Single Woman Opposes Societal Marital Pressure with Mannequin Family


Life Once Removed is a whimsical yet thought-provoking portrait series by photographer and self-described spinster Suzanne Heintz that explores the societal expectancy of women to get married and start a family. The photographer places herself in front of the camera with a set of mannequins, posing as though they're a nuclear, all-American family from a postcard or perhaps a 1950s sitcom.

Heintz originally embarked on this project because, she says, “I got really sick and tired of answering the question, ‘Why aren't you married?' over and over again. Like my life was behind schedule or there was something seriously wrong with me. Like I wasn't living up to expectations.” Therefore, she intended to create her own husband and child. Throughout the series, Heintz wears her toothy smile as she goes sightseeing with her plastic family.

Ultimately, the series presents the unmarried creative with her faux family in manufactured poses, questioning the purpose of these indoctrinated rules and whether there's truly a difference in her “family” pictures from others. She says, “We love & obey the formatted image of a well-lived life. So deeply ingrained is that strange auto-grin we put on when a camera is present. Do we live our lives with a keen awareness of how it feels, or just how it looks?”

In an interview with Feature Shoot, she also adds, “We are constantly set up by our expectations to feel as though we are missing something. In my case, it seems I was missing the family component, and was suspect for that gap in my resumé as a successful woman. I thought it was high time to call this nonsense out publicly, because this notion is not just about me, nor only about women in regards to marriage. It’s about anyone whose life doesn’t look the way it ‘should.’ 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.”

1082141734 1082141757 1082141773 1082141788 1082141804 1082141827 1082141843 1082141855 1082141873 1082141894 1082141906 1082141912 1082141919

Suzanne Heintz website
via [Feature Shoot, LENSCRATCH]


Pinar Noorata is the Managing Editor at My Modern Met. She is a writer, editor, and content creator based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA in Film and Media Studies from CUNY Hunter College and is an alumni of the Center for Arts Education’s Career Development Program in NYC. She has worked at major TV, film, and publishing companies as well as other independent media businesses. When she isn’t writing, editing, or creating videos herself, Pinar enjoys watching movies, reading, crafting, drawing, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content