My 2018 Photographic Journey

Wow, what a year! 2018 was my biggest year yet as a toy photographer in so many different ways.

As I’m writing this post, I’ve taken 373 completed photos this year. By “completed” I mean shot, edited, and “finished” in my mind. They’re exported out of Lightroom and sorted, uploaded to the Cloud, and ready for posting.

2018

Looking back at these 373 photos, I notice that they cover a wide spectrum of styles, subjects, and techniques. I shot indoors and outdoors, LEGO and action figures, with practical smoke effects, water, snow (both real and fake), paper backgrounds, natural dioramas, and more. To me, there isn’t a coherent visual style, and instead there’s evidence of me at my most curious and artistically challenged.

I think this has to do with my ever-increasing technical skills and confidence behind the camera. I used to walk away from photoshoots in frustration. There were often things I couldn’t quite get right, like depth of field and lighting. Now, that feeling is rare, and I instead find myself pushing my limits and trying new things. That energetic curiosity was the biggest driving force of my year.

Cheers to 2018

Cheers!

This past January, I made a pseudo-New Year’s resolution to maintain momentum and find new opportunities. I feel confident in saying that I accomplished that goal. I recorded 42 podcasts with artists from around the world. I wrote 24 blog posts, which kept me examining my process and sharing my experiences. I wrote reviews, attended a toy photo safari, took Annie Leibovitz’s MasterClass, and participated in projects for companies like LEGO and LumeCube. All of these things helped me gain exposure, make connections, hone my craft, and push my limits.

Looking back at the year, I realize that I did all of these things because I finally feel like I’m happy with myself as an artist. Because I’m more confident in my skills, I try new things and seek out new ways to share my work. Because of the podcast and our ever-growing community, I’m viewing photography in a much different way. I’m discovering new artists and learning about their various processes and reasons for doing this. This only continues to help me learn and grow.

Thank you to everyone who came with me and supported me on the journey this year. Whether you looked at my photos, hung out with me at a toy safari, listened to the podcast, read a blog post, or talked to me about toys and photography, you helped make this my best year yet as an artist. I’m eternally grateful, and cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store!

Onwards and upwards my friends,

-James

How was your 2018? Looking back at your shots from the year, do you notice any trends?

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2 Comments

  1. You took so many fantastic photos, you should be incredibly proud, I’m also a big fan of the podcast and it’s been a great source of learning and inspiration. This was my first year as a toy photographer and I’m seriously hooked, I’ve never felt the need to produce so much work before or been prouder of anything else I’ve done artistically especially the #WithToysInMind project. Trends in my work are probably portraits littered with various practical and lighting effects. One of my favourite things to do is to take a figure and just throw the elements at it and see what works.

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