Kaleidoscope House #9, 2000
Digital flex print, 20 x 16
Gift of Jane Coats Eckert 2018.62.1
Laurie Simmons began photographing at the age of six, when her father bought her a Brownie camera. Her first professional photographs were portraits of friends, but she began photographing toys—in particular dolls from the 1950s that she had purchased at an antiquated toy store in the Catskills—after working as a freelance photographer for a dollhouse miniature company.
Simmons’ photography has explored domestic interiors since the 1970s. She created small scale tableaux using doll house furniture and dolls to create narratives around 1950s housewives and their homes. She updated that practice in 2000 when she and architect Peter Wainwright collaborated on the Kaleidoscope House, an interactive creative play environment made of colored, hard resin, for children six years and older. Simmons subsequently did a series of ten photographs of the interior of the dollhouse with its miniature furniture, here a Saarinen Tulip Chair.