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Laurie Simmons in "Romance"

Early in her career, Laurie Simmons used photography as a tool to create a still and pristine reality. Simmons explains how she was able to bring her still photographs to life in her first feature film, The Music of Regret (2006).

Drawing from the American Songbook tradition, Simmons composed lyrics and storylines for the musical, which featured a cast of puppets, dummies, and dancers. “My inner life about my own work was very theatrical and very narrative, but that’s something I was always afraid to express,” says Simmons.

Viewers follow Simmons through portions of the three-act musical, which portrays complex emotions of love, loss, and regret.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons stages photographs and films with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories, longings, and regrets. Simmons’s work blends psychological, political, and conceptual approaches to art making—transforming photography’s propensity to objectify people, especially women, into a sustained critique of the medium. Mining childhood memories and media constructions of gender roles, her photographs are charged with an eerie, dreamlike quality.

“My inner life about my own work was very theatrical and very narrative, but that’s something I was always afraid to express.”

Laurie Simmons

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