Mannequins and Street Photography – some new images

I’ve posted several blogs in the last few years featuring images I’ve taken of mannequins. I’ve been drawn to photographing mannequins for a number of reasons. In terms of representation I like the ambiguity;  a human, yet not a human. I like the fact they can range from quasi-lifelike to grotesque and non-naturalistic. I like that I can stare at them without being rude, and I love fashion. In terms of art and photo history I’ve always liked Eugene Atget’s  photographs of Parisian store fronts taken in the mid 1920s.  Surrealist artists including Man Ray were also inspired by mannequins;  I found Surrealism as a genre to be very exciting when I discovered it as a teenager and decades later it still appeals. I think I may have a surrealist take on the representation of human form in street photography, connected to the concept behind Magritte’s painting Ceci n’est pas Une Pipe also known as The Treachery of Images. In this work Magritte painted a smoker’s pipe, and additionally painted the French words for  this is not a pipe beneath the image.  Human form regardless of whether it is an animate or inanimate human being, is still a representation of a person. Advocates of what is referred to as candid street photography will probably not agree with my take on this.

Doing some research on the history of mannequins in street photography I only just came across Lee Friedlander’s shots of mannequins. I was struck by the similarity with some of my own work, especially my mannequin tree goddesses and the mannequin/reflection combinations that feature architectural facades. So here are a number of recent pieces taken in the past year taken on my travels and at home:

A couple of Venetian illusions:

Reflected Venetian architecture and nude male mannequin


Poetic street photograph with refections and mannequin, Venice

Tree Goddess/Dominatrix

Mannequin and reflected London street

Elegant in New Orleans:

New Orleans elegant mannequin and reflected street

Ibiza Town:

Mannequin with damaged hand and reflected architecture, Ibiza

Oversized eyes in Bologna:

surreal mannequin in a courtyard in Bologna

Also in Bologna, a graduation student walks past holding a decorated mannequin leg:

Female graduate in Bologna wearing laurel wreath and carrying a mannequin leg

A couple from New York:

abstract composition featuring New York mannequin head with striking make-up

I like the way the light falls on this mannequin’s face, seen on the Lower East Side:

handsome mannequin in sunlight, Lower East Side

A child mannequin in Porto – for my previous series on child mannequins click here:

Child mannequin with long lashes, Porto




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