“Like a pair of binoculars with no right or wrong end, the camera makes exotic things near, intimate; and familiar things small, abstract, strange, much farther away.”

-On Photography by Susan Sontag

Toy photography spans genres. This, I’ve already said. Petite products, abridged architecture, pint-sized portraits, small surrealism…but what about those of us who create on the go?

Avid travelers, occasional tourists, whoever you are, if you’re a toy photographer, when you leave town you probably bring a toy figure or two (or ten).

Historic Artistic Travel

From the very early days of photography, travel photography has been a part of the medium. From the time photography came to be, those who had the capability to travel were, and they were creating momentos of their travels – from Francis Bedford’s pyramids, George Wilson’s Temple of Jupiter, Francis Frith’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to the works of Maxime Du Camp, Solomon Nunes Carvalho, James Ricalton all created in the 1840s & 50s. And the history of artistic travel doesn’t stop there painters make images of their world travels as well.

Perhaps the most iconic toy photography example would be Brian McCarty’s War Toys, a project he began in 2011. In this, he travels to war zones and creates images while there using locally sourced toys to illustrate stories shared with him by local children. I’m simplifying his work overly so, so please learn more here.

Why We Do It

All in all, humans like saving their memories, they like souvenirs, not to mention, we’d have very limited world views if there were no images of other places and cultures.

As toy photographers, the items we photograph are often an extension of ourselves and how we feel about the world. Because of this they become perfect representations of our feelings toward the places we visit.

We can savor our memories, while creating new narratives around them. Explore a new place an inch from ground level.  Tell tales and weave experiences that no other person who has visited that place can.

We give toys memory and a sense of adventure by allowing them to travel the world. 

~Tourmaline .

Do you ever take travel photos of your toys? Tell us about it and leave a link to a photo in a comment below.

Also, if you enjoy this post idea let me know what photo genres you’d most like to see next.

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