I found this lovely dolly at Mercader Antiques in the Houston Heights. Oh, she doesn’t look all that scary in person. Like most of today’s celebrities, she’s been heavily Photoshopped. (Okay, she’s a total wreck in person, too.)
I’d been to that shop before a couple of years ago and noticed their rather extensive doll assortment. I hadn’t bought anything that time, regretfully. This time around, however, I was determined to find myself a really hideous mess to bring home.
In all honesty, this antique shop is totally normal and has nice stuff–including collectable composite dolls in good condition. I ended up grabbing a Patsy Ann doll. I had no idea who or what a Patsy Ann was. All I knew is that the doll looked like my little girl and was in fair enough condition that it was still cute as a button. Patsy Ann is hanging out with my adorable Claudette now.
At this point, I have so many composite dolls from the 1930s that I should probably learn how to clean them up. I learned last night that these dolls’ eyes get all jacked up and cloudy because that is what happens to acrylic doll eyes. I should just probably walk away from this idea, though. I have enough hobbies already.
Winky Wilda was introduced in 1972 by the little-known Lovey Babies Company to compete in the saturated baby doll market. The marketers hoped they could differentiate Wilda from the leading competition by having her look more like a younger sister instead of an infant.
This tactic proved to be a mistake. Hundreds of complaints rained down on Lovey Babies from parents and teachers alike shortly after the Christmas season. Little girls were found beating the doll–some even crushing the dolls’ heads or plucking out one or both eyes.
The reasons behind the vicious attacks were never determined. Nonetheless, Lovey Babies filed for bankruptcy in mid-1973. Hasbro purchased the remaining stock and unused vinyl, which were rumored to have been melted down and made into the first run of My Little Pony’s Cotton Candy.
Since the first run of Cotton Candy has never been related to any acts of violence perpetrated by little girls, rumors that Winky Wilda was cursed or haunted are unsubstantiated.
The most logical theory behind the savage beatings is that the little girls who received Wilda were spoiled brats who likely took pleasure in abusing their younger siblings.
I’m going to concentrate in creepy doll themes for the near future. Sorry if they freak you out! Just be glad you don’t live me and have to experience the dolls in person. 🙂
I just find myself torn in too many directions for subjects. I need to focus on one if I am going to get anything accomplished. Right now, the dolls are less time-consuming than doing pinup or 1920s glam scenes. I need easy because of that squirmy baby sitting on my lap right now.
I’m continuing with my study of how to make my photos creepier for Halloween. This time, I angled the light upwards to add scariness a la old B&W horror films. I also used a cyan filter after desaturating the pictures to make the doll look sickly.
Not that the doll is attractive to start with….
This is Faceless Pete. Well, I suppose this is Face of Faceless Pete. I’m going to consider the parts separate entities, as I suspect I will never glue them back together. 😛
Face of Faceless Pete was hiding from a demon looking for a new face.
Face of Faceless Pete escaped, in case you were worried about him.
I am going to focus my efforts on improving my creepy photography this October. Today, I spent quite some time online researching different methods to create spooky effects with lighting. I decided I’d practice with a single strobe without an umbrella to achieve dramatic contrast, which was one of the suggestions I read.
I converted these to B&W and adjusted the tints to get the look I wanted. I also altered the contrast and the brightness.
Problems I encountered:
1. The mask was a challenge. It was damn near impossible to position myself in a way to avoid showing the edges. I had the idea to use my hair to cover the edges. Some of the pictures looked like Cousin It was convulsing on the floor. LOL! Or maybe better stated, ROFL.
2. I chose a single strobe and no light for the background because I have a mirrored cabinet which reflects light in the background without the addition of another strobe. I had to move the light and camera around to avoid angles where you could see the strobe in the mirror.
3. Costuming wasn’t what I had imagined. I planned to use a fluffy, light green petticoat and dark green gloves. Well, I looked in the mirror, and that petticoat was making me look chunky and shapeless with the shirt I chose. Then the gloves were too much of a contrast with the mask.
Also, my shoes pinched my toes. And you can’t even see them, so it was all for naught. Boo!
I wrote and took pictures for this blog on a consistent basis for a good while.
And then I set my blog to private for almost 2 months.
I had rational reasons for doing so. I wanted to focus on other endeavors without feeling like I was not keeping up with an artistic commitment I made (to myself). Primarily, I have been focusing on modeling for other photographers. Even though I have had a lot of input with photographers when I model, I question how much of the image is my creation versus the person taking the picture. I needed time to think about how much of other photographer’s work I wanted to share on a blog that ostensibly was to focus on my photography, however pedestrian and technically deficient it may be.
By collaborating with other photographers of greater technical ability, I feel like I was able to capture the scene I had in mind. Self-portraiture can be extremely time-consuming. It is also somewhat limiting artistically. The benefit of self-portraiture is that you get the choice on how to frame the picture. Additionally, you can take pictures over and over and over until you get your expression and pose correct to tell the story you had in mind. Many photographers, both professional and good hobbyists, are not assertive enough (while being polite) to give that level of direction. But, when you do self-portrait work, you limit your vision to what YOU see and miss out on other possibilities.
I had a number of themes in mind. The samples I provide here run from the cute to a spooky, quaint aesthetic.
This is a sample of a shoot I did in the room formerly called my formal dining room. It is now called the ROOM of DOOM. I’m working on making the room a warm, scary environment to terrify the steadiest heart. I got the dolly from Creepy Cristie Cristet, a creepy doll artist. http://www.creepy-dolls.com I bought the doll because I think she looks like me. Except I am not missing an eye.
I did extensive research on the Japanese Lolita style of clothing. I focused on the Country Lolita, as I had wardrobe for that look.
Last, I flew out to LA to visit my cousin and have the chance to shoot with Miss Missy. She does the whole deal: hair, makeup, posing advice, photography, and editing. I highly recommend her if you are into any sort of pin-up look.