Talking Heads Book by Matthew Rolston

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“Astonishing and spooky.” —The Hollywood Reporter

Influential American celebrity photographer and creative director Matthew Rolston turns his eye for portraiture to a new cast of characters with the launch of Talking Heads, The Vent Haven Portraits. Using techniques he has honed over decades of celebrity portraiture and marking his first foray into the world of fine arts, Rolston has captured the inherent humanity of a never-before-seen collection of unique entertainment figures: ventriloquism dummies. Unearthed from the tiny Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, Rolston uses a rigorously simplistic photographic style to bring out the power in the faces of these figures through a series of 100 portraits, or “headshots.” 

Rolston painstakingly selected the faces he was most drawn to and, in particular, those that conveyed a sense of character through pronounced aging, exaggerated features, and ornately painted faces, drawing the eye directly to the face and to the bizarre human quality of each dummy. Breathing life into these inanimate figures, Rolston channels their sustained energetic presences that are at once commanding, totemic, and unnervingly familiar.

100 Full-Color Portraits • Featuring a series of 100 richly-colored, exhibition-quality portraits in large, square format. • Enriched with several essays, including one by Rolston himself, as well as archival photographs of many of the figures in Rolston’s portraits and a history of the Vent Haven Museum and its collections.


224 Pages / 12.5” X 12.5”

ISBN: 978-1-938461-00-2