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Sandra Hoyn : Jenny’s Soul


This year, L’oeil de la Photographie, partner of the Festival des Nuits Photographique, presented the Prix Spécial to the yourng German photographerSandra Hoyn for her report entitled Jenny’s Soul. We published her report last March, within the framework of the 7th Yangon Photo Festival. This subject, presented in the form of a photographic film, brings a new dimension to this amazing work. Now we can discover, or for some people, rediscover the award-winning film, “Jenny’s Soul”, accompanied bythe interview with the winner.

Jenny’s Saoul / Sandra Hoyn from Les Nuits Photographiques on Vimeo.

L’Oeil de la Photographie : How did you meet Dirk? Why are you interested in his story ?

Sandra Hoyn : At first I saw an awful TV documentary. After that I googled for silicon dolls and found a shop selling this dolls in Germany and an internet forum. I was interested in what does a person need to feel love. I met Dirk and his silicon doll Jenny on an internet forum in October 2014 and visited them at their home.
ODLP : What have you discovered through your contact with Dirk and his particular story ?

S. H. : It surprised me how easy I got entrance into his world. I was one week in his town and took photographs just on three days. And it surprised me how fast I accepted Jenny as his partner. At first I was concerned that Jenny doesn´t like me and I may not allow to take any pictures. Dirk walked through the apartment, giggling and replying to her all the time. I could not understand. I was unsure because only Dirk can communicate with her soul, not me.

One day in the afternoon as Dirk brought Jenny to bed because she needed a nap, I went through the living room on tiptoe and whispered to Dirk, afraid to wake her up. After I thought to myself what am I doing here? I was surprised how quickly you can get adapted to the situation.

Sometimes I find myself defending Dirk. People just don’t understand. Even me I don´t understand completely, but I accept it. Dirk first decided to buy Jenny because he was suffering from a breakdown and feeling extremely lonely. Jenny is his source of comfort, his therapist, his constant companion. He’s happy now. At this moment he want no other woman.

ODLP : How did you approach this report photographically ?

S. H. : Dirk has had bad experiences with the media. At first he was careful. After he realized that I do not condemn him as a freak, he was open and honest. His desire is that the issue is getting more publicity, that it will be a little more normal. Dirk is constantly reflecting himself how this could happen. If there are really souls in dolls, or he’s just crazy and everything happens only in his head.

Dirk was very open to me, I had not expected this. He liked me, but sometimes he felt little uncomfortable by me, because he didn`t like it that me as a stranger brought a lot of unrest in his apartment. After his break down he enjoys the silence with Jenny. Dirk need much rests because of his break down. He has a strict daily routine with Jenny, and I disturbed them sometimes. It was very hard for me to be patient.

I was not allowed to show his face. I was afraid of exposing them with my pictures. Because with this particular topic, it is easy to take bizarre photos. The biggest challenge was to take photos of Dirk and Jenny on an equal level, not to see the doll just as a doll but to recognise what the man sees and loves in her. Because I was not allowed to show Dirks face, I had to be careful that Jenny not too often appears in the series. I edited my picture selection with him, I wanted to get sure that he agree with all, I wanted to get sure that Dirk feels ok with my pictures.

ODLP : Why did you choose to use photographic film for this series? Do you think that this format gives a particular strength and resonance to your subject ?

S. H. : Yes. When people just see single pictures without explanations they judge maybe too fast. When they watch a photographic film they have more time to get to know the context. Photos, music and text together can transport better an atmosphere.

5th edition of Nuits Photographiques
From September 17th to December 12, 2015
Screening evenings : 17, 18 and 19 September 2015

Pavillon Carré de Baudouin
121 Rue de Ménilmontant
75020 Paris


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