10 Fun Stats about my upcoming book, Behold the Valley of the Dolls: A Barbie Collection in Portraits.

1. Nearly 1,400 (I lost count) Barbie dolls were photographed from March 3, 2018 to April 4, 2020.

2. There are 495 significant doll lines featured (e.g. Malibu, Superstar, Fashion Fever) from 1959 to 2019. It’s truly a Who’s Who of Barbie!

3. I have 1,132 dolls selected for the initial draft of the book.
4. The 2000s is the decade with the most Barbie dolls collected.
5. It’s a tie between 2005 and 2018 for the year with the most dolls with 58 each.
6. The Fashionistas Barbie line is the largest with 109 dolls, produced from 2009 to 2019.
7. There are 216 Ken and other male dolls (e.g. Allan, Blaine, Steven).
8. Barbie & the Rockers were the first 6 dolls I collected in 1987 and it started the whole Barbie collection.
9. The dolls that cost me the most were the 1960 Ponytail Barbie (in iconic zebra-striped swimsuit) and the 1965 Bendable Knee Ken (I won’t disclose their price).
10. My personal favorite doll line is a toss-up between the 1967 Twist ‘n Turn Barbie and the 1971 Malibu Barbie.

I had no clue where I was going with this prolific project but I knew “just do it.” And do it, I did! Nearly 1,400 Barbie and Ken dolls photographed with many artistic concept photos in-between (some becoming canvas art pieces on exhibit) – all shot in my little cardboard box studio.

Two years ago I started a photo project I nicknamed “The Barbie Who’s Who Project.” I built a homemade photo studio out of a cardboard box found in a recycling bin and decided I was going to photograph every single doll in my Barbie collection inside it.  The focus was to photograph each doll in a uniform style with a full-body shot and a close-up portrait. To symbolize the start of the project, I picked the 1959 Barbie, in her iconic black-and-white swimsuit, as the first doll to photograph.

Prototype covers and pages for Behold the Valley of the Dolls.

April 2020

Twist 'n Turn? Malibu? It's a toss-up!

Two years later I end the Barbie Who's Who Project by photographing the last doll, appropriately the 1959 Barbie in her classic Solo in the Spotlight fashion. I enjoyed these past two years immensely.  It was a lot of fun, and I fell in love with Barbie collecting all over again! I'm now on the eve of getting a photography book published, titled Behold the Valley of the Dolls: A Barbie Collection in Portraits.

March 2018

Behold the Valley of the Dolls

By David Mansour