Plastic family

A Plastic Family Takes a Vacation


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Plastic Family 

Suzanne Heintz has a model family. Literally. Her husband, Chauncey, and daughter, Mary-Margaret, are mannequins. For over a decade now, the American artist, who is actually single, has taken photos of herself posing with her picture-perfect “family” to poke fun of society’s expectations of what her life should look like. Recently, she took Chauncey and Mary-Margaret on a postcard-perfect trip to Paris.
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Luxembourg Gardens, quaint little cafés… Last month, “the Familyquins”, as Heintz calls her pretend family, saw it all. In the resulting photos, most of which are shots of her and her “husband”, Heintz’s face is vividly expressive – almost frighteningly joyful – while Chauncey’s is plastic and passive. This jarring contrast is exactly what the artist is going for.

Suzzane explans, "I’ve been doing this for 13 years now – longer than most marriages! It started out of vengeful spite, really. But it was also self defence.
For years, I’d been catching a lot of heat for being single, well into the years where most were nesting and hatching eggs. Not me. I chose the path of a Career Woman. Sure, I dated, had relationships, but it just never got to the “man and wife” stage. But even so, I was still considered a spinster. Even in the 21rst century, somehow I was still destined to be a “cat lady” if I didn’t get on the ball and find Mr. Right, wrestle him to the ground, and demand a diamond.
It all came to a head one Christmas in my mother’s kitchen in Salt Lake City. While I watched her make dinner, we chatted about my latest breakup. She put it to me point blank: “Suzy, there’s nobody perfect out there. You just need to pick somebody, and settle down. You’re not getting any younger.” I snapped back, “Mom! It’s not like I can go out and buy a family! I can’t just make it happen!”
But then, I did.
When I walked past a retail liquidation store that had a full family of mannequins in the window, a light bulb went off in my head. I decided to start a photo project out of the "Kodak moments" I’d capture with my new store-bought family."
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