Fake but Real: The Secret Lives of Mannequins

As representations of human beings, mannequins are fake.  But sometimes they can appear to hold more lifelike qualities such as attitude and emotion.  This work is about the tension between these dual qualities of fake but real. 

We often find this duality in mannequins to be unsettling.  Indeed, there is a hypothesis in psychology known as the “uncanny valley” which describes this discomfort.  This principle postulates that the more something fake appears to be human the more unsettling it can be for the observer.

Mannequins are also about fashion and beauty and selling certain conceptions of these ephemeral ideas.  In that quest, photography has long been a critical collaborator.  This work further illuminates these interrelationships and how the camera plays an active role in shaping how we perceive fashion, beauty and ourselves.  The framing in this work purposely seeks to evoke the underlying sense of reality in these mannequins.  In these creative choices there is a direct parallel to the roles the photographer and camera play when framing a live model to evoke attitude, emotion and a specific sartorial aesthetic.


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