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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel by Brandy Isadora is a non-fiction coffee table art photography book that revolves around its titular topic: the mannequin. Known to most as the life-sized but not quite lifelike figures of men, women, and children wearing retail clothing or gracing the theme of a storefront window as part of its decor, Isadora scratches a little deeper below the surface to provide brief nuggets of the long history and evolutionary stages of the mannequin. The narrative excerpts are primarily short and superficial, with Isadora allowing her photography to do most of the talking. The book comprises page after page of glossy, full-color original photos of a wide variety of mannequins the author has come across.
I'm always fascinated by individuals who are able to zero in on ultra-niche topics and turn them into something a person without a connection to the subject can and will appreciate. I admit that I hadn't given mannequins much thought before Brandy Isadora introduced them to me through her book Mannequins. The book provoked a thoughtful discussion with my teen daughter on where we stand now in a world evolving toward AI. In this context, it was easy to see why mannequins have, and will likely continue to have, longevity that exceeds even us as people. If there is one thing in this book I would have appreciated more, it would be telling the reader more about the mannequins pictured besides just their name. What year are they? Where are they located? How were they acquired? Still, Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel by Brandy Isadora is a well-executed photography book that I have no doubt will entertain and educate those who peruse it.