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Dolls with emotions
Posted By: philzucker, 12-07-2006, 03:03 AM

A few months ago I visited a toy museum and shot some pics of "Creepy dolls" - I saw some that looked that way and then decided to search especially for that look among the exhibits.

A few days ago I had the chance to visit another toy museum, and the dolls I saw there gave sort of a twist to the original concept - less creepy, more emotional and earnest now the whole thing.

Have a look at the "newcomers" in my gallery, all taken at ISO 800, 1/45s with the Ds and FA35/2.0, most taken wide open with available light. The shallow DOF helps focusing on the emotional expressions:

Disillusioned doll:

Apprehensive doll:

Mutilated, but curious doll:

All doll pics at

Dolls Photo Gallery by phsan at
Comments of course welcome!

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12-07-2006, 04:48 AM   #2
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Hi Phil, Dramatic shots with a style. Interesting angles used.

Your disillusioned doll reveals a hidden borderline personality (that hairdo is worse than a burnt toast). It has a posture like a top model but its own hair is so messy just like someone has butchered its haircut with a chainsaw.

Your 2nd shot is enigmatic with a bit of wickedness. However I do see the noise in out of focus area at ISO 800 (same with my own shots). A bit distracting. I know it is hard to avoid bokeh going noisy... (you deliberately creating that feel I wonder?)

Your 3rd photo makes my heart ache. A craniotomy gone so wrong. I have pity for it more than anything. But your photo delivers the intense feeling of commiseration for the viewers (Who did this to the doll after all? Hopefully you are not photographing a psychiatric evidence of someone... Just joking )

I checked out your gallery and I love your "old and found again" and "doll in wedding garb". The aforementioned one shows its maturity and storyline on its own; 2nd one has that humanity in it: the smile seems real or another word, possessed by a spirit?

Thanks for sharing!
12-07-2006, 10:24 AM   #3
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Your shots and subject matter are intriguing, intensely focused on point and spectacular in detail, especially for hand held.

That last one finally gives me the answer that could have caused me a lot of trouble should I have done such an exploration on my sister's doll, 'How do the eyes move like that'.

Will check out your pbase as this shooting of still life could be make very entertaining use of a weathered out day.
12-08-2006, 01:06 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Thanks a heap, roentarre, for your detailed analysis and comments!! I really appreciate them!

I won't say that I'm thrilled by the noise in the bokeh areas, but I do accept it and incorporate it in the overall mood of the pics.

In fact I have done 12 by 18 inch prints by the pics I already had in my gallery, and they look really great in spite of noise issues - even one print of a cropped shot; I was a bit skeptical if it would turn out okay, but it was more than okay - this one:

What I mean to say is that in the end the viewing experience counts. The print of the desired size "works" IMO, and the noise issue is really not disturbing its impact.

BTW: The pics really get a different dimension presented this big. Emotions are conveyed even stronger.

And a last note: The craniotomy in the third pic of course was done deliberately to show how the movable eyes of the doll work. But as I wanted to capture the mutilation, not the technical demonstration, I took the pic from an angle showing more of the "craniotomy" aspect. :-)


12-08-2006, 01:07 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=clarenceclose;8857]Your shots and subject matter are intriguing, intensely focused on point and spectacular in detail, especially for hand held.

Thanks, Clarence, for your kind words - and for looking! Glad you appreciated them!


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