Dolls in the Attic

Throughout history, dolls have been a haunting presence in the human imagination. Either as toys or collectibles, they are cherished by the people who own them. Often given to young girls as playthings, dolls allow children to simulate grown-up activities and responsibilities, and enforce gender roles in a startling way at a very early age. Children then grow up and leave these objects behind.

In these photographs the dolls have been stripped of their context. The use of a black background allows the viewer to impose their own imagined histories upon them. They are weathered, show signs of aging, the veneer is tarnished, the porcelain's sheen dulled, the fabric faded, and one can imagine that they provided hours of entertainment for children who are now gone. They offer insight into the culture and sociology of their time period and are now more historical artifacts than playthings.

The dolls were created to be beautiful, but years past their creation, the real beauty exists in their worn and faded aesthetic and in the suggestion of a life experienced. This series of dolls has both a light and dark side: sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing. It is fascinating to imagine their history, their lives, and the people who owned them. As time passes, a child grows physically from within and without. Dolls do not. Dolls age through wear and tear but do not change from within: they do not grow. They are eternally childlike, preserved in their perfect youth forever, locked in their attics waiting to be rediscovered.

1890s Doll House German China Head
1920s Papier Mache Horse
"Francois" 1880s French Mignonette
1920s Fur Horse
"Brigette" 1880s French Mignonette
"Blanche" 1880s French Mignonette
"Jack" 1890s German All Bisque
1920s Steiff Pelican
"Bunny" 1890s German All Bisque
1930s Steiff Pony
1880s French Mignonette
1920s Teddy Bear
"Helga" 1890s German All Bisque
1930s Baby Buggy
"Simone" 1880s French Mignonette
1910 All Bisque Jointed
1940 Painted Bisque
"Isabelle" 1880s French Mignonette
"Camille" 1880s French Mignonette
1920s Borzoi Dog
"Babette" 1880s French Mignonette
"Gabrielle" 1880s French Mignonette
1920s Borzoi Dog
1900s Teddy Bear
"Pierre" 1880s French Mignonette
"Fairy" 1930s Papier Mache
"Colette" 1880s French Mignonette
Lamb Unknown
1920s Borzoi Dog
1880s French Mignonette
1890s Charlotte in a box with China Head
"Gisele" 1920s German Flapper Style