An entire room of toys. Shelves dedicated to favorite characters. Row upon row of little plastic people and accessories in storage containers. Large scale figures, 1/6th scale figures behind glass, 3 3/4 figures right on down to tiny little Lego minifigures reenacting scenes from my favorite movies. An entire desk littered with figures and props staged for ideas on my next photo. Some linger after they’ve had their 15 minutes of fame because I enjoy looking at them so much. This is my room. To me it seems normal. I love to be in my room and disappear from the world. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to stress over (unless that one minifigure falls over one more f’ing time! Grrr!) When the question of why I like to photograph toys came up I truly didn’t have an answer and maybe I still don’t.
How did all this happen? How is it that in my spare time I take pictures of toys? Photographing toys is a hobby?! Well, I think there was a string of events and things just fell into place. It was like it was all meant to be. It’s who I am and what I do. I’ve always loved the mircoworld of toys and one of my favorite toys as a kid was a microscope. There was some magical connection between Legos and being brought down into their small world that is so fascinating to me.
I remember being at work and a few friends and I would huddle around the computer screen while looking at the new series of minifigures that were being released. “Ooo I want that one! Oh I WANT this one! I NEED THEM ALL!!!” These cries were all coming from adults and yes that last quote was from me. There was no shame in walking into the Lego store with my friends and being asked if I was shopping for a child or myself, “Pfff, myself Thank you!” Or walking around Disneyland with a pocket full of minifigures and setting up a shot in one of the busiest tourist spots on Earth. Nope!
Having a decent camera built into a phone really changed photography for me. It was certainly much easier to get a quick shot with a phone then dragging out the big DSLR. When Instagram took the world by storm I made the switch to an iPhone and POOF! The pieces fell into place. I’m a visual person and Instagram is like all my favorite magazines all rolled in to one. I have different accounts for my different hobbies so I can pop in and scroll through my favorites. (remember when you used to reach a point where you left off? I miss those days!)
I had to check my Instagram toy account to see when all this started. April, 30th 2012 was my first Lego post. Not a very good one, but everyone starts somewhere and I’m ok with having a visual record to look back on. 770 or so pictures of toys with a couple of pup pictures snuck in there. It was fun strolling down my toy memory lane. Ahh, remember I used to be LegoAckbar! Right! Looking back at my old toy photos those silly plastic faces still make me smile. Sure I could nit pick things…”Oh the shadows are terrible on that one or I could get a better shot of that now.”, but all I can see is my humor, my snarkiness and their happy little faces. I rarely take pictures with my phone anymore so setting up a shot out in public is a little less discreet; but after 6 years of this hobby I don’t even bat an eye. It’s just what I do.
Why? Why do I do this? Why do I feel the need to pose and photograph toys? I struggle to answer these questions because I can’t pin it down. There are so many reasons. Some I can’t put into words. Do I do it for the followers? The likes? The dream of Insta fame? Nope, nope and nope. Although I’m grateful to all the people that do follow me and like my photos and I wouldn’t turn my back on being an Instragram sensation (in truth I’d probably drift back into the shadows) But for me it’s more of a NEED. Like my NEED for all the minifigures mentioned above. I NEED to take pictures. I NEED to sit on the floor with 20 trays of figures all around me while looking for that one particular face with the smirk. I NEED to get the lighting just right (oh gawd the lighting!) I NEED to get it out into the world.
So, my answer to why? is I NEED to.
Never stop playing and thank you for reading.
-Cynthia Sayre (Aka: general_sneers)