Andrea Hoelscher Photography
Little Women

In the photographic series Little Women I stage scenes populated by tiny female figurines. These figures loiter, labor, journey, and explore their surroundings. Architects and city planners use figurines like these when envisioning new idealized spaces. My arrangements are designed to provoke a different and less utopian range of associations.

When a child plays, she projects herself into different roles and uses imagination to instill life in her toys. These photographs are an echo of that dramatic play, and a reflection on learned gender roles. This work has a personal dimension too. I decided not to use any male figurines, and to use my own household as the stage for this mysterious world. (Meanwhile the housework is left undone.)

The women in these photographs are surrounded by the domestic trappings of femininity. Sponges and laundry piles loom like buildings, and a muffin tin becomes a sticky trap. Instead of actually doing housework, or applying make-up, the women encounter these objects as the basis of the very world they explore. Sometimes the spaces are psychologically overwhelming, at other times they are magically fantastic.

There is humor in the Little Women series as well. The sight of these tiny women trying to cope in such an absurd, out-of-proportion world is uncanny, even ridiculous. The scenes in Little Women draw the viewer into this imaginary world, and also provoke questions about “women’s work”. While surrounded by the literal paraphernalia of womanhood, these figures actually inhabit a vast, complex world that extends well beyond the edge of the picture frame.