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“Nothing that grieves us can be called little:
by the eternal laws of proportion a child's loss of a doll
and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size”
~ Mark Twain

Dolls is a body of work of a collection of twenty close-up portraits of porcelain headed dolls
photographed in natural light in the same way a real person would be. The effect is
intriguing, enchanted, lifelike, adorable and sometimes eerie.

I have always been interested in photographing mannequins, dolls and masks but this work
is unique because it is derived from one woman’s collection of porcelain dolls all shot in the
same light giving them a cohesiveness and sisterhood. There is magic in these green, brown
and blue eyes that I hope to capture, they transport me to a place somewhere
between reality and fabrication.

The history of dolls begins in the prehistoric times. Porcelain dolls go back to 1770’s
when the doll heads were manufactured in Cornwall, England. This collection of dolls
belongs to Kay and they were all given to her beginning in the 1960’s. These are not
extraordinary but they are beautiful dolls, not museum pieces or extremely rare, but
some of them have lifelike eyelashes and moving eyes. Others have their lashes and
eyebrows painted on. Most of the dolls have glass eyes that would move when the doll is tilted.
Each doll has a distinctive cherub look, air-brushed pink cheeks, lifelike hair, dressed with
lace and some are adorned with jewels. No doubt that each doll is dressed to attend
a special tea party with friends.

Some of the dolls have scrambled hair; presumably when a child played with Kay’s dolls,
but Kay had no children of her own. She has lived her life in South Dakota in a very small town.
She calls her house “The Doll House.” This is most of Kay’s collection of porcelain dolls.
These dolls were photographed as they were found, some dusty and some have cracked eyes.
The dust seems to make the skin look even more real and long strands of hair go in and out
of focus that gives them life.

Digital Prints

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