The Dove in the Dollhouse

The Dove in the Dollhouse

It was like an attic spilling into a house, a thousand years of artifacts and paintings somehow setting themselves on the walls and fireplaces. A little disorienting to be bombarded by everything, antiques resting on other antiques, being careful when breathing lest something shatters. It was a bird’s nest in its crooked hallways and stained glass, completely littered with stories from faraway places.

On this overcast and dreary Sunday, Amna and I found ourselves inside this magical home, with two wedding dresses that were impatiently waiting to be unfolded. So we quit ogling the place, just for a bit, to get her ready and into character. Zipped into the first dress, we froze her tousled hair into place and painted her eyelids with lip gloss, completing her transformation to caged dove (which I recently discovered are just white pigeons :( ). We smoothed out her feathers and began by playing with mirrors in the bedroom, and, four hours later, had finished meandering through every corner of the house. The actual house, the front yard, backyard, from the dollhouse in the attic to the backyard trellises, and the many odd places in between.

Soft light, whispered movements, some mystery, searching for the secrets beneath her exterior; these were the motives behind my storytelling. Amna and I moved back and forth, offering each other ideas, until we found a rhythm in our shooting that wound through until our time was up. We wrapped up by crawling through the house on our knees, searching for all the stray feathers that parted with the first dress, before heading to 16th and Mission for the best falafel we swear we’ve ever had.

Today was kinda perfect: the location and dresses, the inspiration, the storytelling, the immense fun of it all. My favorite part? I really can't decide between the two, so Amna and the falafel are tied for first. 

Photography: Ankur Maniar | Model: Amna Rana | Location: Noe's Nest | Dresses: Aria Dress