Life Once Removed by Suzanne Heintz

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A personal photography project by Suzanne Heintz about what is essentially…Spinsterhood, and the American Way.

What would drive you to pack a family of mannequins into your station wagon, and take them on a road trip? Enough pressure to conform will send anyone packing. That’s how I came to this personal project about what is essentially…Spinsterhood, and the American Way.

Well meaning strangers, along with friends and family, would raise an eyebrow when the topic of my unmarried and childless status arose. Indicating with a small facial twitch, not only my audacious freakishness, but that I was a little old for such foolish thinking. I mean, come on, eggs don’t last forever!

But really, what was I supposed to do? You can’t just go out and buy a family. Or can you? I did. They are mannequins. The candy coated shell with nothing inside. We do all those family things, all the while capturing those Kodak Moments. Because it’s not really about the journey, or a genuine human connection, when you’re kids are screaming, “are we there yet?” Is it? It’s about the picture in front of the sign. “Get back in the car, we got the picture. Now, let’s go eat.”

We love & obey the formatted image of a well-lived life. So deeply ingrained is that strange auto-grin we put on when a camera is present. Do we live our lives with a keen awareness of how it feels, or just how it looks?

If I pass through life without checking off the boxes for a wedding ring and a baby carriage, I will be missing the photo album, but not not the point. When I take my photos, others stop and stare, then they ask, “why are you doing this?” They, at that moment, are starting to get the point too.