Inspired by Literature

Have you noticed how many challenges are happening in the community right now? Just for fun we have daily hash tags to inspire you. There is also a Batman challenge to win a complete set of the latest CMF mini-figures in partnership with our friends at the LEGO Group. There is also a G+ Monthly contest on literature. February may be a short month, but there is no shortage of challenges to inspire you!

My favorite of all these different major and minor challenges is the literature challenge currently taking place in the our G+ Community. When Julie Blair first proposed this idea I will admit I was skeptical. I’ve been a mod before and I know how hard it is to inspire photographers to participate in challenges. Especially one that makes you think. But if the first week is any indication this is going to be a fabulous challenge! It seems I’m not the only toy photographer who’s work is often inspired by literature.

There is nothing like a good book to inspire toy photography. Or is it the other way around? A good photo can inspire you to read a book.  This image by Julie inspired me to reread The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Freedom by Julie Blair

And this image by Jason Nvermore not only solved the mystery of his unique name, but I found out he loves Edgar Allen Poe more than I do. That’s a lot of love!

Dr. Victor Von Doom shares his favorite Edgar Allan Poe passage from The Cask of Amontillado… by Jason Nvrmore

I’ve also found out that Jules Verne and J R R Tolkein are huge favorites of our community members. I love when a good challenge inspires creative photography – I’m looking at you Cory Anderson and Tomasz Lasek!

~Jules Vern 20,000 leagues under the sea~ by Corey Anderson
Attack of the giant squid. Jules Verne, “20 000 Leagues under the sea”. by Tomasz Lasek


Like my fellow community members, my toy photography takes its inspiration from literature. Although I will confess nothing as high minded as Tolkein. My muse often resides in children’s board books. This image was inspired by The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

“If you become a rock on the mountain high above me,” said his mother, “I will be a mountain climber, and I will climb to where you are.”

I’ve always loved the idea behind P D Eastman’s classic “Are you my mother?” My favorite part of this image is that you can’t tell who is asking the question: the robot or the frog.

“Are you my mother?”

As may have noticed, I like to pair my work up with quotes from literature. I love prowling through Goodreads looking for quotes that might fit a particular image. This not only helps me to bring additional depth to an image it also helps me think about my work in a new way. I always know when I’ve found the right quote; I feel I’m making a connection. It simply feels right.

“Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

It doesn’t matter if you’re inspired by science fiction, fantasy, mysteries or children’s books. Great literature is full of wonderful stories just waiting to be realized using toys. During this months challenge we are not only sharing our photos inspired by literature, we’re sharing a little bit of ourselves. It’s through this sharing that we continue down the road towards friendship.

“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”

― P.G. Wodehouse

I hope you will join our G+ Challenge this month and share images of the literature that inspires you.


Are you inspired by literature? Tell us about the books that inspire your toy photography. Don’t forget to stop by the G+ Community to see what your fellow toy photographers are up to!

If you would like information about our upcoming toy photographers meet-up in may, check this out. Brett and I would love to see you in Oregon and have the pleasure of taking toy photos with you. 


  1. Cory Anderson

    Thank you for the shoutout.
    Great post. I love the challenges they really help you to think in different ways. And seeing other people’s interpretations of thinks through their figures is always amazing.

    • Corey thanks for participating! I love the challenges too. I may not always take part, but Im thinking about them. And I’ve had so much fun seeing what other people come up with. Some books I’m familiar with, others I have to look up. And that series by Sunny is cracking me up. You guys are ALL so amazing!!!

  2. Fun theme and I love all these pics! At the risk of betraying my thick headedness more than usual, how does one enter the G+ challenge in our community? It seems there is no hashtag and I’m just not sure how to join the fun. Thanks Shelly.

    • Doug Im glad you like the theme! This group has taken to it like a duck to water.

      There are no dumb questions when it comes to G+. We all know it can be confusing at first. When you post to the community, instead of posting under “My Toy Photography” chose “Photo Challenge” instead. It will still show up under “All Posts” but when we go to judge we can sort for all the entries. At the end of the contest we move all the entries back into “My Toy Photography” and get ready for a new monthly challenge. If you accidentally post an image in the wrong place. Let a moderator know by tagging, and they can move it for you. I hope this helps! Im looking forward to seeing what you will submit. 🙂

  3. Hi Shelly!
    What a wonderful read and that’s a really good tip and comment re: Goodreads and using quotes as I do find it does give that extra depth and meaning to the image, the bit that allows one’s attention to be held a wee bit longer.

    I’ve only joined the G+ community and this month’s Literature theme sure is fun. Personally, it made me recall childhood memories via the books I used to read which influenced my thoughts on adventure. Then there’s the process of translating that into photos and, finally, sharing it with others. It’s a personal contribution which does draw people closer to one another.

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