By Lisa Morgan

Barbie loves Palm Springs! Yes, I am referring to “the” Barbie, of Mattel fame, who recently toured our beautiful city of Palm Springs who, to the delight of all her fans, will be sharing her adventures through the photos of long-time friend and personal photographer, Steven Henke. These limited edition prints of Barbie in all her fashion best, and even some with her companion, Ken, 40 prints in all, will be displayed at a special photography exhibition entitled, “Barbie Does Palm Springs” at Savage Galleries in Palm Springs running from October 20-31, 2012. A gala, Opening Night Reception will be held, Saturday, October 20 from 7-10 pm and everyone is invited. All proceeds from the auction event, will benefit the LGBT Community Center of the Desert.
The story of the special relationship between Barbie and photographer, Steven Henke is as valuable and intriguing as the photos themselves. As a young boy growing up in a small town in North Dakota, with a natural attraction for beauty and fashion, young Steven was drawn to Malibu Barbie and all her accessories, earning him the not so loving nick-name, “Barbie Boy”. Friends were scarce for Steven in those days. In spite of the difficult atmosphere of his youth, Steven developed his natural affinities into an extremely successful career in ideation and trend forecasting. At one point in his journey, he was in charge of developing accessories for Mattel where, once again, he was dubbed “Barbie Boy”, only this time as a title of admiration and respect. Steven’s story echoes the message that many who suffer discrimination need to hear, see and believe. “When people look at my work, I hope they feel happy and optimistic because no matter what’s happening, ‘it does get better’.”

The buzz created by Steven’s project inspired Mattel designer and Palm Springs resident, Jim Holmes to get involved. Holmes developed a custom made, not to be reproduced, Barbie and Ken doll unique and exclusive, specifically for Henke’s project called “PS…I Love You Barbie and Ken”. These one of a kind dolls and their photos, along with the rest of Barbie’s photo shoots, will be available at auction at the opening night gala. Barbie Does Palm Springs will also be holding the auction at leading online charity auction site, People all around the world will be bidding on these items and people from all over Southern California are expected to attend this unique and worthy exhibition.
Having come full circle in his journey with Barbie, the value of the community support he has received through this project as well as the new friendships he’s gained are not in the least lost on Steven Henke. Steven says he finds himself now, living in the reality of his favorite quote that is pinned to his “inspiration board”. The quote by Kevin Aucoin reads:
“Today I see beauty everywhere I go, in every face I see, in every single soul, and sometimes even in myself.”
Savage Gallery is located at 870 Research Drive, Palm Springs. Find them also at or call (207) 388-2326. The public is encouraged to attend Steven Henke’s Barbie Does Palm Springs exhibition on Saturday, October 20, from 7-10 pm. 100% of all proceeds benefit the LBGT Community Center, the non-profit center that works to serve seniors, provide wellness and social services, addresses urgent needs of hunger, depression, isolation and suicide prevention while building a community open to all, enriching the lives of the LGBT community. For more information on the center, go to or call (760) 416-7790.


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