In the book of Annie Leibovitz, A Photographer’s Life, Annie shares that she is not a journalist: “A journalist does not take sides. I have a more powerful voice as a photographer if i express a point of view”.
Last year, i was shooting my beloved street theatre group in Sao Paulo. This time they brought a mannequin dummy and included her in all their plays that day, at different corners of the street, in different scenes. I was focusing to portrait the artists and the audience. But my eyes loved the contrast between the golden coloured mannequin, the shouting graffiti and the scenery of the poor neighbourhood. And so i captured the mannequin in most of my pictures, without realising. My eyes decided to choose the side of the mannequin, and not of the artists.
Mannequin dummies embody an ideal, and in the contrast of the challenging neighbourhood of that day, she created an interesting contrast. The contrast of ideal versus reality, the contrast of expressive actors versus a static doll, and at the same time the mannequin is taking a prime role in the play, it almost seems as if she is there alive, adapting expression, role and posture, being part of the group of actors.
Later at home, when i was working on the pictures, i decided to promote the mannequin to the lead artist, to choose the view of the dummy. To bring her alive for this one day, a day out of the life of a mannequin dummy.
To finish with a quote from the above mentioned book of Annie Leibovitz: “I like scouting for locations for shoots … without the pressure of actually having to take a picture …”. Perhaps i should spend some time to start scouting for locations of mannequin dummies and make it a next project.