I shot my first toy photos 9 years ago.
I was 17, in Ms. Jen’s 11th grade English class, and chose to illustrate scenes of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying from a list of project options.
I really knew nothing about photography, but was slowly discovering that I liked it.
I outlined a few key scenes from the book and set out to photograph them. To my knowledge, I had never knowingly seen a toy photograph, nor did I think of what I was doing in any sort of category. All I knew was that it seemed the best way to represent a burning barn, brothers, horse drawn carriage, fish mother and vultures was through toys and maquettes.
The resulting photos weren’t what I’d now call good, but at the time I was quite happy with what I’d managed to create with minimal supplies and a point and shoot camera.
So now, 9 years later, some 6 or so years since I’ve actually considered myself a toy photographer, I’ve recreated those images with better technical knowledge and artistic vision. Continue reading A Reflection
This is the story of the toy photo that set me on my path. From this photo, I never looked back. This, is my one photo that changed it all.
My first post on Toy Photographers was my Why statement. Why I do what I do – photograph, of all things, toys. And in that I touched on my college WWII project.
The longer it’s been since I made that project, the more I realize how defining it has been to my future photos. Continue reading My One Photo that Changed it All
“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.”
-W. Eugene Smith
As we struggle with Instagram’s constantly changing algorithm many toy photographers are trying to figure out where in this social media world they belong. Of course I’m going to vote for Google + and the Toy Photographer’s Community, but really our images can fit anywhere that any other photo can. Continue reading Where Do Toy Photos Belong?
Quite a few months ago a friend asked if I’d ever shoot Lego. I said ‘probably not’ and went on to explain that something so recognizable in an image makes it all about that item, whether for or against, you can’t have just a message all on its own.
I was being a bit narrow minded. Continue reading Learning Lego
I’m pretty strictly a studio photographer. I like having full control of the entire set and lighting. But there were a few pictures on my ‘to do ‘ list that just seemed to be begging to be shot outdoors.
My sister came into town to visit and needed some beach shots for her blog. That was the final ingredient I needed for an inevitable outdoor shoot. So, armed with her shoes, and my toys, off to the beach we went.
Honestly, it wasn’t the best beach day. A bit too windy and chilly. But we stayed for just over an hour. I photographed seagulls and I photographed toys and I figured all the photos would be crap, because I was out of my comfort zone. Continue reading Image Recovery & Shooting Outside your Comfort Zone
Google image search ‘idea journaling’ and you get beautiful pages full of neat handwriting, perfect sketches, scrapbook paper and washi tape.
I keep an idea journal. Mine is not beautiful.
My journal (or should I say journals, because I constantly start new ones before old ones are full) is messy – scrawled script, scribbled pictures – complete nonsense to the onlooker. However, this process is a way for me to save things that I may not remember later, to brainstorm vague ideas for images and make those ideas fuller, to feel like I’m creating even when I don’t have a camera in my hand. Continue reading Saving Ideas
This is a much more difficult prompt than it should be. My toy muses change as time goes on. However, I think I’ve narrowed my favorite figures down to those that have stayed most permanently in the back of my mind.
This figure is just over 1 cm tall and I actually seemed to have misplaced her. But once she shows up I know she’ll inevitably find her way in front of my camera lens again. I like using this figure as a symbol of innocence and exploration. Continue reading My 5 Favorite Figures by Jennifer Nichole Wells
I’ve been studying various sources to get snippets about why toys are so fascinating to toy photographers and the general public alike. So far I’ve absorbed On Longing by Susan Stewart, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bechelard, the documentary Marwencol, and various videos, articles and artist statements by and about miniaturists and toy photographers. Continue reading 10 Reasons Why Toys are Fascinating
By dictionary definition, success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose (it’s also ‘the attainment of popularity or profit,’ but let’s focus on the first one for now.
I think the path to creative success begins with a pride in your work. Are you creating work that you love, that fills your creative craving? Maybe your work isn’t always your definition of complete perfection, but can you look at your latest image and think ‘this is it, I’m getting it, this is where I need to be?’ If not, why not?
Continue reading On Measuring Success
The history of photographing toys is a long one, and often, we as a community seem to forget this. While each of us may be innovating within our field, we are far from the first or farthest reaching of our kind.
Photography came into being in 1800, with the first known surviving photograph being from about 1826 (View from the Window at Le Gras). Paper, and then celluloid film began being manufactured in the 1880s. In 1900 the Kodak Brownie camera was invented, giving the power of photography to the masses. Continue reading The History of Toy Photography