Blythe photo by Gina Garan
Years ago, when I was studying photography, I came across a book of photographs of a doll named Blythe. A striking thing of beauty with large eyes and numerous outfits, she had been photographed on many different adventures. This struck a chord with me, not only for the novel photography project idea, but also for the doll itself and her fashions. In more recent years I’d seen Blythe crop up on ad campaigns, such as Sony, and I wondered if she was available to buy. Here’s what I found out…
Blythe was originally launched in 1972 but only lasted a year on the shelves, as children found her a little scary. Years later, Blythe was rediscovered and collected by Gina Garan, who photographed her ‘girls’ in various original and home-made outfits and published the book ‘This is Blythe.’ This became hugely popular and relaunched Blythe to the masses – she went back into production and is now available in the original size, plus a smaller, 4inch model, Petite Blythe. Read more about Gina Garan and her history with Blythe on her website, also named ‘This is Blythe’ here. Other Blythe books by Gina Garan are available from Amazon UK here.
I fancied having a go at photographing Blythe myself, so I ordered a Petite Blythe on eBay, which seems the only place to buy from in the UK. She arrived on Monday and I enjoyed making two little dresses for her! Her model name is ‘Running Deer’ and she arrived wearing a Red Indian style outfit – check it out below, along with the two dresses I made:
A couple of things to note if you’re considering purchasing a doll: the larger size has colour changing eyes, so there’s more flexibility for changing her expression, plus there is a much wider range of clothes and accessories available on the market. However, she’s not cheap – Petite Blythe is a smaller and cheaper alternative if you’re on a budget (you’ll need a good macro function on your camera though in order to get those close-ups!!).
She is definitely great fun to photograph and if you’re interested in fashion, photography or making dolls clothes, I’m sure you’d have fun with Blythe too! View more of my Blythe photos on Flickr here.