A new feature of the Tonner blog has been our Doll Duels Highlight which focuses on some of the great fan and collector doll photography as found on our fan site Dollduels.com, a site where you can submit your photo of a Tonner doll factory original, or re-design or re-paint, and let fan voting decide which are some of the best. We are asking the photographers of some of the winningest photos on our Leaderboard to talk about their photo in an attempt to bring doll photography to the forefront. The first highlight was A Journey into Doll Photography with Kathleen in NKY, and this week it is another wonderful Antoinette photo, this time by Jan.
I was thrilled to be asked to write a guest post for the Tonner Blog about my Doll Duels photo of Antoinette. My admiration and respect for the Tonner Doll Company began the first time I received their earliest Tyler Wentworth doll. The quality and the attention to detail of not only the doll but her costume were immediately obvious, and doll collectors like me are eternally grateful that none of those high standards have ever been compromised.
I do confess that my doll collecting choices are based mainly on my love of sewing for them. I have been sewing for dolls for years as Great North Woods Design so I look at every new doll as a potential model for my doll fashions. That is why, when I saw Glowing Muse Bloom Antoinette for the first time, I was immediately fascinated. Her aristocratic face with its beautiful eyes and high color lips and her body type seemed perfectly suited for modeling clothes and classic, even vintage, styles in particular. When my photo of her began to be noticed on Doll Duels I was surprised and happy to discover that others could see her that way as well.
I always have a scenario in mind when I create a fashion and in this case I saw Antoinette as a countess, perhaps attending a charity luncheon in the 1950’s. After a bit of searching I found a wig that seemed appropriate and chose a simple, elegant outfit design that has come to be known as a sort of uniform of the era: the pencil skirt and the veiled pillbox hat. The fabrics I chose for this particular outfit, “Shades of Grey”, are timeless: printed cotton, satin and linen.
In my sewing room, Antoinette’s fashions, even if vintage inspired, need not be limited to day wear. In “Scherzo” she wears romantic lace and one of her beautiful original wigs:
To allow me to photograph my dolls at any time of day or night, it was necessary to construct a light box so that I could control the lighting. Four goose-necked lamps with daylight bulbs seem to work for me. I use a Canon SLR camera (I think any of the top brands are great) but it took me a while to decide which features work well with dolls. The “remove color cast” option on Photoshop is also one of my most valuable tools as it ensures that the color tones I see in my lens will be what I see on my computer screen. My new portrait lens has also changed how I photograph dolls as it can gently blur the background which tends to put more focus on what I want, namely the doll and her fashion.
I am always overwhelmed when I visit the Doll Duels’ leader board and see the wonderful photos that are posted. Doll Duels has really opened my eyes to the level of talent and love that others have for their beautiful Tonner Dolls and kudos to the Tonner team for giving their fans a place to communicate and share.
As for me, I will continue to create classic and vintage fashions for Antoinette, always keeping in mind that she has a very definite personality which is all her own. I’m even beginning to see her as maybe a potential fourth Downton Abbey sister. With that face she can be whoever she wants to be!