I’m not a product photographer either

Through my own creative journey, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m not a product photographer either, I thought it would be fun to throw in my two cents.  There has been Kristina’s aborted attempts at creating a set review, James’s recent set review and Brett’s most recent attempt at working with a marketing firm.

I’m not suited to be a product photographer because I approach photography not as a way to make money, but as a vehicle for self expression.

The important thing is, you have to have something important to say about the world.

Paul Strand

But that doesn’t mean that some part of me doesn’t want more. I understand the allure of receiving acknowledgment for creativity and hard work. At some point the likes and comments from social media aren’t enough. I see other photographers who are being recognized by toy manufacturers. They receive toys ahead of release dates and some even are creating books! A part of me wants this same recognition. Then I come to my senses.

Be careful what you wish for

All of the areas of recognition that I’ve mentioned come with strings. Some of those strings are rather weighty. When you start accepting work for pay or trade the equation changes. Suddenly you’re no longer creating images based on personal whims, but images based on someone else’s expectations. Sometimes its hard to know what those expectations are, and sometimes their expectations are unrealistic.

Let’s face it, the client doesn’t know the limitations of the toys, or how much work goes into photoshop effects. Often the work that is being requested is not commiserate with payment or expectations. It’s the rare client who has low expectations and a large budget. Suddenly what is a fun hobby becomes work.

Creating relationships with art directors or marketing liaisons takes effort. Successful relationships need to be built on trust and experience. And unless you plan on becoming a professional photographer, its hard to justify the time and effort. Of course, if your goal is to be a professional photographer, you will need to put in that time and effort. But I think that for the majority of toy photographers, simply having fun is our main goal.

My own forays into toy photography for a client where not entirely successful. I didn’t enjoy the process of creating a review for the collectible mini figures. I’m so grateful that Brett loves this part of our job! His reviews are always fun and informative! While I enjoyed reviewing Minecraft: The Village, my work was months late. No one wants a review to come out months after the release date! My most recent attempt at photography for LEGO was also a lot of fun. But I spent over 80 hours on the project in exchange for a handful of sets. Not the best use of my time.

Follow your passion.

The best advice I can give you is to follow your passion. Create work that makes you light up. Respect and follow your creative curiosity. Listen to the ideas that are trying to get your attention. Be responsive to those ideas and act on them. Don’t get distracted by false promises of fame or fortune by creating work for someone else for next to nothing.

Create the work that is important to you. Create work that speaks to you and then share it with the world. If you’re looking to move beyond social media there are lots of opportunities to share your work in the physical world. Here are a few that I’ve tried:

  • Coffee shops or Restaurants
  • Craft or art galleries
  • Toy stores
  • Comic conventions
  • Studio or home exhibition
  • Self published books
  • Arts and crafts shows

All great adventures start small and build with each success. Start with your family and friends. If you have their support, then consider widening your circle. Listen to what people say about your work: both the positive and negative. If you plan on selling your work to help fund your hobby, you need to be responsive to your potential customers without loosing your own creative vision.

I admire those who can be product photographers, but I know it isn’t for everyone. If you want to share your work, you need to get creative and find other opportunities to share the work you are proud of. Being a successful creative is more than simply receiving paying gigs. Some rewards are more subtle and often more fulfilling than money.

Have you ever experienced the smile of someone who is reacting to your photograph in person? Have you ever had a conversation with a fan in person while they tell you how much they love your work? Or have you experienced sharing stories about toys with a fellow toy photography enthusiast? It’s experiences like these that are more valuable than pay for a well done product photograph.

I will leave you with this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert from her most recent book Big Magic, Creative Living:

“What is creative living? Any life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” Elizabeth Gilbert

This is why I’m not a product photographer, I’m an artist dedicated to living a creative life. One driven by curiosity about my own journey and the journeys of my fellow creatives.

Shelly

Are you a product photographer, a creative or some combination of the two? 

And if you’ve made it this far I encourage you to sign up for our weekly email round-up. Or join our G+ Community were we hold monthly contests with prizes for the winner! 

Creating Art that’s Intimately Yours

The world opens up…as a grand and glorious adventure in feeling and in understanding. Nothing human is unimportant to him. Everything he sees is germane to his purpose. Every word that he hears uttered is of potential use to him. Every mood, every passing fancy, every trivial thought can have its meaning and its place in the store of experience he is accumulating.

-from Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell as quoted by Brooks Jenson of LensWork  (LW1040 Inspiration Comes from Everywhere)

Scratching the Surface

In a way I feel like each of my photos is an exploration of the same concept, emotion, story. And yet, while stylistically they may be similar, each photo varies in subject matter.

