Artists' Statement: Small Talents

According to Abraham Maslow, there are two types of esteem needs: self-esteem, which results from mastery of a task and leads up the hierarchy to self-actualization, and the need for attention and acknowledgment from others, which harkens back to the lower need for love and belongingness. A talent show can fulfill both kinds of esteem needs, provided there is both mastery on the part of the performer and acceptance on the part the audience. Anything less short-circuits the process, leaving the performer feeling inferior and unwanted.

In the series, Small Talents, we photograph found dolls as would-be talent show contestants seen at the beginning, middle or end of their performances. The viewer becomes the audience for and judge of each contestant's talent, asking him- or herself, has the performance finished (or even begun), does the performance rise to the level of talent, and finally, what is the talent in question?