Why? by Yuri Badiner

My name is Yuri. I’m a 31 y.o. sales manager from Moscow, Russia. I’ve been in love with LEGO since my childhood, but only started shooting it in February 2016 when found some great pics on Instagram. Those pics really inspired me and I decided to try it just for fun… and that fun still doesn’t let me go and it’s became my hobby. I think toy photography is not such a popular hobby in Russia. I’ve met some Russian enthusiasts while discovering this awesome hobby, but there are really only a few here.

Why by Yuri: Where are you, toy photographers?
Where are you, toy photographers?

Not one of my friends and colleagues had heard about toy photography before I told about them about it. But it’s really great that I can tell and show people something unusual. Many of them appear interested and I like it!

– I’m shooting LEGO.

– Great! Wait. You shooting… what?

Why by Yuri

What I do

My own passion in toy photography is natural looking scenes, with characters looking like not just like toys, but like living people with their own feelings and thoughts. When I see the scene and it doesn’t need additional text to tell the story, I think that’s true art, and a direction I want to follow in my work.

Why by Yuri

I never do instant pics. One of my friends on Instagram said “Shoot now, ask later!” That’s not my way. Usually I come up with an idea few days before shooting. It may be recreated a story from real life, or my own fantasy, but it always needs to be created with love to process. I don’t stick to one series or one character, but I try to make my own recognizable style.

Why by Yuri

The main direction in my work today is all about action and flying particles, and there are still a lot of things I must learn. This very meditative and creative process requires a lot of patience and accuracy. And I really love it. The next step would be practicing with natural human poses and cinematic angles.

Why by Yuri: Feel the force of toy photography that unites all of us!
Feel the force of toy photography that unites all of us!

Why LEGO?

When I can’t find good place to shoot my idea, I can just create that place myself. And then I’ll take my camera to take a few shots and share my own story.  Every step, every moment of this process, is all about creating. And creating makes me happy.

Why by Yuri: Just create any place by yourself...
Just create any place by yourself…
Why by Yuri: ... and make your own story.
… and make your own story.

So what’s the point for me?

LEGO photography (as a part of toy photography) is a universal language that I can use to communicate with people worldwide without any borders. It’s the way of self-expression. I want my photos to bring you into their stories; that’s a purpose of all my work.

Why by Yuri: Escape from the cosmic disagreements
Escape from the cosmic disagreements

Today we have so many things that divide the world, and I’m really happy to be a part of this amazing community that unites all of us.

I want to thank Brett for his invitation to introduce my work and myself. It’s a really big honor for me!

With best wishes,

Yuri

 “Toys? Seriously?”

I’ve heard it more than once. People want to ask “Why?” but apparently deciding it’d be rude, they just flop the unspoken question out there disguised as disbelief. 

I’d had a camera since high school [Yes, they made them back then!], dabbling in everything from nature to concert work. But I’d drifted away from it, rarely dragging the old 35mm out. Then came digital and suddenly my phone had a camera! Then I acquired a tiny point & shoot and the requisite Flickr account to document some non-scan-able artwork.

It was while poking about on Flickr that I stumbled upon toy photography: 4″ Stormtroopers eating a spaghetti dinner! Ugly Dolls fighting over each other’s belongings! Tiny N-scale railroad figure; I dabbled in that pool too. People using photos to breathe life into bits of plastic! Not only did these early finds make me laugh, they inspired me to try it.

When I got back into photography much more heavily around 2009-ish, with the purchase of a DSLR, I [somehow] found myself shooting predominantly nature and wildlife – birds, for some reason, to the degree that a friend christened me “The Bird Whisperer.”  Toys fell by the wayside while I shot much more “serious” stuff. Meanwhile, LEGO came out with the CMF series, and I collected the ones I liked. At times, I excused their purchase by saying “Oh, I plan to photograph these…” but it was very occasional, at best.

Fast forward a bit further to a few years ago, when the residual damage from an accident started to catch up with me. Instead of spending nearly every waking hour of every weekend out in the woods, up in the mountains, trooping through rain and snow, camera in hand, I was… home. I was exhausted, in pain, medicated, and frankly, depressed. Sometimes I’d get out for an hour or two, but not like I had been. My creative outlet was out there and I wasn’t. And I wasn’t handling it very well. 

One miserable, cold, snowy day I discovered a fistful of Minifigures on the counter, next to my phone. I started pushing the figs about, noting how it looked like they were talking to and interacting with one another… and I snapped a photo. Then I remembered other figs I had, and that box of accessories I’d had for my old crew of misfit Stormtroopers. And I just kept going, regaining a creative outlet by photographing them as I did so.

Before long, there was always at least one fig in my work bag, in case an opportunity came up. When I was able to start spending more time out shooting, toys started riding along in my camera bag, as well.

And while, initially, I sort of hid my toy photography from most people, only showing the “serious” stuff… that has changed too, especially over the last year or so. Finding the Toy Photographers community has played a role in that. Seeing so much boundless creativity presented by such talented photographers inspires me on a daily basis. Not only can toy photography be technically serious, there’s no good reason to be shy about it.

And really, when you go out to dinner with friends, and they are all Instagramming their dinner but you have to set up a tiny sushi chef in the middle of yours first, you’d better get over the shyness factor, and learn to laugh at yourself –  while still getting the shot!

And when they ask “Toys? Seriously?” I respond “Very.”

Because toy photography has become something I enjoy. It’s something I’m passionate about.

Seriously.

