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In This Episode…
Valerie met Nicole Houff at a local art fair recently and was struck by the originally of her work. Nicole sets up some very creative scenes of everyday life with the iconic duo Barbie and Ken. Her talent, creativity and passion shines through in this conversation. Her work will bring a smile to your face, guaranteed. Enjoy!
To put it simply: I’m a Minneapolis photographer with a mild Barbie obsession. Influenced by imagery from the 50s and 60s, I create scenes with the dolls in studio that have a sense of whimsy mixed with a little sarcasm. To me, Barbie is a positive, strong and empowering figure and I try to utilize her to create conversation. And to answer your question, I only have around 40 dolls.
Once I have a scene visualized in my head, I go on the hunt for all the components that need to go into the image, due to the fact I don’t add anything digitally afterwards. I only use Photoshop for color/density editing and retouching. I set up the diorama with the dolls, props and backgrounds and design studio lighting around it. I take an incredibly technical approach to my work; each shoot is a multi-hour event comprised of fine tuning lighting and great attention to detail. I’ve always felt that my Barbie series is the perfect hybrid of my BA from Macalester College with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Political Science, and my Associate Degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College in Photography and Digital Imaging.
My work has been shown at a variety of galleries, festivals and exhibits including: Mpls Photo Center, Gamut Gallery, Intermedia Arts, Nash Gallery, The Knockdown Center, Robbin Gallery, MN State Fair, Uptown Art Fair, Edina Art Fair, and the Twin Cities Pride Festival.