The bond between a girl and her doll can sometimes become unbreakable and may last throughout adolescence and into adulthood. The attachment and sentimentality can be so great that a girl will bring her doll wherever she goes, as together they embark on the many adventures of girlhood. This relationship is the centerpiece of the delightful book Kiki and Coco in Paris written by Nina Gruener with photographs by Stephanie Rausser and featuring a doll handmade by Jess Brown. The book is a photography picture book and features a seven-year-old girl, Kiki, and her trip to Paris with her doll Coco. The two enjoy many sites of the city such as the Eiffel Tower, dining in a café, museum trips, and relaxation time in the flat where they were staying. The text is written from the perspective of Coco the doll as the doll is given feelings and emotions so as to relate to its young readers. The text was written by Nina Gruener who owns Cameron + Co. Publishing who published their book under their Cameron Kids imprint. The photographs for the book were created by lifestyle and advertising photographer Stephanie Rausser and features her daughter Kiki as the inspiration and model for the story.
The journey of Kiki and Coco began as a personal blog and a video slideshow of their travels in Paris together. Since receiving an incredible amount of positive feedback after posting the images to her blog, she decided to create 3000 calendars based on the photos for art buyers, art directors, friends, and family. With a high demand for the calendar, the following year another calendar was created featuring Kiki on a trip to Italy titled “Sweet Italia”. Being less interested in being photographed for the new calendar, sweet treats such as ice cream, lollipops, and chocolate replaced the doll so as to tempt Kiki into posing for the photos. After the second calendar was produced, her daughter begged her not to photograph her anymore and to find another model. Rausser’s last calendar, “I Left My Heart In…”, was produced in 2011 and this time it featured her niece Zeli in various attire and posing in different locations throughout San Francisco.
After becoming interested in the Kiki and Coco calendar, Cameron + Co. approached Rausser to inquire about turning her photos into a book. Sending 5000 photos to the publisher, Cameron + Co. pulled their favorites and came up with a story that could appeal to children. Though the photos were shot from the perspective of Kiki, the publisher wanted the story to reflect the doll’s perspective so the photos were then re-edited to focus mainly on the doll and what it was experiencing. After publishing the book on November 1, 2011, the book found sentiment with mothers so they could share with their daughters the story and enjoy the touching photographs together.
Since readers found the Kiki & Coco book endearing, a second story was released in May of 2014 titled ‘‘Lulu and Pip” which featured the same team of collaborators. In this story, a new girl named Lulu is leaving the big city with her doll, Pip, to have a camping adventure. Along with her doll in tow, Lulu plays with her in a stream, builds a tent, and makes friends with a donkey. The pages of the book are also filled with the full bleed photography of Rausser and captures Lulu’s romp with her doll in the forest.
At the time of writing, Cameron + Co. is still producing books for all ages. Stephanie Rausser is active with advertising, commercial, and lifestyle photography and has a vast collection of beautifully shot photographs on her website. Jess Brown sells her handmade dolls online in multiple styles as well as women’s clothing and quilts on her website.