In each image I aim to create a quite stillness, a calm in the storm, surrounded by mystery. Why? Well, it certainly has a lot to do with my personal thoughts and experiences. But, the question remains as to whether I will finish scratching that itch; if I will inevitably decide that I’ve fully explored this story photographically. Or, if I will forever continue to grow and explore how to better represent precisely what I mean to.

Faking It

Call it self doubt, insecurity, imposter syndrome. Call it whatever you like. The fact is, every one of us, at some time or another, have felt like we’re faking it. Like our photos aren’t unique. That we’re not improving. The list goes on

I’ve though multiple times lately that my art isn’t what it used to be. Spoiler alert, it’s not. But, I’m starting to think that’s a good thing. Initially I wondered if I was becoming too influenced by the pop culture work I scrolled through on social media, or maybe I was just throwing stuff together to meet the daily post goal. And honestly, both are probably true to some degree. The difference is that I was giving too much negative weight to these possibilities.

So Back to that Itch…

In feeling too influenced by other toy photographers I thought to take a step back, to absorb photography of the full scale world, maybe even make some of my own. I didn’t do either, not then at least. But just considering full scale photographic genres, a multitude of mini-world ideas formed.

One of those was black and white architectural photography. Something I did full-scale for my first ever gallery show. So out came my odd collection of second hand, dusty, HO and N scale buildings and I started to observe them through my camera lens. To my amazement, they still came out stamped with my dark, mysterious, quite aesthetic.

Overall

Unless you’re purposefully directly copying, grabbing onto something you like from a photo you see and using it to further influence your photos, doesn’t only make sense, it’s a great way to continue improving your photography.

And with that, striving to make a bunch of work can be a good way to keep experimenting, finding your style, and once again, improving.

Of course, no matter the positive spin you can put on any of your doubts, you’re still going to make photos you’re not happy with, you’re going to have dry spells, you’re going to question what the heck your goal here is.

I don’t have any great answers in this creative conundrum, but as I’m sure most of you know, the benefits to creating always seem to outweigh the frustrations.

Really, what I think it comes down to, is getting to know yourself, your aesthetic, and your photo goals. As creatives we’re never really 100% where we want to be photographically, but if we continue to create, experiment, learn, than we’re making just what we aim to be, and that artistic journey will stretch out before us.

Jennifer Nichole Wells

What ideas do you explore in your photos? Do you ever feel like you’re too influenced by the photos of others? What do you do to combat those fears?


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While the cat’s away, the mice will play

While the cat’s away, the mice will play…hooky!

With Shelly’s away catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, taking photos of LEGO, taking about LEGO, and attending the LEGO House opening, I’ve decided to take a week off from posting. Shhh! Don’t tell her!

While the cat’s away, the mice will play…music!

While I’m here, I’ll just remind you that there’s a music themed challenge happening over at the G+ community.

While the cat’s away, the mice will play…music!
While the cat’s away, the mice will play…music!

Take the power of music and create images with your toys based on music!
Utilize songs and lyrics that inspire you to create.
Recreate your favourite singers and bands.
Take your favourite instrumental piece and interpret in plastic.
Turn your favourite figures into singers and rockers.

Be the maestro and orchestrate your masterpiece!

The image picked as the best of the month will win a special plastic prize and be featured as the community’s banner photo for the following month.

Whilst the G+ monthly challenges are nothing new, and the winner’s photo being featured on the communities’ banner the following month is the norm also, this is the first challenge that there is also a prize on offer. The first of many challenges with prizes on offer!

So what are you waiting for? Join the G+ community and get rocking!

– Brett

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

A Busman’s Holiday

I’d never heard of a busman’s holiday before? Nor had I thought I’d ever been on one!

 noun: busman’s holiday

  1. a holiday or form of recreation that involves doing the same thing that one does at work.
    “a fire crew’s Christmas outing turned into a busman’s holiday when their coach caught fire”

While Shelly is away, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some time off from shooting to take the wheel of the good ship Toy Photographers. I’d been running low on motivation and inspiration and thought this would be the perfect chance to recharge and reenergise. And while I thought I’d relish the break, I found myself doing what I usually do, a busman’s holiday.

Shelly and I share the load of the social media management. We take turns pushing posts out to IG and Facebook. We take the reins of the newsletter on alternate months, editing and sending out the weekly recap.

