Mannequin Workers

"The idea came from a shoot I did for the Guardian Fashion magazine; art directed by Anna Tozer, and as it was such an amazing location I went back there to do a project on the employees.

The location is reminiscent of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; bits of bodies lying around, resin splattered on the floors like blood, saws, drills, hooks and other destructive and nasty-looking tools surrounding these serene figures draped in plastic. I love the details laid in every corner, boxes of hands for example, arms lined up ready for spraying and of course the ‘research’ pictures of topless glamour models pinned to the walls. Equally interesting was the way the mannequins were handled and moved around. The sight of an immaculate, plaster white naked form being casually marched through a warehouse by a burley guy in a boiler suit and mask was surreal to say the least.

The shots were all done on a 1920’s 10x8 Gandolfi field camera, a big black thing with red bellows that looks like it’s been rescued from the Titanic. It’s a beautiful camera that gives amazing results, but the most interesting thing with it is the interest it gets from passers by, making it easy to persuade people to stand in for a shot. I think we’re getting so used to everyone, professional to amateur, walking around with a digital SLR, and the reaction to ‘excuse me, do you mind if I take your photo’ is often one of suspicion. With the 10x8 set up in all its glory, people are usually approaching me dying to have a nosey under the dark cloth!" - Dylan Collard