Tattered Teddies: Q&A with Photographer Mark Nixon on Much Loved's Stuffed Companions Loved to Pieces

They have been with us through it all. They protected us from monsters under the bed and cuddled with us when we were afraid of thunderstorms. They were our best friend and we vowed that nothing would ever separate us.

We are, of course, talking about our teddy bears and other stuffed companions, that over the years, dealt with our abuses of love and affection as we navigated the journey of growing up and discovering the world and ourselves. But what happened to them?

If your teddy is currently in storage at your parents' house, you may feel like digging him (or her) out after seeing the new book from Irish photographer Mark Nixon. As the photographer himself states, these childhood friends have been “loved to bits.”

Nixon's Much Loved, released last month through Abrams Image Publishing, displays tattered teddies with a small story about them. The 65 portraits illicit a wide form of reactions from euphoric awing to scoffing and squirming disgust. The ages of the teddy bears range from a few months to some being decades old (the oldest is about 104 years old). There are even celebrity bears belonging to the likes of U2's Bono and Irish radio personality Gerry Ryan.

SF Weekly had the chance to talk with Nixon, who lives in Dublin, about his inspiration of the project, deep, metaphorical interpretations of these images, and the entire culture and childhood importance of the teddy bear. Scroll through the interview to see a sampling of the photos.

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