30 January 2014

Photographer Satirizes The American Dream In Mannequin Family Portrait Series

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Denver-based photographer and self-described ‘spinster’ Suzanne Heintz has a subversive photo series titled ‘Life Once Removed’ where she poses with a family of mannequins in a satirization of the American Dream.

Frustrated with constantly being asked when she was going to get married and being made to feel inadequate by her lack of a husband, Heintz took to photographing the unusual family portraits to critique society’s antiquated views of marriage and domestic bliss.

In an interview with Feature Shoot, she laments the intense pressure women face to conform to society’s expectations and the perceived view of female singlehood as an abnormality and personal flaw.

“The term ‘perfect’ is no longer used to describe what we’re all striving to be. Now it is called ‘fulfilled.’ But for women, the path to fulfilment is not through one thing, it’s all things–education, career, home, family, accomplishment, enlightenment. If any one of those things is left out, it’s often perceived that there’s something wrong with your life. We are somehow never enough just as we are. We are constantly set up by our expectations to feel as though we are missing something.”

Heintz also takes a dig at traditional family holiday photos, saying that with the increasing trend of documenting every experience for the world to see, the meaning and emotion of those experiences is lost, and the act of taking family photos has become about projecting an idealized image instead.

Ultimately, Heintz hopes her photos will broaden people’s minds and help them overcome outdated notions that there is only one image of a successful life, and to embrace themselves and others for who they are.

Trailer for Playing House, an upcoming short documentary on the ‘Life Once Removed’ project

[via Feature Shoot, images via Suzanne Heintz]