The very first play in The Photographer’s Playbook asks the reader to figure out what game they’re playing. So, I say to myself, “I’m creating because I have a creative drive.” But this needs to go deeper. What are my goals, how do I intend to achieve them, and what is the best way to go about this? All things I have very vague answers to in my head.
And then I remembered a quote from Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James, spoken by real world playwright Sarah Jones.
“And you’re doing it. That’s why we’re here right? This is it! There’s kinda not more to it than that.”
Continue reading Being in the Game
It is probably not a shock to anyone reading this that I believe toy photography to be a very creative art form that is full of creative artistic people. One of the most blissful times in a creative person’s life is when inspiration hits and creativity flows thru them like a torrential rainstorm. However when inspiration dries up and ideas are as scarce as water in the desert, well, those times are tough.
I believe it is important for a creative type to push thru these dry times, and strive to create new things even when inspiration is lacking. For working professional photographers these dry times can often be survived by pouring oneself into projects for their clients. However as Joe McNally is fond of saying, one needs food for the table, and food for the soul. If you are a pro your clients provide the food for the table, however you still need to find food for your soul in terms of personal projects. If you are an amateur like most toy photographers are, it’s all food for the soul. Continue reading The Inspiration Challenge
Just yesterday, Shelly wrote about the power of the number three in photography. Little did she know, I was writing an article centered on the number three as well! I wasn’t thinking of how magical it can be, but about how there are three stages to taking a photo: the Idea, the Setup, and the Execution.
The idea actually came from my wife! She was looking over some of my recent pictures when she mused, “I love how you have to constantly problem solve before you get to the final product!” When I asked her what she meant, she explained that the three aforementioned stages each have unique problems to be solved. Some require a hat trick to complete; others may only have one or two hurdles to clear. As I applied this way of thinking to my catalog of images I realized that every single one had at least one problem I successfully solved. Continue reading The Tricky Trio: The 3 Hurdles of Every Photo
Art as Emotion
“Art is the expression of those beauties and emotions that stir the human soul.”
– Howard Pyle
Art is an extension of the way we each feel about the world.
Emotions are what make us human. The fact that no matter how different our backgrounds, we all grieve, feel joy and show anger, is something that connects each of us on a deeper level – it bonds us together in this human experience. It can be so important to feel through every experience, good or bad. And negative emotions can be just as beautiful as the positive. Without the bad there is no good. Continue reading Am I Creating Art?
Whether it’s taking time, or making time, getting some toy playtime can lead to some toy photography time that you didn’t know about. Playtime with toys can be not only cathartic, it can also be invigorating and energising when it comes to finding toy photography stimulus.
1. an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with; plaything
2. something that serves for or as if for diversion, rather than for serious practical use.
3. made or designed for use as a toy.
4. to amuse oneself; play.
My desk at work is strewn with a constantly changing selection of LEGO and toys. It’s where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I bring a new batch of toys each week to play with and see if their stories emerge from our playtime. I’ll find myself playing with LEGO or figures while I try to figure out coding problems, mentally map out solutions, debate whether I should send that email or censor it, or sometimes when I probably should be paying more attention during phone calls. Continue reading Playtime to Stay Prime
that in my upcoming travel toy photos I wanted to have “a reason for the location and [to] find a way to interact with [my] new environment.”
During my 2 weeks out of state, I took a ton of pictures –
most of a touristy nature with no toys present. But, one night I did find myself at a sculpture park, with the perfect opportunity to put to use my 2″ tall plastic, electric dollhouse chandelier that I brought with me. I purchased the chandelier with the idea of creating outdoor rooms, of playing with the juxtaposition of inside v. outside space and therefore a looking out on new opportunities, new starts, open windows and doors. Continue reading Learning to Travel with Toys
“The world sure seems different from down here, doesn’t it, Scott?”
-Hank Pym, Ant-Man (2015)
I tend to spend a great bit of time and energy hunting new sources of inspiration for my photography. I do this by looking at other people’s photos, getting feedback from and interacting with my peers, or participating in challenges.
The easiest way to find inspiration is to simply add a new LEGO set, minifigure, or accessory to my collection. This usually leads to at least one new photo, or I get lucky and it opens up a whole new series for me to dive into. Continue reading A New Perspective
Summers are for vacations and vacations are for reading. Who doesn’t have a stack of books waiting for the time to read them? Because I love reading, I thought I would share the books that I’ve read that have shaped my photography. If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, several of these books will already be familiar to you. Even though I’ve talked about them before, I thought it would be nice to put them all in one place.
In fact, many of my past blog posts have been inspired by these books. I often cruise bookstores looking for interesting titles. Beside bookstores I also ask my fellow photographers to recommend their favorite books. By doing this, I make sure I break out of my comfort zone. These books inspire me creatively, encourage me to think about photography as well as reinforce basic concepts of both art and photography. Continue reading Summer reading to inspire your photography
There are various way to approach the creation of new photos. Personally, I like to think of an idea then figure out what toys and other props would be best to make that vision a reality.
Sometimes I look through my collection, other times I’ll browse online or in shops, and sometimes I’ll make my own objects. I don’t typically make the precise, detail oriented, gorgeous work you’ll see of miniaturists or customizers, but I do make simplistic models that fit my end goal. I like to think of the camera lens as a tool of transformation. Through it, I can make my simple sets come to life. Continue reading Making Toys for Toy Photography
“Light comes in flickers, defining the darkness, not dispelling it.”
Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
Although lighting is crucial in the Noir series, I never payed attention to how exactly I proceed. I do not know much about light. I only have a general idea of the look I want to achieve. And then I kind of play around, which at the end of the day leaves me with lots of pictures that are ‘same but different,’ as they say.
However, since the lighting in this series has been commented on a couple of times, I tried to pay more attention to the process. Here’s what I think I do:
It all started with ideas about lighting
At one point for example, I wanted the central person to be illuminated by light falling out of a door or a window, casting a long shadow. That’s how Noir started, and you can tell from the first pictures of the series that in the beginning, there was the light, and then the story followed. Continue reading And then there was light