Just leave the subway a station
You’re on holiday, not vacation
Frenzal Rhomb – Holiday Not Vacation

Admittedly, it was my month to send out the newsletters, and with Shelly away, I only have an extra 3 or 4 social media shares to take care of each week. And, thanks to our wonderful regular contributors here, the posts take care of themselves. But the chance to step back from my creative slump and focus on the admin seemed just the thing I needed to recharge my creativeness. Or so I thought?

a busman's holiday
a busman’s holiday

With my self-imposed break from shooting, I found myself doing what I usually do. I was planning shots, scouting locations and even documenting the sun at different times in our backyard. And whilst I never pressed the shutter button once, I’m pretty sure I took more photos in my mind that I would’ve if I was shooting.

Not picking up the camera made me think more about ideas. So many concepts rattled around in my head. Planning shots that I had no immediate intention of shooting took more elaborate twists. Tales grew from simple ideas.

So, maybe a busman’s holiday was just the ticket I needed to get things back on route again?

– Brett

Have you ever taken some time off? Did you manage to actually take a break? Or did you find yourself doing what you usually do regardless?

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.
And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

Foolish Lego – Pt 2

In my last blogpost I talked about how I started in toy-photography. . Although my main concern at first was creating decent photos, my main interest came down to story-telling. While single photography brought me pleasure and such, I always felt there was something missing.

As everyone in this world does at some point in their life, I decided I wanted to write a book someday. I’m no different. I’m a person that usually contemplates a project over and over… and over again. Yet, in the end I don’t even start working on it. This time was different; I even took some lessons in creative writing. The results from that course weren’t all that bad, but I understood that actually writing a book would be way out of my league, so I shelved my plans on writing a book again. A few years later I came across another phenomenon on the Internet; Lego-comics!

At that instant, everything came together. I figured Lego-comics was something I could do, since I was already doing daily photography. How different could it be, right? So again; I simply started, not being bothered by my lack of knowledge on just about everything concerning comics.

The Foolish-Lego comic was born. The first episode went up on my daughter’s birthday four years ago. The first comic ran for 287 episodes and took about 2,75 years to end.

As I said, I had no idea what I was doing. All I had was a crude thought about where I was going with the story the first couple of episodes, but didn’t have a clue on how I was going to end it. I didn’t even know what characters I was going to include and I never heard of the words ‘(crude) outline’. Almost all episodes were written and shot on the fly. The day I was going to publish an episode, I wrote the script, shot the photos and created the episode. What the next episode would bring I didn’t know. As a result, the story felt very unbalanced and was influenced by the amount of time and inspiration I had on the day an episode needed to be published.

There was so much wrong with that comic. For instance, there wasn’t a descent plot, there was little -if any- character development and there were countless loose ends.

Lighting and effects were especially annoying to me. These differed per episode and I couldn’t get them consistent. The reason for that was that I didn’t have a setup like I have now. I shot on different locations and with differing light sources (‘normal’ lights, flashlights, phone-lights, x-mas lights, etc…). Because of this, the effects in Photoshop had differing results (they also differed because sometimes I forgot what I did the last episode).

This episode shows the inconsistency in lighting/ color-balance even within an episode. Between episodes it’s much clearer.

Another thing was that my main protagonist didn’t really do anything. If I took him out of the story, the events might still have unfolded mostly as they did, frustrating. At that time, I didn’t know what a character-driven plot was. As the comic proceeded I took most of my pleasure out of some of the side-characters (Like Daryl, Willy and Venator & Hammie) who at least had distinct personalities, albeit flat.

In the first comic there were scenes I was happy with. This is a scene that did move the story forward and was fairly consistent. However, this scene was very heavy on Photoshop and took a lot of time each episode to do right. So, at the time I was happy this scene ended.

During the running of that comic I hit the books and asked around on all kinds of things, story-telling, camera-positions, (lighting) set-up, creating characters, plot-development and such. By the time I knew a bit more, I got so frustrated by the flaws in my comic I had to end it. And so I did. The ending (when I finally thought of one) was (ironically) inspired by the ‘Neverending story’ and even to me it didn’t feel that satisfying. Yet, it had to be done, I wanted to do better!

Now I’m about 100 episodes into comic two (which also started on my daughter’s birthday, did I mention that I am a sucker for traditions). This time I had a plan!

I started writing a crude script for the whole comic (that I already revised a thousand times by now), created a decent studio set-up and decided on a few characters with distinct personalities and desires. This time I would focus on my own alter(L)ego Dwaas. Also, there would be some connections to the world in the first comic and to characters in my single photography. I also wanted to bring some meaning into the story. And even though it might feel a little slow this time around, I am reasonably happy with the progress up until now.

