Suzanne Heintz Photographs the American Dream With Her Mannequin Family

Suzanne Heintz Suzanne Heintz Suzanne Heintz Suzanne Heintz

Photographer Suzanes Heintz is a self-proclaimed spinster. As a single woman, she got fed up with the bombardment of questions about when she was going to get married. Tired of being pittied, she decided to confront this issue head on. She purchased two mannequins – one male and one female child – and the series Life Once Removed was born. Dressing up and posing with her fake family, she stages witty representations of the American Dream. Ski trips, vacations, and stereotypical romantic moments are all acted out by Heintz, and she sets the scene perfectly. These colorful images feel saturated, in both how they look and the emotional exuberance of the her expression and body language.

Heintz rejects the notion that to be a successful woman means that you have to fulfill a laundry list of achievements, not limited to an education, career, home, family, accomplishment, and enlightenment. In an interview with Feature Shoot, she explains why she created Life Once Removed:

I’m simply trying to get people to open up their minds and quit clinging to antiquated notions of what a successful life looks like. I want people to lighten up on each other and themselves, and embrace their lives for who it has made them, with or without the Mrs., PhD. or Esq. attached.

All of these photographs are shot on location. When Heintz lays her head in mannequin’s husband’s lap while in the park, it’s totally real, and an important aspect to Heintz’s series. She goes on to say:

While I need the public to act as character and context for the actual photo or video, I also need their responses to make the effort a success as an instigator for social change. The reaction can vary from a raised eyebrow with a head turn, to a blast of laughter, to taking their own snapshots while posing with the mannequins. It depends a lot on the location. But most importantly, it stops people in their tracks long enough to ask me what the heck I’m doing. Because the project is so audacious and flat-out funny, it helps me reach the public, and actually get them to let their guard down long enough for me to have a conversation with them. (Via Feature Shoot)


Suzanne Heintz - Photography Suzanne Heintz - Photography Suzanne Heintz - Photography Suzanne Heintz - Photography

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  • TanoDeMano

    That lil redhead in the first pic is hot. Would bang.
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  • Kingsley

    A cry for help.

  • Chance Boudreaux

    She’s mocking the Good Housewife of the 50s.. but inside I think she yearns for that lifestyle, instead of ending up dead in a room full of hungry cats.

  • vavavampire

    Parodying the American Dream….why didn’t anyone think of this before now!

  • moburke

    she pretty much says as much, with her stated desire to open people’s minds to think of lives like hers as successful, too.

    if she wasn’t crying on the inside for society to love her, she wouldn’t care that no one thinks her dry dead-end existence and humorless rictus are to be envied.

  • Fraga123

    She needs to take up vaginal knitting and vomit painting. Then her trifecta transformation into Crazy Single White American Woman will be utterly complete.

    Why can’t men commit? LOL!

  • name

    She owns 42 cats.

  • GhostOfJefferson

    I guess her point is, why admit that you’re a failure by any standard set in the world when, just by moving the goalposts and mocking any definitions of success you can blur your own lackluster existence and obfuscate your meaningless life’s lack of any direction or accomplishment. Ain’t feminism grand? You’re not a failure, as long as you don’t confront your own mediocrity! ™

    And women wonder why men are avoiding them and their societal level psychosis like the plague these days.

  • Simon says…

    This is just kinda sad, normally I just mock people like this, but this somehow touched a nerve for me (and I’m guy).

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Her parents must be so proud.

  • Grizzly

    This is really pathetic.

    If this is what our future holds, then it seems like its time to start buying stock in pharmaceutical companies. You’ll make a boatload of money on the ones that manufacture psychiatric meds.

  • UncleElmer

    Feminist fixation on “the 50′s” is creepy and disturbing.

  • GregHood

    Reductio ad absurdum of feminism and egalitarianism.

  • etchasketch

    Ummmmm, someone needs to get laid. #MannequinForThat

  • Daddy

    Why need a real husband and kids when you have 10 cats

  • Iconoclasm
  • Apollyon

    She’s not bad looking. There likely was a time in her past that a Nice Guy(tm) was interested. But, chasing Bad Boys was more fun. Result: cats and mannequins. Sad really.

  • Inane Rambler

    Talk about wasting the best years of your life. She looked like she might have been an attractive young woman once, but instead of leveraging it she decided to ride the carousel.

  • Hiding my info from BSC

    That is Batsh-t crazy, right there.

  • ihatecats


  • Jeremiah J. Timmins

    That’s kind of how my life looks, except I have family members instead of mannequins.

  • J P

    I guarantee you that if this woman’s house was searched you would find several taxidermied human corpses.

  • ram 32

    This woman is psychologically damaged. I feel sorry for her. Why are the 25% of women who have mental illness given the most attention? They are psychotic. I bet this chick takes a handful of crazy-pills every morning.

    Too many women are the same – crazy, depressed, drugged-up, and yet telling young girls “live like me!”

  • bliad

    Attention-seeking behaviour by an emotionally-stunted adult.

  • visionary_23

    You’ll notice that the mannequin dude is never smiling. Must be tough for him being married to someone so self-absorbed.

  • theotherRJH


  • mrwild

    That spinster sure has a mouth full of teeth.

  • Comrade Scott

    So now I know what the female equivalent of a Realdoll is.

  • Kit Ingoldby

    I actually find myself feeling sorry for her.

  • NiceGuyGoneCad

    I’d ask her out, but that mannequin looks like the jealous type. What’s with so much hate?. If two man can marry, dating a mannequin is fair game I guess.

  • Mehndi Masala

    Not understanding why there is so much anger towards a successful and published photographer who has created an awesome series of work. I am super happily married for 10 years and also an artist. Life changes and perhaps the mannequin will be replaced by a mate, but I was perfectly happy without one, and am now perfectly happy with one. I have tons of kids in my life and none of them are mine and I’m not going to be having any. My not wanting any is not selfish, having children you don’t want and feeling resentment because you are ‘supposed to’ and then getting a divorce is selfish. I’m not sure why her rejecting the notion that there is only one path to happiness and fulfillment is met with “She’s faking it, she hates her life”. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, if you put your life and art forward, you are inviting criticism, but a lot of the below responses seem like knee jerk reactions…. Or so it seems to me.

  • MayUBeWell

    There is a lot of hating going on here. It’s art people. It is commentary. Clearly she is getting a message across if so many are so riled up.

  • WOW

    This is great, she hit the nail on the head, so many people are in mundane marriages, tired of raising children, and the only satisfaction they have is posting photographs like these for others to see. She figured them out that’s why they are angry and hating 🙂

  • Fares

    She has a point of view and she said why she’a doing this.. Actually i would marry and love such a wise lady instead of loving idiot ones that are all the same.

  • MrMan

    geez there are a lot of humourless and bitter comments in response to these wonderfully funny works of art. Insecure much people? Need to believe there is only one valid dream for a women to pursue? I’d rather hang out with mannequins than you lot!

  • Kitkat

    I think these are great – a funny look at our idealized version of the all American family. I really don’t understand how anyone could get all wound up about these – lighten up, people!

  • guest

    Not sure why everyone’s being a jerk about this article. Nowhere does it say anything about her having cats, so you’re stereotyping her as a “cat lady” just because she’s single. And she probably has a normal job like most people, and just did this on days she was free and had a good idea. Tons of photographers stage photos like this. And i think she used the ’50s style because women were supposed to be husband pleasers and want to have perfect families/lives. This was pretty much a “i don’t need to act like this to be actually be happy”

  • sevines

    Pretty much.