Photographic Project: American Girls Shows Their Dolls

Ariane and Meridien (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)

Ariane and Meridien (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)

The Polish photographer Ilona Szwarc noticed something different when photographing people on the streets of New York: Many girls went dressed exactly like her dolls. The images Ilona began producing in 2008 turned into a project called “American Girls”.The title refers not only to the name of the doll, but a representation of girls in the United States through her. The dolls American Girl began to be manufactured in 1986 and returned to being a fad in the late 2000s, when the photographer began the project. Most photos were taken in New York, but Ilona came to shoot in other regions of the country.

She said the dolls design incorporates values of contemporary Western culture:

They were made to be a kind of anti-Barbie toy, modeled after the body of a 9 year old. In addition, each doll can be customized to look like his owner. Although, in truth, all are equal, American Girl offers an illusion of choice, and therefore of individuality. 

The girl Amanda surrounded by "American Girls" (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)The girl Amanda surrounded by American Girls (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)
Haley and her doll (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)Haley and her doll (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)
The girl and her doll Rylan (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)The girl and her doll Rylan (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)
Sophie playing with her doll (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)Sophie playing with her doll (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)
Moleen and her doll (Photo: Play / Ilona Szwarc)Moleen and her doll (Photo: Ilona Szwarc)

See more images of the project American Girls .


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