The root of Dwaas’ problems started straight after his ‘birth’. This scene is also my favorite one up until now. It sets up the second story nicely and harbors a lot of atmosphere (based on ‘Young Frankenstein’ b.t.w.)

Technically I am investigating camera positions, composition, elements of cinematography, mood and lighting. This time I want to bring some balance and stability to the setup, at the very least within a scene! Now I shoot the comic scene by scene, which takes me 1-2 days per scene for the shooting and composing.

Technically I am investigating camera positions, composition, elements of cinematography, mood and lighting. This time I want to bring some balance and stability to the setup, at the very least within a scene! Now I shoot the comic scene by scene, which takes me 1-2 days per scene for the shooting and composing. I hope to write more on specific aspects of how to create a Lego comic next time.

Dwaas’ beliefs get him in trouble many years little in multiple areas in his life, as becomes clear as the story progresses. Will he be alright in the end?

While writing this blogpost, I re-read the first comic and I was positively surprised to notice that I felt it to be rather entertaining. I can partly see through the flaws now. Anyway, If you would like to read it, the first story starts here, the second (ongoing) comic starts here.

Dwaas

Have you ever considered starting a comic, or have you started one?

Product Photography

**Just a disclaimer, this is not a critique on Kristina’s recent post. I completely understand her point, and relate. If you read between the lines, this post even reiterates a few of her points. This is instead a response to comments I’ve read and heard in the toy photography realm at large.**

Product v. Commercial Photography

‘Product photography’ seems to be a four-letter word in the toy photography community. A fear of a corner you’ll be placed in, an insult… But I don’t think it’s something to even remotely stress over.

Yes, toys are in part products, but the photos we create of them tell stories – they’re not items shot to specific standards against a stark white background.

If you were commissioned by a company to make a toy photo to their specifications, in most cases it would be commercial or adversarial work, but still not quite product photography.

The main difference is a creative photo platform v. a standardized one.

Product Photography

Product photography looks a bit like this:

However, in the photos above I used miniature toy products, not meant for individual consumption. I did photograph them to GS1 product photography standards. Yet, because of the subject matter, I’ve probably taken the whole thing out of the product photo arena anyway. These photos are useless as far as a manufacturer or retailer is concerned. But creating them allowed me to focus in on every minute detail of these already tiny pieces. I think there’s a statement to be made there. And product photography does not exist to make statements.

Commercial Photography

In terms of commercial toy photography, I think it’s really interesting for the public and brands to see how much life a toy photographer can breathe into their products and thus their advertising. A toy figure shot at various angles against a white background can be important in advertising for those wanting the technical details – figure size, articulation, detail, etc. But, to a child or collector, seeing that same figure realistically photographed in an atmospheric battle scene is so much more engaging and awe inspiring. A story can be woven around the figure, which burrows that product deeper in the consumer’s heart.

Needless to say, even with the most leeway, commercial photography isn’t for everyone. Some need complete creative control without these possible limitations.

Long story short…

unless you’re taking planogram and marketing shots of your action figures in their original packaging and then selling those images to a company, or using them to sell the product pictured, you are not even slightly a product photographer.

As you are, whether commercially or artistically, if you are telling a story through your toy photos rather than simply and starkly showing what a toy looks like, you are a creative photographer, a narrative toy photographer, maybe even a fine art photographer. And as long as you stick to your gut, no one can try to tell you otherwise.

Jennifer Nichole Wells

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

-Paul Caponigro

What came first?

What came first? The chicken or the egg? The lyrics or the music? The setup or the idea?

We all have ideas bubbling away in our heads. Preconceived concepts tag along as we venture out to shoot plastic. Stories are already playing out before our subjects are posed before the lens.

But, sometimes those stories meander off into something new. New ideas come to light with out subject of choice before us. Concepts and notions twist, turn and evolve into another. Often we return with our initial ideas, concepts and tales shelved for another venture; another day.

And all this is cool! This is one of the many things I love about photographing toys. I love thinking up stories. The tales and concepts that emerge excite me. I also relish the twists and turns that inevitably occur when I’m out shooting. And the wonderful surprises of never considered outcomes is one of the greatest thrills of this “lying in dirt focussing in on toys” thing we do.

However…

However, this week I was asked to provide specificity around every proposed image that I been asked to create for a client; specific, precise and exact descriptions of each photo I plan on delivering to client.

But, I can’t even do that for myself?

