I fell in love with my plastic Stormtrooper the first time I saw him. I fell for his shoes first. Then I saw the rest and I was totally lost. I love the helmet and the expression. After my project with Stormtroopers, I’ve been falling in love with my subjects in periods. It happens both when I photograph toys as well as when I photograph people. Out of love, I want to come back to these subjects that I’ve fallen for, again and again, I can not get enough …
I’m in love with a new toy
For the moment, I feel that feeling when I look at a toy I borrowed from Earth People. It’s a wrestler. It’s as plastic as plastic toys can be, and he is anything but flexible or beautiful. The pictures I take of this wrestler feel like documentation. I don’t want to or can’t capture the feelings I have toward this figure. My images don’t seem to lift. I wish they would, because then I wouldn’t have to struggle. I’m so in love with what I see, but I’m not impressed with the result, because I can’t capture all that I see or feel.
When I look at this toy I see so much that I seem to fall for. To some extent, this toy is a symbol of attributes that I admire; he’s strong, independent, but at the same time very ridiculous. In my imagination he isn’t aware of that or maybe he is but he doesn’t care. He has a mask and a cape – both are pink. In my eyes is he an anti-hero, a bit ugly, stubborn and truly ridiculous in his apperence. But at the same time his is also strong and independent. The toy is priceless and wonderful … I’m completely lost and totally in love.
I don’t know how I should portray my new love
I only have one small problem. Even though I can’t get enough of this subject, I do not know how I should use my feelings to tell his story (or if it’s my story that I want to tell through him. I’m not sure). I haven’t found an expression to convey the feelings that this wrestler arouses. My emotions are contradictory – he’s strong and dangling, a hero wearing a pink mask – and yet nothing like a classic hero with his pink tights and his pink cape. So while I’m looking for an expression, I continue to document my “new” love with my camera.
P.S. Taking out my Trooper to photograph for this post made me feel the same feelings I always do when I look at that toy through my camera 🙂
doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention
material to be worked upon or to be used in making something
Whilst fleshing out the next BricksCulture article about Star Wars, we touched on the subject of the Stormtroopers and their adoption by the LEGO photography community. These endearing characters have become a favourite amongst us as subject matters. Despite their faces being hidden behind their buckets, a raft of emotions can be portrayed with these much-loved characters. Continue reading The ambiguity of stuff
I make pictures to explore the world and in some ways my photographs make me see the world through different eyes. But as I have confessed earlier I can’t make fiction, I can only retell stories I know or have heard of, and that is why the myths are so important in my photography. Artists have always looked to the myth to find inspiration, and I’m no different. I think the reason is simple; we as humans love stories. In classic literature the myths represent some really great stories; I explore the stories that I love in my still life photography.
I was once asked “What is so special about Stormtroopers? Why are you using them so often?..” I had literally more than a hundred answers for that one question, all related to their signature presence in Star Wars series. But those were all emotional explanations.
So imagine my elation when one of my favorite toy photographers, Matt Rhode (otherwise known as x_capatain_kaos_x) was one of the first to commit! Matt is one of the more interesting and best known characters active in the Instagram toy community.
I’ve been following the good Captain for much of my nearly three years on Instagram. I’ve watched both his photography and storytelling skills grow. His mastery of the “flying shot” is nothing less than stunning. I think there are very few people who can make an inert bit of plastic look as alive as this guy can.
His Stormtroppers are not the hapless stooges of Vader, but fun loving daredevils that live life to the fullest. Whether they are cliff diving or Para-Leafing they make the most of what they have (and I never doubt for a minute that they are actually doing all these things). His flying shots are a constant source of inspiration to me.
Successful Drop by Matt Rohde
Even though Matt has a wonderful cast of recurring characters, Stan the Stormtrooper, Frank from Donnie Darko and Gojira to name a few, my favorite is the Skeleton from Jason and the Argonauts. His quest to find Winter and slay him is priceless on every level: the staging, the story line, his never ending alcohol stupor all combine for pure poetry. I look forward to more crazy antics from this lovable character.
Why Me? by Matt Rohde
Of course it’s not all fun and games in Matt’s world, especially when the going gets rough. I can’t help but think his military background leads an authenticity to his battle scenes that few other photographers can match. I will admit his story lines can get too violent for my tastes (and the exuberance for the violence exhibited in the comments by his admirers I find a little disturbing), but I realize that this only reflects the world we live in. As I find myself retreating into my own form of magical realism it is good to know that there are other photographers willing to keep it far more real.
It will be interesting to see how we all get along when we meet up in Las Vegas. It is risky to take the anonymity out of our friendships, but I am sure that our mutual respect will carry us through.
If you’re interested in seeing how this all plays out in person, feel free to join us in Las Vegas in January, we can always find room for one more. In the mean time head over the @x_captain _kaos_x on Instagram and check out his toy photography and all those beautiful stories in detail.
Have you ever meet someone you have followed on Instagram and how did it go? Who do you follow on Instagram that you would love to meet in person?