Here’s used to seeing Barbie wrapped in pink dresses, driving her pink car while all of her fancy wardrobe is neatly packed into a pink luggage. If not that, then the mental image of the famous plastic doll we’d immediately invoke would be her as a judge, a teacher, a president or any other career choices that Mattel put Barbie in to sell more toys. And even then, everything about Barbie is deeply soaked in American culture. One artist decided to give a completely different spin to the iconic childhood figurine.
Lara Vychuzhanina is a Russian doll-photographer from Yekaterinburg who decided to place Barbie and her partner Ken into a setting that’s more close-to-home to the artist. She reimagined the duo as a couple living in Soviet Russia in 1980s.
Photographer captured the lives of Barbie and Ken in their Slavic household
Bored Panda has reached out to Lara to get additional details on her project as well as her life. “Since childhood, I love dolls and photography. A few years ago, these two of my hobbies became one,” the artist told Bored Panda. “I took many courses in photography and art graphics. I worked for a long time as a still life photographer at the enterprise,” she explained.
“I find inspiration in nature, in old things, in interesting books, in music, in people,” the photographer elaborated on what inspired her. “Photography for me is a way to show my inner world, to tell a story that is born in my head.”
With a 60 x 40 x 50cm (23.6 x 15.7 x 19.6 inch) set, the photographer captures the Eastern European spirit perfectly, all with the drying underwear hanging on the wire, a bottle of vodka on the battle and a cupboard with soda and salt packages that are reminiscent of the era.
Since Vychuzhanina is a bit too young to remember the Soviet era, she used online resources as well as old photographs as references to perfectly recreate the unique aesthetic of the life in the USSR. The Ken’s t-shirt was made out of stock and torn for an authentic feel, just as the miniature pots and utensils the artist bought online were weathered.
When asked how people respond to her art, Lara revealed that everyone who interacts with it has some type of reaction. “People always react with interest to a miniature,” the artist said, “someone admires, someone asks how this is done, someone looks for historical errors … but such photos do not leave anyone indifferent.”
As for the future? The photographer says she is working on a major project. “It may take a year to implement it, but I really want to do it,” Lara revealed, “I want to make some dolls for this project myself.”
In one of the images what seems to be Barbie’s mom appears to be helping the couple out with the kitchen work, a reflection of the communal lifestyle that was prevalent in the past.
The photographer completed and shot the project in 2 weeks as an entry to competition titled “communal apartment”. Lara’s work was recognized and a Doll Photography Award in 2017.