At first glance no one would ever suspect that the subjects in these images weren’t real. But to New York based photographer, Stacy Leigh, they are real—Real Dolls that is.
The female sex doll has been around for decades, and until just recently, has looked extremely fake. Even to the untrained eye, one would be able to spot one from a mile away. These days, however, synthetic dolls have taken on a life of their own, and with talent like Stacy Leigh—a lot of them appear human like–almost too human.
Doll collections are nothing new, but Stacy Leigh definitely flips the script on owning the perfect Barbie dream house. For the past 15 years she has been collecting a variety of love dolls and then luring them into her studio for artistic purposes. Her portraits of sex dolls, which is sometimes mixed with real models, are captivating and disturbing, as they walk the line between intimacy and voyeurism.
When she first started working with these life size dolls there were only a handful of companies that made them, many of which looked really artificial. Fast forward a decade, and sprinkle in some new technology—there is now approximately 20 companies all over the world that are producing realistic high-end dolls. Even China is getting into the action; in recent years, they’ve gone from having none to now having 15 different manufactures.
The world better be prepared, because the love dolls are coming!
Weighing in at about 85-pounds, photographing these dolls are no small feat, especially when their handler is a petite former playboy model. When it comes to producing her work, she can shoot humans in about three hours, but it takes Leigh close to nine hours with her dolls. This is because they aren’t nearly as professional as the real thing. They don’t pose well, they don’t cooperate, and according to Leigh, “they kind of suck.” However, this does not deter Leigh from producing work that typically gets an immediate reaction from the public.
Stacy Leigh breathes life into these sexy inanimate objects by enhancing their makeup, hair, and other vital parts—like their labias. Leigh feels that sex dolls are going to be a bigger part of the future than we think, and states that, ” they are going to be the new sex symbol.” As the world becomes more digital and less personal, dolls and robots will become more commonplace as surrogates for relationships. “I can only hope that my realistic photographs spark and emotion of connection with the viewer.”
With a collection of over 25 dolls, Leigh decided to create her project, ‘Average Americans’ which places her dolls in all types of precarious situations. In some ways this leads us to question whether we will need models at all, or whether models will be replaced with our own version of the perfected reality. But the one thing Leigh decidedly demonstrates, is that anyone can find themselves fancying mannequin-like dolls.
Leigh, being well ahead of the curve believes that sex dolls are the wave the of the future. Although she receives plenty of hate mail, she is well respected in the doll community because her work has added legitimacy to something that is viewed as ‘depraved.’ She helping to remove the stigma attached to those who use or own a sex doll.
Whether we like it or not, one thing is becoming clearly evident—the world has become an ever increasingly small place. So, roll out the red carpet and welcome to the doll house!