To travel with toys

I travel a lot for work. And during this summer my family and I were on a three week journey in California. So with that experience I thought that I too, like Jennifer, Reiterlied, James and many more before them… ought to give you my thoughts about traveling with toys. Or being a toy photographer while traveling.

I work in small circles

But before I start, you have to understand that I photograph toys in a really limited area. I have a tendency to limit my photography a lot because that is me, I like to play safe 😉

In my latest project I have limited myself in terms of the subject, the choice of photo spaces and when I photograph to get the light I prefer. One way to look at this is that I have tight boundaries for ‘where’ and ‘how’ I photograph. These boundaries are challenged when I’m traveling or when I find myself in a new place. A journey makes it impossible for me to know where I can photograph or how the light will be. This is a huge challenge. To be totally honest, I usually don’t photograph toys when I travel.

Traveling means that I have to find places to work in. I have to find out when, where and how to make my images. I have to find the answers to questions like: when and where is the best time to get the light the way I like? Or how windy will it be? Or will I find a place in the rain where I can work or not? If I don’t find the answers Im looking for, what is my plan B? And all of this in a place that is new to me…  This makes the process of creating an image a much bigger and much more difficult process than normal.

A good day…

A good day traveling with toys can be a positive challenge. It is a day which makes me see and find new solutions. Traveling while in the midst of a 365-project gives me an opportunity to look at light in a new way, to look at my subject in a new context. But a less good day traveling with toys is just a struggle, a must – a picture should be taken or rather done (because of the 365 project).

No, I’m not spontaneously saying: “Yippie” to the idea of traveling with toys … I prefer to photograph where I can plan my process… in an environment that I know or am familiar with and where I can read the light. Working in a new setting is too much of a surprise. I prefer to work in the same place over and over again to get to know the light, how it changes during the day and how I can work with it. I need time, and traveling with toys doesn’t always gives me the opportunity to do that.

But sometimes I get lucky. Like when we stayed in a home in Fresno, CA for an extended stretch of time. I was able to examine the light and the photographic possibilities in the backyard. I was able to do make the most of the light and the limitations that came with the subject and the surroundings. And luckily I got some amazing images like those below. But most of the time when I’m traveling with toys I have to work in light that is too hard or a setting I can’t control. This forces me to create images that are just ”ok” or replicas of better ones I have done before…