Tired of taking portraits of people and pets? How about a change of subject, then? Something unique, unexpected, and sometimes downright creepy, like ventriloquist dummies?
This may or may not be what portrait photographer Matthew Rolston had in mind when he thought about his latest project, but he sure ended up with some pretty interesting portraits. Entitled Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits, his photo series and book moves away from the beautiful and famous people from the entertainment industry that he typically works with. Instead, he introduces to us some ventriloquist dummies that “spoke” to him in a “more personal way.”
In an interview with Slate Magazine, Rolston said that he wanted to look for a different photography outlet, and a New York Times story sparked the idea he needed to get started. Penned by Edward Rothstein, it was about the Vent Haven Museum and its collection of ventriloquist dummies. A visit to the museum made him feel “a kind of kinship” with the dummies and cemented his portrait project idea.
Using a formal approach to bring out their features and characters, Rolston photographed more than 250 of Vent Haven Museum’s ventriloquist dummies and narrowed down his choices for the book to the 100 best and “strongest.” Looking at some of the ones that made it to the cut, it’s amazing how they all seem to have a personality of their own, don’t you think?
As we all know how ventriloquist dummies can be really creepy (thanks to some film and books that helped paint their their frightening image), we hope they didn’t freak you out too much!