INTERVIEW product photographer, with Linda Gavin
While most of us never brought our doll collecting phase pass our teens, Linda Gavin rediscovered her love for dolls 4 years ago and starting sharing her passion for dolls through her amazing photographs of them on flickr.
Besides owning her own doll clothes brand, FakeBlondie, Linda is a graphic designer with well known designs such as Twitter’sÂ logo in her portfolio.
Be prepared to let the little girl in you out as Linda takes us for a visit to her doll universe in her interview below.
1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a toy collecting graphic designer.
2. Tell us a little more about your fascination with dolls.
What I love about dolls is that they are human like, but can change the color of their hair and eyes easily. They’re not moving so you have all the time in the world to take photos of them.
My first love as a grown up was the Blythe doll. I first discovered her when Sony made her the face of a campaign for a Mini Disc-player. I bought the MD-player and collected as many postcards and printed leaflets I could and dreamed that I’d get to see her in person one day. She was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, with her big eyes, which I love so much! I bought a bunch of Blythes five years later on a vacation in Hong Kong.
What I love about bjd’s is that they’re a piece of art. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw one in a photo. A friend of mine sent me a link to a series of kinky Unoa photos, and I was stunned by the hand crafted details, the way the dolls could pose, and how realistic their hands and feet were sculpted!
I love taking photos of people, but since I’m an indoor person I hardly get the opportunity to do it. The doll is a great substitute for humans and it’s much cheaper and it takes less space to create new photo shoot environments in a smaller scale.
3. Do you plan your shoots with the dolls?
Yes sometimes I do. It depends. I sometimes participate in theme based photo projects on Flickr for fun, and that can take some time to prepare. I got the idea for the runway photo shoot when I bought a kids fashion magazine. I get a lot of inspiration from looking at the work of fashion photographers. I always keep the look out for props when I’m shopping or surfing, and I get ideas when I see some outfit or decor I like.
4. What equipment do you use to photograph the dolls?
I use a Nikon D80 and a Nikon 50mm f1.8 when the light is bad, but I usually use my macro lens AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm f2.8 for miniature photography.
I use my Manfrotto 055PROB tripod a lot. I have a portacube too, but I never use it. My favorite light is the natural light, but have two photo lights on tripods, and I use my desk lamp just as much because it’s smaller and easier to move around.
5. How long have you been photographing dolls? And how do you keep thinking of fresh ideas to photograph them?
I started in 2006 when I got my first three Dal dolls. I had a Sony Cybershot compact camera and the photos were so and so. I’ve always done the best with what I’ve had. Photoshop is a good helper.
I don’t really make an effort to think of new fresh ideas. They just come to me. I always photograph the dolls when I’ve bought some new toys or if I make or receive new clothes for the dolls, or if I’m doing something non-doll-related and get the idea of putting a doll into the situation. I’m not pretentious about my doll photography. I’m doing it because it amuses me. I sometimes get the urge to e.g. create the same atmosphere in doll photos as in interior magazines, and then I try my best to do that.
6. What is the weirdest prop or location which you’ve used to photograph a doll?
I think when I put two naked dolls faced down in a frying panâ€¦ some doll friends got really disturbed by that.
7. Can you give us 5 pointers on how to take good product photos?
- Good lighting, as little shadows as possible, so multiple lamps on the object. But if you want something more dramatic, use a small lightsource and and put your camera on a tripod. Don’t be shy to use a remote for perfectly sharp photos.
- Use classic compositions to be safe, until you learn how to break them.
- Take away objects that might distract the audience from the main focus.
- If you’re shooting dolls, focus on the eyes make sure that they’re lightened up so one can see them properly. We catch the “soul” through the eyes, so this is important to make the result as realistic as possible.
- Keep your eyes open and learn from others work. It’s important to understand what you love about a certain photograph. Think about how you could recreate that very special thing that made you love it. If you’re far from being able to take such a photo, you have something to work for, something to look forward to. We all want to improve and this is one way of doing it.
8. Some of us have been forever scarred by the doll character Chucky, from the movie Child’s Play. Have you ever had nightmares about your dolls?
No, it’s like asking a circus manager if he or she is afraid of clowns. There’s nothing evil about dolls. They’re just man made empty shells. People have a lot of phobias, but we hardly chose to collect things that frightens us. Doll collectors are usually positive people that appreciate beautiful things. They love everything that puts a smile on their faces.
9. Who are the other women doll photographers that inspire you?
The number one person to stun me with her work is Rosalyn Boatman.Â Â She specializes in Blythe fashion photography. She uploads photos almost everyday and has probably more than 100 outstanding photographs. I think she should be the official Blythe photographer!
The one that I think takes the most charming doll photos is Pilantana Hyodo, known as Yui and Tanya. Her dolls are alive!
Toy Blog: http://www.jusum.com/blog
FakeBlondie on Facebook: