Antique vs Vintage: What’s the difference?

Before I had started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins, I had always used the words vintage and antique interchangeably. It turns out that they are not the same. Antiques are items that are over 100 years old. There is no definitive rule for vintage, but it usually refers to items that are around twenty years or older.   One of the models that I frequently work with is known for her beautiful vintage wardrobe. Her name is Liliana, and I met her roughly three years ago when I was working on my first book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits. Most of our shoots have been in the studio, but this time we decided to photograph at her home, which she has furnished and decorated with antiques and vintage items. Her home reminded me of something that I would see in a magazine or a museum. She told me that most of the items she found in Goodwill stores around the Phoenix metropolitan area. Needless to say, I was in awe of her home and often got distracted looking at all the figurines, artwork, and other items that I don’t usually see anywhere else. […]

Why I Wrote A Book About Mannequins

  I had never planned to work on a project involving mannequins. Even though I found them interesting, I just never thought to write a book about them. This changed during a trip I took with a friend of mine back in 2015. The two of us were walking along State Street in Santa Barbara, California when an antique store caught our attention. Their store front was so colorful and filled with interesting things that we were immediately drawn in, as though strings were pulling us into the store. Once inside, I started to notice several mannequin heads perched on shelves and stuffed between other antique and vintage items. Each one was different. I was so enchanted by these busts that I started to take pictures of them with my phone. I didn’t touch or move them. I only wanted to show their beauty and uniqueness.   From that point on I began photographing mannequins whenever I saw them in an antique store. I also started reading about their history, and I learned a lot of things that surprised me about these fashion dolls. Mannequins have been used for thousands of years. In 1923, Howard Carter discovered a mannequin that […]

The Second Book: Lessons Gained and Lessons Learned

When I was in graduate school, a mentor told me that each book was like starting over. Each project has its own differences and challenges. I didn’t completely understand this until I started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins. Of course there were certain things that were easier about making this book because I had learned those lessons while working on Tattle Tales. However, when it came time to publish the second book, I realized that I had to do things differently. This meant another learning curve and a bit of frustration.   Being a writer, and especially a self-published author, means that you’re constantly learning. Besides developing your skills as a writer, you have to stay on top of all the new ways of marketing, publishing, and distributing. In the age of technology, the rules are always evolving and changing. Additionally, what works for one book may not work for the other book. I’ve listed some of the lessons I have learned from my second book.   The message of this post is to urge self-published authors to be flexible and open minded. I had a much different idea of my path when I […]

Mannequins Play a New Role

  Since the lockdown in March, many things in our world has changed. Besides the fact that much of the country is in shutdown, we are also getting used to new rules and trends, such as masks, plastic partitions, virtual interactions, and refraining from any social interactions that involve touching (like hand shakes and hugs). It’s a whole new world, and humans once again prove that during challenging times the creative mind can produce some entertaining solutions.   Later this year I will be releasing my second book, Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel. In my book, I explore the history of mannequins and how they have played an important role in our society. These fashion figures reflect the social norms of the time, showing what is popular and desirable to own. When stores began closing their doors due to the pandemic shutdown, I wondered what would become of mannequins. So much of their existence is dependent on people shopping in brick and mortar stores. A friend sent me an article from The Guardian, which reported that restaurants were using mannequins and blow up dolls to occupy some of the tables to creatively implement social distancing. While some people might […]

Working with Mannequins

      When I was working on Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel, I purchased these two busts for an idea I had for an artistic photoshoot. I have not yet finished this project, but I have worked frequently with these two beauties.   As someone who likes to try new ideas with lighting, I like the idea of being able to practice before experimenting at a photoshoot. When I’m working with a model, I like to be fully prepared. It doesn’t mean that I’m not making adjustments during the photoshoot, but I don’t want to waste precious time. If I do want to try out an idea, I’ll wait until the end of the shoot.   Mannequins are great because you can practice your photography whenever the mood strikes you. They can’t talk back or complain that you’re taking too long. They are very patient and forgiving models. 😉 The names of these two mannequins are Melina and Monique.

Antiquing

Before I got into photography, antiquing never appealed to me. I’m actually more of a minimalist when it comes to my personal life. I’m very “right brained,” so I like to keep things as simple as possible so I have more time to do my art. However, I love taking my camera or phone into antique stores because I like taking pictures of objects from the past. It’s like walking into an interactive museum, and I get to take all these interesting things home with me, but all on my camera. Some places prohibit photography, which I always respect, but fortunately most antique shops are okay with photography. I’ve actually used these outings to practice composition and angles. I never move or touch the objects, but I will move around them to get the right photo. The nice thing about photographing mannequins is they can’t talk back. I don’t have to worry about what they’re thinking as I’m taking a bunch of pictures and trying to figure out what angle I like best. I found all these antique stores in Central Phoenix along the 7th Ave corridor, and these photos were taken exclusively with my iPhone 7. Even if you’re […]

Mannequin Magic

Mannequins go back to ancient times. When King Tut’s tomb was opened, in 1923, Howard Carter found a mannequin which matched the Pharaoh’s measurement dating back to 1530 B.C. The European fashion doll was the beginning of the modern mannequin. These dolls ranged from a foot tall to life size and were beautifully clothed and sent abroad to show the fashions of the day. These dolls also had porcelain faces. These models of fashion were so popular that they received protection and safe passage across borders, even during times of war.   After the French Revolution, these fashion dolls were replaced by drawings and dress forms made of wire, leather and wicker. They were often headless. Fortunately, the French came back to life and introduced the full body mannequins in 1870. It was at this time that window shopping became a form of entertainment.   The mannequins of the 1890’s had full bosoms and broader hips. Waists were wasp thin and, even in those days, many women were willing to have their lowest ribs surgically removed to achieve this illusion.   When a mannequin modeling a corset appeared, a religious group tried to banish mannequins completely, but they were unsuccessful. […]