Jeanne Birdsall, a noted portrait photographer for over 30 years and a pioneer of the gum bichromate process, has returned after an 11-year hiatus from photography. Upon winning the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2005, she closed down her studio and began her new chapter as an author. When friends and fellow writers Jane Dyer and David Hyde Costello began making dolls and puppets, Jeanne felt inspired and compelled to photograph them. These works comprise a growing series, rich in intrigue, personality, and unexpected life.
To photograph a doll, make her comfortable in your studio, then wait with your camera . . . and wait and wait, keeping extra still and quiet. If you’re lucky, eventually the doll will assume you’ve died and, feeling safe, move around a bit and maybe steal a glance or two.
That’s when you take the picture. -Jeanne Birdsall