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Work / Photography

Nipple charts and rubber faces: Robert Benson captures a Californian sex doll factory

After doing some research about the growing fascination with realistic, high-tech sex dolls, photographer Robert Benson was interested in discovering how they were actually made. He found that one of the largest “love doll” making companies was right near San Diego where he lives and set about shooting the factory for his series Sex Dolls.

The RealDoll factory in San Marcos, California creates custom dolls and products that can fetch up to $6,500. A team of highly skilled artists beaver away at creating not just realistic hair and make-up for the dolls but all the necessary holes and attributes for their customers’ needs. “The people who work there are truly talented artists and have a passion for what they do,” says Robert.

The series is a bizarre, slightly creepy snapshot of factory life from a highly detailed nipple chart to dolls just hung up on the factory floor like meat at a butchers. “I had zero knowledge on this type of industry so I went in with no expectations,” Robert says. “I find when I cover things that are out of my comfort zone I notice more and I shoot whatever I see is interesting.”

Seeing the dolls in this context removes all of the eroticism from them, especially when we see close-ups of single body parts like the line of extended mouths. “I wanted to show the unusualness of the place,” says Robert. “There aren’t many sex doll factories in the world.”

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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Robert Benson: Sex Dolls

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