This is the first of a new series of spotlight blog posts on doll collectors.
I hope you enjoy getting to know fellow collectors a little better, like I do!
The first person I was lucky enough to interview was the fabulous Adrian Cardozo.
Adrian is well known on the doll boards for his stunning styling and amazing photography of his dolls. His skills are phenomenal and his humble attitude and truly kind personality make him a blast to interact with!
LSO: When did you start collecting dolls and what drew you to it?
AC: This answer can get really long very quick…LOL…
There have always been dolls in my house, more so after my sister was born, but to be fully honest during my early years I was more interested in a tennis rackets or robots than dolls. That was until (a date I will never forget) January 5th 1988, the day before the 3 wise men arrived (which for South Americans mark the end of the “holy days” season), my godmother had sent a big package for me and my siblings and in it there was a blonde doll dressed in a fabulous pink gown named Perfume Pretty Barbie Doll.
I was smitten by her immediately, so much so, that it was obvious to everybody, and my father made a ruling that still hurts: dolls are not for boys. So I was not allowed to play with her. So for years I stared at her from a distance, daydreaming of playing with her. I did keep the box she came in and the booklet that Mattel included in that box too. I was obsessed with that doll and with the whole Perfume Pretty line.
Many years would passed and when I was 17 years old my sister decided that she didn't want the dolls anymore and that they occupied too much space in her tiny bedroom so she (knowing that there was a doll I LOVED in that bunch) offered them to me. I accepted them and made a shelf available for them in my bedroom. Since then I have been collecting dolls.
Not long after that I got my first job and very quietly started adding new members to that crew!!! For a while I really couldn't say what drew me to them, but I can now that many years have passed:
I was immediately drawn to her by her dress,
and by the pictures on her box.
I have always loved fashion and fashion photography, but since collecting Haute Couture is a lot more expensive of a hobby than collecting dolls, I make my dolls be my Haute Couture Muses, and spend lots of time photographing them and finding them the perfect outfits!! I do collect fashion Photography now as well!
LSO: What is your favorite part of collecting and enjoying your dolls?
AC: I think photographing them and redressing them. No doll in my house stays the way they come, I have to “personalize” each doll.
I can’t repaint or sew, so I do a lot of styling and changing until each doll has the perfect look.
They don’t stay in that look very often though since I am a compulsive re-dresser.
LSO: What type of doll do you have the most of? Least of? Enjoy the most?
AC: Since I’ve kept my sisters dolls, and I actually added to that, I have more 80’s Barbies than anything else.
My collection itself has been in constant motion since I got to
10 years ago. At first I started searching for the dolls in the pictures
I had from my sister’s dolls --which I was able to find all but one-- then I
moved to Silkstone dolls --which I then sold to make room for Fashion Royalty
dolls. In turn some of the Fashion Royalty girls moved to make room and money
for Sybarites. United States
Many of the Sybarites have moved now to make room for other 16” FBJD’s especially Numinas By Paul Pham.
The Sybarites opened the door to two things: fashion BJDs and photography and for that I am forever grateful! You can say that I enjoy FBJD’s more than any other doll. They are amazing to pose and extremely photogenic and I love photographing them.
You do a lot of awesome photography of your dolls, can you tell me a little about your set up and style?
I owe my love for photography to somebody that I believe doesn't collect dolls anymore, she used to go as “VisiblyVintage” on the boards. She was and is an amazing photographer and was inspiring and helpful enough that I decided to start photographing my dolls. I tried enough that with many hours of practice I became sort of good at it.
Like with everything at first I was intimidated what other people were doing, but with time I started realizing what I like what I don’t.
I love the fashion spreads that Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire do --both types the ones on their “Style Aisle” sections, simply and focused mostly on the fashion and not so much on the models.
But I also like some of what Steven Meisel, Mert & Marcus, and Ann Lebowitz (as well as others) do when they have the more involved shoots.
So I try to do a bit of both. I also try to include me in the pictures. I really want people to look at a picture and easily realize that it is one of my pictures.
Regarding my set up, I like a lot of simple backdrops such as a white or black cloth and natural light. I love shooting using early morning sunlight, especially when shooting a new outfit or a quick shot, because I have to do a picture every day!!
But I can also spend (like I just did this morning) four hours building a set that I will use for my next Haute Doll issue, and spending the rest of the day to figure out if natural light will work or if I need to set up my lights and shoot at night! It really depends on the concept I go for, and if quick and easy will work or more complicated and elaborate. I enjoy it both ways.
LSO: Are you still working for Haute Doll magazine? How has that changed (if at all) your collecting?
AC: Yes I am still working for Haute Doll, I have been there since late 2008- early 2009 and survived every change of ownership of the past few years, which I am very proud of! LOL
It did change the way I collect though.
Many people glamorize working for a doll magazine and think that there are a lot of free perks (read: free stuff) when doing so, but sadly there aren't as many as people think.
A lot of the time the dolls and outfits you see aren't mine, or if it is mine I have bought it myself. So one of the first things that changed is that when buying something I am always thinking “Is this something I could use for the magazine or not?”, so I became a lot more conscientious about where my money goes.
Now a lot of the time I am thinking about where the doll would look best, about maximizing a dolls potential, and showing her in a way to others I haven’t yet and maybe making people that normally wouldn't look at that doll see her in a way that they have not thought of before. Enabling others is a powerfully gratifying thing.
Thank you so much Adrian for taking to time to share your heart for doll collecting, your passion for photography, and a little bit of your life with us!