Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Island of the Dolls

I went on a photography workshop with Jo Brenzo to Mexico City. Jo has been photographing in Xochimilco at the Island of the Dolls for many years. She and Eva Hunter published a book about the dolls and the man who collected them. The book, Lord of the Dolls, Voyage in Xochimilco, is now a collectible and can be found on Amazon.

A small part of the canals and islands that covered the lake bed of Mexico City at the time of the conquistadors still exists. On one small island way back on the canals where tourists do not usually go an old man collected dolls that he found and hung them in trees or stuck them up with stakes. It is a weird place. The dolls are in various states of decay. I elected to make portraits of some of the dolls because it is so chaotic that it is hard to make a coherent image of the over all environment.

It is a spooky place. I would not like to be left on the island at night.

If you would like to see the rest of the dolls I photographed, click here.


  1. With all the natural beauty of the champas and canals, I found the island of the dolls distracting and wished it hadn't been part of the day, for me.
    How did you feel?

  2. I loved seeing the canals but I have long wanted to see the island and I was not disappointed in it. I'm very glad I was able to see both.

  3. I don't think I would sleep well the night after visiting and seeing all the dolls. Sort of creepy.

  4. Phil, it is very creepy but also raises a lot of questions about why someone would do this and also, asked me questions about why I was responding to this subject matter.

  5. very interesting pictures billie. i really like the 2 to the right of the head with a bowl of coins.

    it seems odd to me that a man would find so many dolls. wonder what made him start doing this.

    take care billie.

    teresa in nagoya