I recently discovered the work of Tinu, creator of Dollicious Life, on Instagram.
It was a #toyphotography hashtag that led me to Tinu’s amazing doll photographs.
And I was blown away!
You have got to see Tinu’s powerful and beautiful images using dolls as storytelling, as well as her charming videos with her gorgeous kids and doll collection!
This lovely scene of a family at prayer was created for the world’s first social distancing Ramadan.
The doll clothes were made by OMODE, a bespoke clothing company for ladies and kids, with many beautiful African prints.
Here is Tinu’s introduction from the #CollectionVsCollector challenge that’s going around:
I’m Tinu, publisher & editor, mother of 2 living in NYC. I’ve been collecting dolls since the late 90s as a young girl. Now housing over 300 vintage Barbie, Cissy, Blythe, Erte, Integrity Toys, Franklin Mint, etc in storage and only just now slowly starting to bring them out to play with my kids regardless of value.
Watching my 2yr old daughter’s reaction during unboxing is priceless! (You can see videos in the YouTube link on my profile page.) I love taking pics using outdoors, real life. Welcome to my happy place! So buckle up, it’s going to be one fantasy ride of art imitating life here!
The tender scene below shows the Hameed family leaving the hospital with a newborn.
Tinu’s signature as a fashion doll photographer is using real backgrounds, made by placing the dolls in front of the real place!
And as a native New Yorker, she uses the city as a backdrop!
Her doll pictures in the last months include protest art, with photographs of her dolls she took while joining the protests in midtown.
She describes Dollicious Life as “the place where art imitates life”, and says she uses her dolls to teach her kids about the world.
The scenes she creates are warm and inclusive, a hopeful vision of human connection.
I love the family dinners and Pride pictures, which show gatherings of stylish folks.
Her dolls are responsible and have tiny masks!
The scenes include cancer survivors and breastfeeding.
I also really value the education about traditional African fashion Tinu’s work provides, like this scene with Yoruba attire and this king in Ghanaian Kente style.
Tinu is a serious lifelong fashion doll collector (although now she lets her two-year-old open valuable boxed dolls!) and through her I learned about the fantastic doll company Integrity Toys, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Dolls have tremendous intrinsic energy, and using them for education is powerful.
I hope you’ll follow Tinu on Instagram or Youtube and see what stories her dolls have to tell.
You can also read Tinu’s reporting on New York protests here and see her coverage of the NYC Juneteenth events here.
Plus, check out her coverage of last year’s events like Curl Fest, Afropunk and Pride!