Why? by xJohns

I’m Johnson aka xJohns, my moniker on the Internet. I love photography. When I first bought my DSLR camera in 2008, it was just to capture all the wonderful memories of my first-born daughter. Later, as my interest grew, I was eager to learn more about outdoor photography such as Nature, Architecture, Landscape, etc. But somehow, due to my commitment at work and family life, the chances to shoot outdoors became impossible.

Actually, I’m a grown-up guy with a kiddo heart. I love collecting toys to display in my entertainment room. Eventually my wife started nagging that my room has becoming a toy room rather than what it is supposed to be. Feeling discouraged by her words, my toy collecting slowed down. Both my favorite hobbies felt like they were coming to an end.

On an occasion when I was uploading my family photos to my Flickr account, I happened to see toy photographer Avanaut’s works. I was so impressed by all the shots that he had posted. I started to search for other toy photographers’ works. Their photos sparked my passion for both of my hobbies again.

“Why not try to do my own shoot too?” I thought. It was a good excuse for me to get more toys for my photography hobby. I started on something small, inexpensive and unbreakable so that I won’t feel the heartache if I made aggressive poses on the toy figure and it breaks. Lego Stormtrooper minifigures are my best shooting companions of all time. In the beginning, I was just mainly focusing on shooting Star Wars themes. My setup was just a simple black background on a white base with a few posed Lego Stormtroopers.

In 2015, I invested on more Lego sets. I accumulated hundreds of Stormtroopers, as well as other minifigures from Lego City, Superheroes, etc. This gave me a variety of accessories to build upon more ideas in my shoots. I started visiting craft shops, made my very own Star Wars backdrop or some other dioramas that could enhance my shots. I even tried mixing different toys with Lego minifigures to make the shots more interesting. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas while resting or traveling, observing everyday life that can be translated into my photo shoots.

I was invited to join Wonderfactory as one of their toy photographers to have our works exhibited and sold in a Shanghai exhibition (‘Awaken the Creativity. Through Our Lens’). I also had my works exhibited on Star Wars Day 2017 and STGCC 2015 ( a local convention on pop culture) in Singapore.

Toy photography not only fuels my passion for my hobbies, it also makes me think more creatively. It’s always very challenging when starting on a new shoot. An idea can take me months to work out. A shooting session can take me hours to setup. I feel a sense of accomplishment when it turns out great – something close to what I had projected in your mind.

Lastly, I want to say a great thank you to Sunny aka zekezachzoom and Shelly Corbett, for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and my work on this blog. If you like my work, please follow me on Instagram.

Toy photography is not just about placing a toy and shooting it. It is more than that. Every picture can tell a story. A Toy Story.

Johnson Foon

Out-Create

“You have to out-create the destruction – it’s the only way.”

-Tori Amos https://gu.com/p/76a33/stw

It was a fluke, really, this whole photographing LEGO Minifigures thing. You see, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I started putting a LEGO stormtrooper in my pocket before leaving the house every day. I named him Larry.

The funny thing about Larry is that he’s a stormtrooper, right? He’s a soldier so he doesn’t show emotion and he’s part of the Empire, the bad guys. Except I gave Larry a backstory. He’s no longer in the employ of the Imperials. Sometimes the perceived bad guys are just in a bad situation, but they can break out of it. They can question authority and think for themselves. Once Larry understood the ideals of the Empire, he chose not to be a part of that. He chose to get out. So he defected and now he has this heavy heart, holding a piece of himself close: that beam of a stray light, that filament of a spark that no one can douse.

“Your mind has been divided from your soul/Now you say you are that stranger on your shore” – Reindeer King, Tori Amos

Once he started traveling with me, I’d take him out and sit him on my desk at work. He became my work guardian. He got into all sorts of trouble, like using various computer wires as a swinging gym of sorts, while I was delving deep into data architecture. He wasn’t the best worker and I would often catch him with his blaster lying by his side and a coffee cup in his hand instead. He would even venture to take off his helmet on occasion, while I was toiling away staring at the computer screen writing code. Truth be told, he had a bit of a bad attitude. I mean it was a workplace, I can’t blame him, and coding requirements can be so fickle. But, he was finally coming out of his shell, his armor, his displacement in the world.

This isn’t my order. I asked for a triple cap, nonfat, one-pump, no-whip, mocha…with a shot of vanilla.

So I decided to take him out more often, to better places. Like the streets of Santa Monica and the private gardens of my neighbors’ houses. No one was bothered…much. Well, except that one woman who came out of her house to make sure I wasn’t stealing something. Or that coffee shop guy who wondered why I was putting a LEGO Minifigure in a succulent plant and taking a photo of it. Okay, so we got some weird looks, Larry and I.

Weekend Getaway

But it was fun. I would have these little conversations with my stormtrooper and translate them into photos. He’s a deep thinker, Larry. Maybe you didn’t know that about him. He’s concerned with climate change, immigration, healthcare, gun control, women’s rights, and well, ice cream. But beneath his tough armor and stoic behavior, the little guy is also a bit of a jokester (I refer you to the computer wires above).

Ooops

Okay, so Larry might be me (Sans Imperials-I’ve always been a rebel; just ask my parents!): an extension of myself I can add into the world at various heights and locales, and unburden my worries, wants, and waning heart. I photograph Minifigures because I need to make sense of the current state of the world while also keeping myself sane. Having a defected stormtrooper by your side helps ground you. He lets me know I can make a transformation, I can combat hate in this all too encompassing atmosphere of a rising imperial regime. Art makes a difference.

Besides, what else am I going to do with all of these LEGO Minifigures?

Dancing Larry

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?

Continue reading Why? by Yuri Badiner

 “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.
Continue reading  “Toys? Seriously?”

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