Human Toys (NSFW)

I never understood if the toys were invented to keep the children busy and distracted from their usual crying and screaming moments, fulfilling their constant need of attention, or if they were created to fulfil adults emotional needs. The fact is that there is since the beginning of the times human reproductions as toys, both for children and for adults. Made with the rests of fabric, porcelain or latex, there are dolls for every taste. At certain point you get confused if some of these dolls imitate humans or if humans imitate dolls, but you can always see humans with doll faces and dolls with humans faces.

I did have few “Action Man” – the one I liked the most was the paratrooper -, and somehow they were always naked and being thrown through the window of my room (1st floor) to test their resistance. I never understood the little bulge they had though, so when I start drawing at school, I always drew people naked with willies and boobs. I found it more complete that way: if it’s a human he must have penis and boobs. I thought. I was 5yo. Or 6. And I wanted to be naturist when I grew up. So I never understood those “barbies” with thousands of cloths, neither I understood my sister loosing her time dressing them (and brushing!). Then I grew up and I lost my interest for “dolls”: soon I realised how fake it was that world, gave back to my parents a box with all them dismantled and start building my own toys. (How I miss the wooden go karts I built with the street kids of my neighborhood hidden from my parents!).

LBLB #1 for "Moi, Le Beau et la Bête" by ©Gonzalo Bénard

LBLB #1 for “Moi, Le Beau et la Bête” by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Doll by ©Hans Bellmer

Doll by ©Hans Bellmer

by ©Vera Saltzman

by ©Vera Saltzman

Muñeco, NYC 1996, by ©Ross B. Lewis

Muñeco, NYC 1996, by ©Ross B. Lewis

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Bernard Faucon

by ©Bernard Faucon

by ©Mariel Clayton

by ©Mariel Clayton

Somehow in photography they always look better, especially if you’re creative and use the dolls wisely.
Oh, I had a yellow teddy bear too, but it started gaining dust since the very first moment. Anyway, in photography you’ll find all kind of toys to play with, from the fashion photography putting the real models as dolls, to Hans Bellmer with his erotic pieces of dolls. Photographer Alexandra Hohn has a delicious (read: wise and funny) approach to toys. Bernard Faucon used lots of human size toys, aka mannequins, which he invited to some wild parties among the kids.  And by now you must have seen the photograph that Danny Peshl did playing with the “Bieber fever”, using the blow up doll with the face of the singer (he sings, right?). Guim Tió produced a series of photographs of girls with make-up and dresses like dolls. Jerome Abramovich joined real humans with mannequins. Ross B. Lewis portrayed a doll like if it was human, and captured some others. Mary Clayton used them to make statements of gender, etc. Puppets, wooden horses, dolls. From the most feminine and beautiful doll in ceramic to those creepy ones from the horror movies: you have a universe of toys to shoot. Vera Saltzman, Roger Ballen, Gonzalo Bénard and Yan Ming also shoot them. Gabriele Galimberti did too a very curious series of kids with their toys around the world.

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Silvia Matteini

by ©Silvia Matteini

by ©Danny Peschl

by ©Danny Peschl

by ©Derek Tokar

by ©Derek Tokar

A Doll's Secret, by ©0mela

A Doll’s Secret, by ©0mela

Gooffy, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Gooffy, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

by ©Liu Xia

by ©Liu Xia

by ©Guim Tió

by ©Guim Tió

by ©Sam Marques

by ©Sam Marques

by ©Ross B. Lewis

by ©Ross B. Lewis

by ©Yan Ming

by ©Yan Ming

Les Jeux de la Poupée 1938, by Hans Bellmer

Les Jeux de la Poupée 1938, by ©Hans Bellmer

And the most curious thing is that a toy doesn’t have age: it makes part of our deepest memories as child, but we easily think of our grand mothers and the toys they have to show or even borrow us.

Don’t worry, this cross the times and cultures… even in the poorest of the villages you can find a toy: maybe a very poor decadent toy that makes a child much happier than one of the thousands of Barbie’s some children have in the “civilised” cities.

JW2 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

JW2 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

by ©Gabriele Galimberti

by ©Gabriele Galimberti

ABM #16 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

ABM #16 by ©Gonzalo Bénard

Where is my wooden horse that took me in so many adventures? Now you may confess… didn’t you ever played yourself, even in your intimacy, as if you were a puppet hanged by strings? Do you still play with them?

text by ©Gonzalo Bénard for 2HeadS
March, 2013
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