I’ve done a lot of Barbie bashing in this blog, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. So please have a look at this image by Tytus Zmijewski of Landov*. It speaks directly to our topic of yesterday – the concept of the fundamental nobility of human beings. It was taken on July 19, 2013 and shows a little girl and cancer patient, Nikola Cichowczyk aged eight playing with one of the twelve bald Barbie dolls at Jurasz University Hospital in Bydgoszcz, Poland. This is the only place in Poland where children, who are recovering from chemotherapy, get to play with special bald, wig wearing Barbie dolls. The Mattel Company created these bald dolls so that young patients, who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatments can relate to the body image. These are unique dolls and are not for sale at retail stores. I guess that it’s the other side of the coin, there ultimately being two sides to everything, and the Mattel Company deserves a lot of credit.
*I cannot resist commenting technically about Zmijewski’s photograph. It is a powerful tool in portrait photography to not have your entire subject in focus. Here the doll and wig are sharply in focus in the foreground, while little Nikola is clearly discernible, but not in focus, in the background. Notice, in fact how narrow the sharp focus is, only the doll and the wig are sharp; even Barbie’s feet are out of focus. Zmijewski has chosen wisely for the subject matter, which demands this setup, but in general you can do it either way. Note also that the perspective elongates the distance between the two, creating even greater interest. Interest is further accentuated by the matching color of Barbie’s out fit and the little girl’s shirt. So it’s not just a wonderful picture, but an expertly executed one as well.