Denver-based photographer Sarah Haney pokes fun at Barbie and casts a dark shadow over the ‘perfect’ doll—to show viewers that life in plastic is not always fantastic.
In her photo series ‘Welcome To The Dream House’, ‘Life In Plastic’ and ‘Things Fall Apart’ that was shot on 35mm film, Haney portrays Barbie and Ken in compromising positions—such as drug trafficking, eating disorders, drinking problems, cross-dressing, having external marital affairs, and paying seedy worlds a visit.
“On the surface, Barbie appears perfect. She’s beautiful, has great clothes, several good careers, and a perpetual smile on her face. As a child, I was always bothered by that smile—I put her through any number of tragedies, but no matter what befell her she kept that fixed little smirk.” Haney wrote about her project.
“As an adult, the thinking about that fixed expression of pleasure made me start to think about what she might be hiding behind the façade of perfection—after all, how great could life really be for a woman who clearly has an eating disorder, an addiction to plastic surgery and nothing between her ears?”
“My photographs portray the dark side of life in the Dream House: Barbie’s obsession with her body, Ken’s quest for sexual gratification, all the dirty little secrets they attempt to hide as they present themselves as icons of the American Dream.”
Images from here.
To me using toys, a symbol of innocence and childhood, to portray bad things has been done before. But most photography has been done before in some way, I don’t think there can be an original idea, it has always been done before. I like how Haney has taken Barbie dolls and transformed them from their innocent perfect selves into something they could be hiding behind those painted on smiles. I like how she has used the dolls to create her scenes, like a child would when playing with the doll. This goes with my project that every adult is still a child inside, they just don’t have the time to let their imagination out.