Suzanne Heintz was sick of being nagged. Her Mormon mom, like many other mothers, wanted her daughter to be happy and believed that what she needed in her life was a husband and children.
What Suzanne’s mother should have remembered is that some types of professional artists thrive on controversy. Also, that sometimes children can be annoyingly specific in how they obey their parents. Suzanne found herself a husband and was immediately with child.
Unfortunately for her mom, both were plastic.
Suzanne was passing a thrift store and saw a pair of mannequins for sale. She was in need of a collegiate project, and decided to kill two birds with one stone: needle her mom back about the marriage demands, and have a distinctive project involving staged photos of “perfect family moments” with the dummies.
Her husband, Chauncey, is a serious-looking sort, and her teen daughter Mary Margaret takes after him, although at times she seems a little bit wistful. She arranged the mannequins into poses, got into the shot, and took photos. Then she staged another shot.
After doing this for months, some of her friends suggested a road trip. She did so, and learned that carting around a pair of mannequins was very difficult on the road… but she took some fantastic pictures.
This inspired further travel. She’s taken the dummies around the world, staging photographs for more than fifteen years. She admits that her work is a satiric look at the traditional expectations of marriage, but insists that she honors the institution itself. She likes marriage, she says, and she likes kids. She just doesn’t feel that people should be pressured into doing it at a specific time in their life as opposed to getting married when they find the right partner.
Meanwhile, her mom’s still waiting for her to get a real husband and daughter. If the recent past is any indication, mom might be waiting a while.
Question of the night: Where is someplace you like to go with your family?