Since first discovering photography personal work has been important to me, a way of exploring new techniques and ideas. A huge part of my personal work for the last 6 or 7 years has been photographing my collection of Asian Ball Jointed Dolls, the two interests came about at the same time and grew together, shooting the dolls is largely where my growth as a photographer initially came from.
ABJDs, bought nude and typically blank and bald are a creative hobby in and of themselves, while I’m not skilled enough to paint all my dolls myself there’s many people in the world wide community who are so it’s possible to create just about anything you can envision with the dolls and for me, photographing them has always been an extension of that.
The featured photographs below are just a few of the doll photos I’ve taken over the last few years
Moving forwards when I left work to go back to school and tackle a photography degree my personal work and my fascination with shooting dolls and people who, like me, collect them followed me and found it’s way into my work. The three shots below of owners holding their dolls was originally part of a set of work based on the state of the economy and the austerity measures put in the place by the government. My approach was to come at it from the view point of someone who takes part in a hobby that easily costs £200 – £500 as a basic starting point. As part of that project I photographed my fellow doll owners which was an interesting process in and of itself.
The fact my fellow owners weren’t very comfortable with me taking their photos until I informed them I would be cutting their heads off (on purpose of course) speaks a lot for the intersecting issues of self esteem and body image faced by women today (though that’s another post entirely). That aside I wanted to focus on what we could read about these women from their dolls. A big part of the hobby for many owners is creating characters that their dolls embody but each still reflects a lot about their owner, from the style of clothes to the gender or size, or number of dolls. It was an interesting exercise in beginning to explore the signifiers of what our interests communicate about us. While the project’s been hold in favor of other work it’s one I plan to pick up again now that I’m almost at the end of my degree and see what comes of it and what insights I might be able to glean about my fellow collectors.