2nd Prize, Long-Term Projects
03 July 2020
‘Reborn’ babies first appeared in the 1990s. The hyper-realistic dolls are created with such details as birthmarks, veins, tears, and saliva. More sophisticated reborns are equipped with electronic systems capable of simulating heartbeat, breathing, and sucking. Most of the dolls are made of vinyl, though the more realistic ones are made from silicone. Human hair is used for eyelashes, and completed dolls are sometimes perfumed with a ‘new baby’ smell. The process of buying a reborn can be done in such a way as to simulate adoption: dolls come with ‘adoption’ or ‘birth’ certificates. While most reborn owners are doll collectors, others have experienced traumas such as miscarriage, and may use the doll as a substitute for a child. The photographer wished to explore how artificial babies evoke genuine emotional response in adults.