Special exhibition of sex dolls under the lens of photographers

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American exhibition curator Melissa Harris made a splash by showing the work of photographers Elena Dorfman and Jamie Diamond at the Prada Foundation in Milan.

Dolls are among the oldest known toys and have captivated the human imagination for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, puppets have been recorded as early as the 21st century BC, while in Greece, mud puppets date back to at least 200 BC. Of course, dolls are not only children’s toys, but also objects of spiritual, domestic, and supernatural value. It’s a fuzzy difference between then and now.

Sex doll exhibition under photographer's lens

These vague distinctions are explored in an exhibition that features “Alternatives to Love” as one of the central themes.At the Prada Foundation in Milan, the exhibition features 42 works by contemporary American photographers Jamie Diamond and Elena Dorfman, documenting the lives of many individuals – from lay women artists to sex doll loverand their emotional investment in sex dolls.

But photographers using dolls as props or subjects are nothing new. In the mid-20th century, Boston-based artist Morton Bartlett photographed plaster dolls, and more recently Laurie Simmons, Elizabeth Jaeger-LeCoultre and Ovid Bistowin have all become known for their humanoid portraits.

Melissa Harris, the exhibition’s curator, told Vogue: “I love the work of Jamie and Elena because their respective visions and work are very human.” As contributing editor at the foundation, Harris said the work of the two photographers inspired took people’s interest and saw an opportunity for them to have a conversation, “to see how they relate to each other, what they have in common, what they have in common in other directions.”

Sex doll exhibition under photographer's lens 1

Exhibitions include Diamond’s “Mother Forever” series (2012-2022), an intimate depiction of “rebirth” by a group of self-taught female artists who craft, collect and interact with super realistic sex doll. The reasons why these women are so obsessed vary, but mostly revolve around an “empty-nest syndrome.” The photos capture soulful moments of the protagonists and their sex dolls in what appears to be a depiction of sympathy and secrecy. “Working with the team allowed me to explore the gray area between reality and technology, where relationships are constructed from inanimate objects,” Diamond said.

In Nine Months Born Again (2014), the 35-year-old Brooklyn-based artist uses Cindy Sherman’s own method to portray herself as the protagonist. This playful series depicts Diamond in a bob and wig carrying a sex doll named Annabelle through a variety of social settings: from restaurant patios to trains and swimming pools. The pieces are inspired by the artist’s own childhood and are named after her diaries. They explore the ways in which girls socialize to construct specific attitudes toward motherhood, while echoing the artist’s research on groups.

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Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based artist Elena Dorfman focuses on dolls as alternatives to romantic and sexual partners. In her series “Still Lovers” (2001-2004), the 54-year-old artist documents the family lives devoted to making life-sized men and women. milf sex doll“It was fun to create because I’d never seen anything like this before,” Dorfman said. “People who like to play with dolls rather than people are very attractive to me, then and now.”

While the photographs in the exhibition do show a deep humanity, there is also a view that they are characteristic of people already living on the fringes of society. “I’m not interested in hyping a topic, exploiting anyone, or further marginalizing groups that are already isolated and judged,” Harris explained. Both entertainers went deep into their groups, earned their trust, and spent a lot of money . Time is with the person depicted. “

At a time when our relationship with AI technology has received unprecedented attention, the alternative to love offers humanity a vision that is both timely and timeless. While this two-way conversation aptly addresses the multi-faceted potential of sex dolls as a surrogate for emotional attachment, it doesn’t leave much room to fully engage in a conversation that will forever persist in future generations. But then again, if a sex doll is for fun, it must have ideas and fantasies.