This is the work of East German born artist Loretta Lux. She chose her name because she explains there are few things you can actually change in life but your name is one of them. Growing up in a communist country that laid a heavy hand on it's people has given her a particular appreciation for freedom.
She calls her photos imaginary portraits because as much as she loves the children she photographs, these pictures are not about the specific children but rather they function as metaphors. She explains that childhood is something that is brief and can not be repeated and yet sets the stage for an entire life.
Trained as a painter, she approaches each photo like a painting. After she chooses the best shot from a long photo session, she goes to work with her computer to alter the image in a process that takes months for each image. The long slow process imbues each picture with a haunting beauty of distilled perfection that does not happen in this world and serves to point to the world that awaits us.