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Robert Huber
Realdolls: a hidden yet lucrative market

Robert Huber: sacred & profane

Snapshot objects of desire, from real-life sex-dolls to prison prayers

Curiosity is what drives World Press Award Winner photographer Robert Huber to seek out and document the side avenues—some would claim subcultures—of commodified human desire and spiritual expression. When Huber isn't busy on assignments for advertising agencies and publications around the globe, he prefers to snap close-ups of unconventional subjects such as Christian prison inmates or the interior of a Californian sex doll factory.

Huber's RealDolls series reveals the hidden yet lucrative market for "Leah," who you can buy for the bargain sum of roughly 6,000 US dollars. What is unique about "Leah" is not the fact that she is a human-like sex toy cast from the most advanced mix of silicone, but her pre-determined dimensions of beauty: the real-life doll is of average height and weight, her face pretty, but not beautiful; her breasts are round, but (unlike that of porn stars) not too big. The doll company’s financial success is a testament to its mass market appeal and codified value system—not entirely unlike Inner Change’s strict “Christ-centered agenda,” custom-designed for prison inmates. 

Complete with an array of Bible classes and prayer studies from dawn till 10pm daily, Inner Change is designed to break the cycle of criminal behavior and turn convicts into devout fundamentalist Christian believers. Although this radical experiment is only two years old, it has already become a model for the national movement to boost 'faith-based organizations' as an alternative to government programs in areas like drug treatment. The faith-based movement is being touted by a range of politicians, not least of all by President George Bush who appears on the movement's promotional video. 

Thanks to Capricious Magazine, buy issue #14 here