American Girl dolls have been around for almost 30 years now. In that time, the company has grown from a few dolls and books to a giant multinational conglomerate with a bajillion spin-off items. For many kids, the $100 mini-mes have become something of a status symbol, with the ostensible benefit of an educational component.
After noticing how into these dolls many young American girls were, Polish photographer Ilona Szwarc decided to do a series of portraits of girls in their homes with their dolls. “Traveling to America when I was young, I always wondered what it would be like to grow up here,” Szwarc told Slate. “Once I moved to New York as an adult, I wanted to revisit those feelings I had back then, and the American Girl doll phenomenon seemed like the right platform to reconnect with those experiences.”
She continued: “I see American Girl dolls more as an extension on the idea of celebrity dolls. Typically, celebrities have dolls made after their likeness—American Girl dolls offer a democratization of this idea: Now every girl can have a mini-me doll.” This seems very true! Let’s look at some of her striking portraits.
Visit Szwarc’s website for a whole bunch more