ZEITGEIST : The World's Toy

Nick Shafik | ARCH 5710: Photography & Digital Methods

Click on each image for details about the shooting and editing processes.

Barbie -- and all she represents -- has become a central pillar in the collective consciousness of the world since her release in the 1950s. Her looks and professions are often invoked with regards to feminism and equality; the ideology of this photographic essay, however, precedes those notions and instead advances a commentary on the world economic machine, whose driving force is an insatiable desire to consume. Like the plastic from which Barbie is made, the satisfaction we derive from products is ephemeral.

The arc of these four photographs is tied to temporality -- beginning with newness and ending with disrepair. Between these moments, Barbie's life is dominated by two concurrent themes: domesticity and vanity. These images are simultaneously familiar and unnerving, encouraging us to reconsider the frivolity with which we live our lives.