When I was invited by Shelly to write this ‘why?’ piece, I felt privileged but I also felt a sense of trepidation. I was reminded of being an 18 year old art student and when I was asked to explain the meaning behind a piece of work by a tutor. I managed to chat away about religious symbolism and that seemed to go down quite well. However, I also thought that meaning could be very personal to an individual. It can be interpreted differently by the artist or viewer, but each idea is equally valid.

At college, we used to sign out cameras and head out around town with our rolls of film, then back to the dark room to find out what we’d captured. Back then, you had to be more cautious about the photos you took as film was very expensive and, I guess, the pursuit seemed to favour those who could afford it. After that foundation course I never did go on to finish my degree and life got in the way (as it always seems to do) until only about seven years ago when I got back into photography after I bought my first DSLR. It was a complete world away from that seemingly exclusive pastime and was now open to everyone. Perhaps this is why I like to post a lot of ‘works-in-progress’ on Instagram, a bit like a sketchbook where everything is out there, warts and all!

My connection (translation: obsession) with toys has been a constant throughout my life. I’ve collected Star Wars toys on and off since I was six years old and I always loved imagining the ‘backstories’ of the characters, wondering what happened once the main story had ended, or just making up my own tales for them. When I stumbled across the world of toy photography online and saw some of the amazing images out there, I knew I’d love to try and have a go at recreating some of them and bringing my imagination to life.

Walking and spending time outdoors around nature is also big part of my life so Toy Photography felt like such a natural way of connecting these two hobbies. When I’m out and about, I sometimes feel as though I’m in a ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ strip but with the bonus of having a camera with me. I hope I can bring forth a new dimension to some of these characters that I’ve known and loved for so long.

I still feel quite new to this and I believe that I’m still looking for my own, personal style. I never fail to be amazed by the quality of images from great photographers out there and they always inspire me to keep trying out new ideas. I’ve displayed some of my work at a local gallery and I’ve sold some prints at conventions where I’ve had such warm and positive feedback. Watching people’s surprised and delighted reactions, seeing the expressions on their faces, and hearing about their own connections with these toys can be so fulfilling and rewarding.

Ultimately, I think that my reason for doing this is for the connection I can make with other people. Creating images is often a very private and personal process for me, yet the photos can evoke an emotional resonance in others that connects us.

~ Chris