In the beginning I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I had been working on a dinosaur-themed comic book and purchased a few toy dinosaurs to help with anatomical designs. The Allosaurus was first, but soon followed by a Triceratops and a Velociraptor. All made by the French brand, Papo.
They had almost no articulation, but the detail of the sculpt and paintwork were unparalleled. That’s what really caught my attention, the realism of the figures.
One sunny afternoon, I took them out to my backyard, set them on the dry grass and took a few photos with my cell phone just to see what they looked like through that lens. To my surprise and delight, they looked great. Or more specifically, they looked real. I quickly became obsessed with this notion of creating artificial realism and started chasing after it with profound enthusiasm.
Early on, I was just learning by doing. Every afternoon, I’d head to the backyard and try a few things. I turned my phone upside-down so the camera was less than an inch from the ground, to try and make the dinosaurs look as large as possible. Sometimes, I would place the figures in elevated places like tree stumps or branches to access them from lower perspectives. Other times, it seemed to fit to shoot them from higher angles. I experimented with angles, compositions and backgrounds always trying to imagine myself as a person looking at a real animal and capturing an image from that place, both photographically and emotionally.
A few weeks later, I got on Instagram, started posting my dinosaur photos and began searching for other toy photographers. Ultimately, I found hundreds, meet several and became good friends with a few. There are many stories to tell and lessons I have learned along the way, but looking back on the origins of this creative passion, it all started in my backyard and the accidental discovery of manufactured realism.
That was, and thousands of photos later, continues to be the driving force behind my work.
Jon aka @dinoczars is a long time friend of Stuck In Plastic and a resident guest blogger here on #FeatureFriday. Jon is known for shooting a completely different type of plastic. The one that says rawr and is a good 65 million year old! This post is part of our my first photo series.