What came first? The notion or the emotion?

What came first: Lyrics & music, eggs & chickens?
Lyrics & music, eggs & chickens?

If I promised myself every shot I had in mind before I headed off the beach, I’d greatly disappoint myself before the sand on my knees had time to dry. If I delivered what is often a vast deviation from the proposed outcome, I’d be disenchanted as the client. And as I, the client pointed out what was initially offered compared to what was delivered, I’d feel artistically restricted as the consultant not being allowed the opportunity to expand and explore possibilities and stories.

And…

The request for detailed a synopsis of what I’d deliver was daunting. But, there was another aspect to this request to factor in.

My specific descriptions of proposed photo outcomes we to highlight toys that I didn’t have yet. Now this might not sound like another complexity cog in this proposition wheel, but for me it was.

What came first? The preconception or the perception?

When we’re lucky enough to be sent Collectable Minifigures to photograph and review, I always start planning ideas before their arrival. It’s good to plan ahead. It helps to have a schedule for shooting and locations when I’m attempting to get the review uploaded as soon as possible after their arrival.

Yet, when the box arrives and the unpacking begins, the new Minifigures more times than not, demand a photo that was never envisaged before I had them in my hands. Often, my predetermined thoughts of what a particular Minifigure deserves is far from the mark. Repeatedly, new ideas emerge and plans are rewritten in the presence of the new arrivals.

So…

So, with Kristina’s words echoing in my head, I sent off my proposed ideas for the possible outcomes of shooting toys that hadn’t had their chance to tell me their stories. I explained that without the toys to talks to me, it was difficult to grasp what stories they wanted to be told.The twisting, turning nature of how my photos evolve was also explained.

I can only assume that, if a client understands that the toys speak to me, things will work out. 

Or maybe they’ll think I’m a complete nutbag and slowly recoil from the offer, smiling politely, and avoiding any sudden movements or noises!

– Brett

Are your concepts locked in prior to shooting? Do your stories twist and change once your toys are in front of the lens? Have you ever been asked to outline a photo without understanding the subject?

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when we have a new post ready for you.

What if?

What if there were no social media sites?

What if there were no online ways to share images at all?

You could show your images to friends and family.

Find a like-minded community.

Post them on the walls of abandoned buildings.

Drag them from gallery to gallery hoping for interest.

Show them at art fairs hoping for sales.

Scatter them about the park or mall for a random stranger to find.

Stack them at the coffee shop counter.

Hang them on café walls.

Keep them to yourself.

What if there were no social media sites for us to post to instantly and hope for follows and likes?

 

Would you still create?

Would you still share your work?

What would change for you?

 

I don’t mean this as a critique. I mean this as a thought piece. It’s not bad if this would change things for you. In reality, it would change the way all of us create and share. It would have to. But, if you’ll humor me, and if you care to define them, use this as a jumping off point to think about your goals.

I think the more we know ourselves and what we intend to make, the better pieces we create.

 

Jennifer Nichole Wells

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”

-Ralph Hattersley

A photo ripple is the perfect tipple

From just a single drop, inspiration radiates outwards in a beautiful ripple.

Dave recently wrote about taking on photography challenges to replenish the creative well when it’s running dry. This month, I was lucky enough to be part of a photo challenge for the first time on G+; a photo ripple.

One person posts a photo, then tags two to post a photo following the theme. Those two then post and tag two more, and so on and so on, resulting in a wonderful ripple of photos radiating out from just one; a casual sequence, a ripple effect.

The epicentre of the ripple, and the brains behind the concept, Wara Zashi, was kind enough to share a little background behind these ripples with me….

We started the first one back in April as a replacement for the end of month event. The monthly events were just G+ events where people could submit figure photos of their liking, as opposed to the weekly event which was topic based. But even before G+ essentially killed off events, the concept was starting to languish, so I wasn’t too happy with it.

I eventually pulled the plug on events and replaced them with ripples (named after the G+ Ripple feature which I really loved).

