"At the Fair, Taos, NM," 2013 by Margarita Mavromichalis

“At the Fair, Taos, NM,” 2013 by Margarita Mavromichalis

Tis the season for adorable tots to pose on Santa’s lap, but you won’t find any tinsel-framed photos at “Kids (Not Cute),” a new exhibition at Umbrella Arts in the East Village.

"Boy with the Wild Hair," 1981 by Robert Herman

“Boy with the Wild Hair,” 1981 by Robert Herman

Harvy Stein, the gallery’s director of photography, says the showcase of little ones in real, rather than fabricated, situations recalls feelings from his own childhood. “I favor, and try to photograph kids as complex little beings struggling to cope in the strange, threatening and shadowy world of adults,” he told us. “Loneliness, fright, even death can face them. So I’ve always wondered why we rarely see photographs in this light.”

(Photo: "Rwanda Rising" by Lorena Turner)

(Photo: “Rwanda Rising” by Lorena Turner)

An international call for such photos garnered 1,209 entries from 217 artists; Stein selected 42 of them for the show.

MaryAnn Fahey, co-founder and curator of Umbrella Arts, shares Stein’s sap-free sensibility. “I have always shied away from puppy dogs and kittens on my wall,” she said, “we were looking for children who would surprise us.”

You can check out a few of the exhibit photos online, but the three photos at right and below you will only find at Umbrella Arts.

(Photo: "Coney Island Fun" by Margarita Mavromichalis)

(Photo: “Coney Island Fun” by Margarita Mavromichalis)

(Photo: "Sculpture on 5th Ave." by Paul Kessel)

(Photo: “Sculpture on 5th Ave.” by Paul Kessel)

“Kids (Not Cute)” through Jan. 17, Thu-Sun from 1-6pm and by appointment at Umbrella Arts, 317 E. 9th St., bet. 1st and 2nd Aves