribly cliche.


  • Bill

    Let’s see some of your work.

  • Rabi Abonour

    “Correctly lit” isn’t a phrase I can get behind, however, I agree with you in not loving the lighting here. The harsh sidelight highlights are not very pleasing to me, and do not shape the faces in a way I find to be particularly sophisticated. In this series I would have preferred a more even light.

  • ken

    Awesome work!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    BS, if you could sue for copying an artistic style, all of the major photographers would be bankrupt at this point. Nice try though

  • Bruce Kramer

    “Major” (whatever that means) set the standards.

    Jill wasn’t the first to get extreme expressions from a subject nor the last. Her technique was unique.

    April and David simple replaced the method to get a reaction and couldn’t even be bothered to change the lighting, lens, crop, etc.

    In regards to copyright we have won cases with less elements being the same.

    At the least they should give a shout out to Jill and thank her for inspiring them.

  • bob cooley
  • gunman

    every photo is over exposed…. each photo was gamma adjusted. Baby sking should look silky noy “plasticky”.. :P

  • gunman

    that should be “baby skin”… sorry.. :)


    No black baby? RACIST!

  • Sid Ceaser

    . . . and I gotta nitpick something – if your paper backdrop show’s wrinkles, flatten that sucker out. Half these images have background papers with bumps in them. It totally ruins the look they are going for. Just pay attention to the small details, s’all I’m saying.

  • tommy

    This comment was such a rip off of the first person who claimed that this project was a ripoff of Jill Greenberg. Is it really that hard to come up with an original comment of your own?

  • I’m nice

    Where black babies out of stock?

  • I’m nice

    Were black babies out of stock?

  • unoriginal


  • Alex Masters

    You mean the Amy Dresser look?

  • Randell

    Why on earth would you call someone a racist for not photographing a black baby?
    Not every ethnic skin colour is presented in this body of work, but you zero in to the fact no black babies were photographed.
    I don’t hear any one from other ethnic groups complain or insult the photographer in this way.
    Why don’t you keep you’re name calling and ridiculous militancy to your selves.
    As for the photographs, I like the concept, but don’t think the ‘Greenberg’ look was the way to go.
    I think the photographer would have been better to approach this with an original lighting set up.

  • Jameson Clifton

    Amy Dresser was Jill Greenberg’s assistant.

  • Alex Masters

    Amy Dresser was the retoucher on End Times.

  • Rachel Givens

    Love these! Such a fun range of expressions!