A friend brought this hand made old doll for me to see. It had tremendous power for such a small and innocent thing. Its oversize head and the tail between its legs lent it a kind of talismanic, or fetish-like presence, but one with no ill will attached to it. It seemed to me, with its bowed head, to express some kind of shame.
I put it on the background I was working with that day, an old, cowhide, butchers, or perhaps metalworker’s apron, which, when I put it on the table I was using, offered a powerful sense of landscape scale. I moved the doll around to see what it could say within its small range of movement. If you click on the link below the photo you can see a video of the sequence of images I made as I was trying to understand what it could do.
I can’t say I solved anything with this first attempt, and to be perfectly honest I always felt that the doll photographs that were so popular back in the 80’s were really dumb, and I couldn’t see the reason for people to play with them when the world outside was so much more compelling and challenging. Yet here I am making still lives at this time in my life, and someone comes along with this gentle soul and I find myself interested. If it is nothing more than that – interest – in seeing what this might ‘say’, then that is good enough for me now. I will just have to wait it out and see if it continues to stay interesting.