I stumbled across these lovely photos by Polish photographer Ilona Szwarc from her series American Girls. These photographs add a new depth to the trend, seeing double, that I’ve been following and our struggle to have one, solid identity while we navigate a fragmented world.
Szwarc describes her work:
“American Girls” is a series of portraits of girls in the United States who own American Girl dolls. When I first came to the US, the phenomenon of the American Girl doll immediately caught my eye. Photographically it was a beautiful image — girls with their sculptural representations, their twins, their avatars. I realized that the design of the dolls embodies contemporary cultural values. They were conceived to be anti-Barbie toys modeled on the body of a nine-year-old. Each doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner, yet all of them really look the same.
American Girl dolls offer an Illusion of choice and therefore an Illusion of individuality. Yet they play a crucial role for girls at the time when they are forming their identities.
The portraits are both beautiful and eerie, and I can’t help but immediately compare each girl with her doll. What strikes me the most is how each girl’s uniqueness and individuality is instantly made bland and banal by her plastic doll twin. Take a look at the rest of the portraits here.