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Let me photograph your favorite stuffed animal

Published: Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 10:41 a.m. CDT

Have a favorite stuffed animal from your childhood? 

Or does your current child have a favorite stuffed animal or teddy bear?

Well, let me photograph it. Free!

I was inspired by Irish photographer Mark Nixon’s photographs floating around on the internet. Part of his portfolio are pictures of raggedy stuffed animals. He put out a call for people to bring in their favorite stuffed animal from childhood, and he would photograph it.

These pictures are quite touching, not to mention cute, and rather emotional.  I thought, “I’d like to do this.”

So I put in a call to my 32-year old son. “Remember Puppy?”  I asked.

Of course he did.

“Well, I’d like to photograph Puppy.” Voila, the first of my stuffed-animal pictures was born.

A little history of Puppy: When the kids were small, I took a drawing class, and drew Puppy. As a teenager, my son, not to be outdone by Pa, also drew Puppy. 

So, we have both drawn, Puppy, and now immortalized him further through photography. And if I can find those two drawings, I’m going to frame them.

By the way, my son always said his drawing of Puppy was better.  If there’s going to be familial friction, that’s the kind to have.

Here’s the deal, bring me your favorite stuffed animal or doll, the raggedy the better, and I will photograph it while you wait. Contact information is bellow. 

Also, if you have any stories connected with the stuffed animal, I’m interested in those, too — like the time Teddy came up missing, or the time Princess fell into the creek, or what Fuzzy meant to you. One-eyed toys, or toys with an ear or limb missing, are particularly touching.

And if they’ve been bandaged together — so much the better.

I will provide you with, free-of-charge, a framable picture of your favorite stuffed toy; and, what I have in mind is, putting together at the end of next year, a calendar of these stuffed animals, with their story. If your stuffed animal makes the calendar (I’m anticipating a major response), I will give you the calendar.

There may even be centerfold.

Why am I doing this?  I just like doing creative things. And it’s the time of year. 

Lots of stuffed toys are found poking their heads out of Christmas stockings, and cuddled with children on Christmas Eve while Santa slides down the chimney.

Tags on stuffed animals are particularly precious. I know my kids would often finger the tags on their stuffed animal, as they fell asleep.

So, if your stuffed animal has a tag, don’t cut if off.

The tag is a part of it’s feel, it’s personality, its memories; and the tag is photogenic.

I’m struck by the love a child (or adult) bears a cherished toy. That love flows, quite easily onto a photograph — like sap from a maple tree in the dead of winter.          

So, bring me your tired, your poor, your yearning Teddies begging to be photographed. I’ll give them my best shot.

Next year, I’m thinking of doing pets.

• • •

Have a good story?  Contact Curt Swarm at 1101 N. Perry St., Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or call or text him at (319) 217-0526.  Merry Christmas!

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