There is a question that haunts me all the time and that is: Why am I doing this? I have asked myself this over and over again, because I think that I may share my toy-photographs in the wrong context. I suspect that I only share my still life photography because I am flattered to be a “stationary” blogger Stuckinplastic. And when I look at it objectively, I believe that there ought to be a different reason as well? Continue reading Why am I doing this?
Our latest photo challenge is called “sum of the parts”. I had to read it through several times before I realized that I was supposed to create a diptych. At least in my mind that is what the challenge is about, we’re supposed to create two images independently that each tells a story of their own, but when we combine them together, they will tell a third. Continue reading Two stories could they make a third?
You got mail… Continue reading I’m going to be a school assignment
I read an article on The Photographers blog about avoiding chasing trends in photography and the lesson they were trying to teach is, in my view, summed up by a quote by Gregory Heisler, “shoot the photos you can’t help but shoot.” Reading this article made me think that toy-photography is just a trend; a trend in photography that is made possibly by a combination of digital cameras and the Internet.
Was there toy-photography before the internet? Is there a genre called toy-photography?
As I see it, toy-photography is no genre in it self it’s part of a genre in art called still life, because what we do is create pictures with little bits of plastic. We create still life’s the same way as painters and photographers always have, but instead of flowers, fruits, bowls and so on, we use children’s toys. You may object that your toys are alive and that you see them as living people. I get that and truly understand your feelings because I also love my toys and I see them as my friends… but for most people they are merely inanimate plastic pieces. Toys are made for children to play with. So from my point of view the genre “toy-photography” doesn’t exist, what we are actually practicing is still life photography, with toys as our main object (motive). While we may think what we are doing is fresh and novel, it actually has been around for a while. I have seen beautiful still life’s made with toys created in the sixties by other photographers like Christer Strömsholm, so making still life´s with toys isn’t something that came with the internet. What we have that photographers before us haven’t had, is a easy way to meet like minded individuals through the internet and social media. Back to the question that started all of this: Is there a trend among photography to make still life’s with toys?
I don’t know, but in some ways I think so, especially when I read Mike’s statement about this being a “starter” genre, “give a child a
camera and there’s a high likelihood that they’ll take some bad photos of toys “. Through toys, children and adults, become photographers. With the Internet and social media, we see others doing the same thing, taking pictures of toys. That in it self may be enough to talk about “toy-photography” as a trend, easy to join and follow.
But if my assumption that what we do (when we as photographers takes pictures of toys) is part of a “trend” is correct, that doesn’t mean that your pictures of toys are only a part of this trend. You can, just as I do, follow Heisler’s advice and only shoot the photos you can’t help but shoot.
What do you think? Is photography of toys as motives just a trend in photography? And if so what happens when it ends?
This time of the year it’s almost impossible not to think about the fact that the year is coming to an end with Christmas right around the corner and the New Year quickly following. This time of the year inspires me think about new possibilities, maybe even more this year because I have, like all of us in the collective, been selecting my crop of twelve good photographs for 2015. My selection ended up with only ten best pictures for 2015. Once I had finished my book I started to long for a new one, a new beginning, with new possibilities. Maybe I should start a new project when the new year begins?
I have done yearly projects before, so I’m not in the mood for another 365- project (taking one picture a day for a year); that isn’t me right now. But I would like to make a well-defined project and I want that project to be a challenge!
My first thought is I should start where I am. I have looked through my work and tried to define what I have been doing during 2015. My goal has been to see if there is an embryo of a project in my previous work that I can evolve to a yearly-project for 2016. There seems to be something their, but I can’t decide on which idea I should go for. Should I do more of the abstract toy-photography that I like so much but that no one else seems to understand that I create on purpose? Or should I go for the family project that I have been working with since November? Or should I think of something totally new? I can’t decide! Maybe I ought to create a series of pictures with Shelly’s robot, that I love and adore? Maybe it could create a response to the work she’s already has done and most of us are familiar with? As I have already stated, I can’t decide which direction should I go in.
I want to explore new grounds, learn new things because just as Reiterlied said in a comment ” One of my biggest fear is to stop learning.” Right now I don’t know which direction I should choose and why. I’m caught in indecision; I don’t know which project I should pursue.
Are you thinking about any new photo projects for 2016? If so, what are those projects about?
In Shelly’s post “The problems with Chima” she pointed out that there is a benefit, for us as still life photographers, to work with toys that have a well-known back-story. We can use them as symbols and let the back-story work for us in the picture. I try to do that in most of my pictures, because for me the roles that these figures play in my photographs are to be symbols. There is also a problem with toys with a well know back-story, in my case the problem is Star Wars. Continue reading The problem with Star Wars
I have read Shelly’s excellent post “Violence in Toy Photography” several times and thought it through, and I agree. I don’t want to see more violence, toys splattering in blood, or decapitating of heads. I stand in Shelly’s corner when she says that
We have the power to change our world, lets start acting like it. Let’s start posting photos that reflect the world we want, not the one we have.
Yes, we have the power to change the world, but … Continue reading Our world in my photographs
I always think it’s easier to make pictures if I have an idea. If I have an idea for a picture, I usually try to make a mockup of the picture before I go out and then try to make the actual photograph. I enjoy visualizing the idea, trying angles and the setup before I stand outside with my toys and camera. But I don’t always have an idea. I wish I did, but sometime I go out to photograph without an idea… this means that one part of me is going out to search for ideas to “visualize” in my still life pictures. On a good day, I seems to find ideas everywhere: on commercial billboards, in ordinary life, at work, in literature, mythology and in other artists work. Continue reading In search of an idea for a Still Life
Since I read Chris McVeigh´s post “Photography is a road trip”, I have been thinking about the difference between creating pictures with toys compared with creating photographs with people. I do both; I’m a still life photographer with toys as my main motive, as well as a portrait–photographer. Doing both has made me realize that I use a lot of my still life experiences in my work with living models. Like working with my body to visualize the idea, and using my hands to arrange my models (toys and people). But there are some differences in working with a plastic model compared to working with a living model. I do mean the most obvious – that people live and breath and that my toys are plastic and relativly static. Continue reading The details makes the picture