R.E Wolf

Ryan is currently one of our fabulous moderators in our G+ Community. Come hang out with him and all the wonderful people who make this corner of the internet special. You can follow Ryan on either G+ or Instagram

Why? by LouieBaton

The Toy Photographers Blog: What is your connection to LEGO?

Daniyel Garcia: I have been into LEGO ever since I was a kid. It was always the go-to toy for my brother and I. We had this old LEGO ideas magazine for LEGO castle system. There were many builds of yellow-bricked castles. Ours were multiple colored versions of the ideas in a smaller scale.

TTPB: How long have you been a toy photographer?

DG: I have been photographing my LEGOs with my beers before Instagram, I was using this beer tracking app called “Untappd,” which basically tracks every single beer I have drunk or tried. I was double posting on that and Instagram and started getting a lot of feedback on Instagram. Continue reading Why? by LouieBaton

Dave: An Origin Story

It seems like every once and awhile someone creates a post about how they got into toy photography, and what they get out of it.  I figure its time that I go ahead and take a swing at that particular pitch and answer the how and why of my own particular journey into the realm of toy photography.

Ready?  Here we go…

The Shocking Truth Revealed!

I got into toy photography because I didn’t want to put on pants.

I’m not kidding.

Come along on a journey with me and I’ll tell you the tale.  It was a dark, cold, wintery evening back in December of 2012 (I’m assuming it was cold and wintry; I don’t actually remember the weather. It was definitely evening in December, so it seems plausible.  It makes for a better story so I’m going with it.)  

I had signed up for the Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt over on the Plus.  The hunt involves shooting an image for 10 separate words, one of which was “candy cane”.  If you recall the evening was (possibly) cold and wintry. The kids were in bed, so it may not surprise you that  I didn’t feel like going out of the house to find a shot.  So I decided to stage my own.  I looked around and discovered my old LEGO set from my long lost childhood. The kitchen contained a box of candy canes, and I scrounged an old Christmas tree skirt.  The solution was obvious (to me at least), and soon I had created this shot:

Continue reading Dave: An Origin Story

Why by Greater Beast

The first and few things I’ve ever stolen in my life was a crayon. I was two or three and my mom found it in my pants pocket one day after daycare. When she asked me about it, I said it was so fun and amazing I really wanted to draw all the time. She felt so bad she bought me a box the next day after telling me to never steal again. We returned the crayon back to the daycare. Continue reading Why by Greater Beast

What if why changes from way back when?

I’ve revisited photos, but I’ve neglected to revisit the question why.

Why then?

In June 2015 I was asked “why?” A lot has changed since then.

So, with all these changes, has my reason why changed too?

Let me premise this by saying that I’m not a photographer. Heck, I don’t even own a real camera. I’m just a knucklehead with an iPhone!

Back when I first tackled the seemingly simple question, my reason why revolved around the friendships I’d made. That hasn’t changed. But my motives have grown.

Two years ago, I resisted defining what I did as art. Since then, my photos shared the walls of an art gallery with the friends that were my reason back then. So, I guess I have to accept that I create art. Continue reading What if why changes from way back when?

Why? by Inner Brick

I was asked to write a post about how I use Lego. I looked through my Instagram account (Psychology in Pictures) and realized that its like a mirror to me. My models, my photos show my struggle in life. They’re reflections of my dark side. Their dark because I turned off the light. They’re in the dark because I put them into the cellar. Either way, they exist regardless whether I can see them or not.

But let me start at the beginning. Continue reading Why? by Inner Brick

Foolish Lego

First off, I’d like to introduce myself; In the real world, my name is Danny. Yet, ever since my first steps on the Internet – somewhere in early nineties – I am Dwaas. I am the keeper of foolishlego.com, the home of my Lego photography and webcomic. ‘Foolish Lego’ and Dwaas are special to me. Both partly born out of the feeling of wanting to escape (or make sense of) reality and for the other part born out of wanting to share stories.

Have you ever felt the desire to do something whilst knowing you just couldn’t do it? I used to feel like that. I had many shards of stories in my mind; images, words of wisdom (or quite the opposite), small scenes, undefined thoughts, etc.

As a kid, I got the ideas out of my head by playing in my own little childhood world. As an adult that world broadened and I couldn’t figure out how to give my ideas form anymore; I’m not a gifted writer, nor can I draw any good. I tried a personal blog (in Dutch), talking about all kinds of things that were on my mind but it just wasn’t it. Continue reading Foolish Lego

Art of the Blur

Even before Shelly asked me to provide my own two pennies worth (I am British after all, cents just wouldn’t do) I had read many of the previous ‘why’ articles and considered what answer I would give. And now to have been so kindly asked, I wanted to provide something new rather than covering similar ground to the past entries of others. You see I’ve always had a problematic need to seek my own uniqueness. 

From my point of view, I’d assume as photographers we all reasonably know or can at least to relate to the reasons why each of us does what we do. We’ve come together from all over the world after all, through the Internet because we’re likeminded people. And for me this means it seems a little too obvious for me to tell you all how I’ve lived with Lego all throughout my life, or profess my undying love for Star Wars and how I’m influenced by movies and the great Hollywood machine. I’d hope (rebellions are built on that by the way) that my photography would showcase these things without a need for any explanation. Continue reading Art of the Blur

Why? by The APhOL

I have to confess that writing this article about “why?” I like to photograph toys was challenging.

I’ve never thought about why I photograph toys, before. I was only following the butterflies in my stomach. But having to write the reason in “black on white”, I would answer that I’m a toy photographer, especially LEGO, because it’s incredibly fun. Continue reading Why? by The APhOL