I figured if each person is named to continue the thread and also has to name two more, it should create a little bit more motivation to participate (classic chain letter). Our community is pretty small and self contained so if the chain grew large enough, it should get to enough people. And I also wanted to see if people would start to request to participate in some manner. 🙂

We did another one for May and June at the end of each month and at that point, people slowly trickled in enough over time and participated that we thought it would be useful to just have the event start at the beginning of the month and run for the whole month. Which is why July is missing since it became an extension of the June event.

ripple: What better reminder for the middle of summer than a little time out at the water enjoying the outdoors, even with the oppressive heatwave. Complete with a nice little floatie.
“What better reminder for the middle of summer than a little time out at the water enjoying the outdoors, even with the oppressive heatwave. Complete with a nice little floatie.” – Wara Zashi

With August, I was definitely looking to expand and see where this can go outside of the community so I thought it could be fun to drag in Shelly to see where she could take it since I know she would have a completely different group of people than our community.

ripple: Rather than send Butterfly Girl to the beach with her floaty, I sent her dancing in the sprinkler with her beloved teddy bear. In the heat, what better way to cool off than some low key fun at home.
“Rather than send Butterfly Girl to the beach with her floaty, I sent her dancing in the sprinkler with her beloved teddy bear. In the heat, what better way to cool off than some low key fun at home.” – Shelly

So far, I’m pretty happy with how it’s working (hopefully the community members/participants are as well). It’s structured, and unstructured, enough that people can do what they want. Ideally I would love to somehow enforce at least a template but people seem to get the general idea of what needs to be done.

ripple: After frolicking under a sprinkler, what better way to cool off than with an icy pole whilst paddling your feet in the cool waters of a lake?
“After frolicking under a sprinkler, what better way to cool off than with an icy pole whilst paddling your feet in the cool waters of a lake?” – Brett

It’s interesting to see, as the ripple grows, how people change it over time. On the toy photography side, it seems to have especially drifted into a chain where you give reasons for recommending and add to the already existing description to explain the chain. The figure side seems to have stuck to the original template a bit more and wants to connect the new post to the previous one through the photo and description.

ripple: Babies - Kiddie Pool
“Well, when sprinklers and ponds aren’t available, and you happen to be quite small, a kiddie pool will due just nicely to beat the summer heat. Look closely and you’ll see ducky peering over the edge.” – Jennifer

I’ve only given vague hints as to how each post is supposed to connect so it’s been interesting to see it evolve.

ripple: And sometimes (once you've grown up a little) you just use a hot day to chat on a cliff, waiting for the high tide to roll in...
“And sometimes (once you’ve grown up a little) you just use a hot day to chat on a cliff, waiting for the high tide to roll in…” – Tobias

At some point, I’ll add in some new concepts, but we’ll see how it goes over time. 🙂

These wonderful ripples are like a reverse game of pass the parcel; with every step, another layer is added. As these ripples radiate throughout communities, stories twist and turn, styles merge and divide. Sometimes the ripples fade, and sometimes they journey into wonderfully, unforeseen places; just like ripples do.

Just like Dave, I find challenges are wonderful source of motivation and inspiration. Being pulled into this ripple and being invited to help it grow was definitely so.

I’ve only included a few shots from the August ripple; it’s still radiating. But, from just these handfuls of shots, you can see how a single drop can produce wonderful results.

-Brett

Thank you Wara Zashi, for sharing your words and for the fantastic ripples you generate.

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
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My Latest Flame

I’ve taken a few shots this week that I’m really proud of. I was going to sit on them for a few days but I couldn’t wait to share at least one of them. The arrival of the new Last Jedi SDCC Exclusives has really given me a kick to get out and shoot more. These two new figures are characters that will feature heavily in the new film, but they also have uncertain paths to take.

I, like many others, can’t wait for the next Star Wars film. Although I try to stay pretty spoiler-free, getting these new figures has given me the opportunity to  make up some of my own stories and add to the intrigue associated with the future of these two characters. It’s part of what toy photography is all about for me – telling the untold story through images. It can sometimes be challenging, when a character and their history are very well known, to tell a different kind of story; however, going off-cannon and making up different adventures for them can be both fun and exciting. It can also take you back to the way you used to play with these toys as a child. Back then, you might not have even seen some of the films starring some of your toys, but that never stopped you from taking them out on your own adventures in your back garden.

A favourite figure is something that changes so often for me. It’s often a Star Wars or a Lego related one, but usually it’s something that connects me with childhood memories of the toys I used to play with. There’s a rich history associated with releasing Star Wars figures before the next film, sometimes even before we have any idea who the character is (for example, Boba Fett).

For that reason, these two new figures are my current favorites despite a slightly dodgy paint finish here and there, and they’ve helped to remind me why I love toy photography.

Inevitably, a week or a month or so later, the next shiny figure pops up on my wanted list and I’ll convince myself that I absolutely need it for ‘that’ shot. When everyday life gets in the way of creativity, and it feels too difficult to dig out the motivation to get out and shoot, a new figure can really help spark your imagination.

Chris Rose

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