Colorado artist and ‘spinster’ Suzanne Heintz decided that there was only one for her to start a model family, literally – by marrying a mannequin. In her quirky series, Heintz poses with her “husband” Chauncey and “daughter” Mary-Margaret in varied scenarios, in an effort to satirize conformity and societal pressure.
What is the message behind your “Life once Removed” photo series?
It’s a humorous commentary on judgmental thinking regarding women’s roles in contemporary society, as well as a preoccupation with image over authentic living – that is, how things appear, as opposed to how they feel. I use myself as a representation of a person living a templated life, to help others step back and re-imagine what makes a successful life.
Was it difficult to work with a mannequin, as op- posed to human models?
While they never get tired, nor quit, and are always available when I am, they are much harder to work with than human beings. They are heavy. They fall over all the time, break and ruin my shoot! Even dressing them is incredibly frustrating. My boyfriend tries to lend a hand and help, but we often get into arguments because it’s so aggravating. Getting them places is nearly impossible without a car.
Do your mannequins have unique personalities?
Yes, my friends gave them names “Chauncey” and “Mary Margaret.” Chauncey even has his own Facebook page, but I still haven’t figured out what school he went to, or what he does for a living. It simply says he is “married” and “unem- ployed”.
What has been the public’s reaction to your photography series?
As long as people are introduced to the project through personal experi- ence – either by seeing me shoot in public, coming up to me to talk, or through another means, where I have a chance to explain myself – it’s always been positive and eye-opening.