LENA KUNZ takes pictures of women and their babies. Her latest series, ‘Artificial Reality,’ captures stroller walks, late-night feedings, and endless diaper changes. The really good stuff is in there too, from meeting the siblings to playtime to those adorable toothless smiles. There’s just one thing about the infants Kunz photographs: They’re made out of silicone.Reborns--lifelike baby dolls--are an international phenomenon. They first popped up in the US, and then crossed the pond to the UK, Asia, and, more recently, rural Germany where Kunz, a Berlin-based photographer, focuses her series. The dolls’ silicone or vinyl bodies often begin as So Truly Real dolls, a collection by doll distributor Ashton Drake Galleries. They're later given an infant's likeness, or “reborn,” by an artist, sometimes using a live baby’s photo for creative reference. Reborn collectors (aka "Reborners") typically pay a few hundred dollars for high-end dolls, but it's not uncommon to see Reborns sold for well over a grand. In 2012, the Joelle doll by prominent Reborn artist Romie Strydom sold on eBay for $22,600.
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