Over the past month I have had the privilege to receive a couple significant awards for my photography. Despite being pretty cool from a personal perspective, I think they have significance for toy photographers being seen as a legitimate art form.

But first, let me go over the awards.

Guru Awards

The Guru awards are presented at the Photoshop World conference. They are described as:

“The Guru Awards were created to honor and recognize the design, photography, retouching, and creativity of our attendees. Since their humble beginnings in 1999, the Guru Awards have now become the most prestigious and coveted awards in the international digital imaging industry.” – photoshopworld.com

I had two images nominated for this years competition in Orlando’s Photoshop World. The first, in the Photoshop Artistry category, was this one:

Deadpool Martini

The second image, which is not toy based, was the winning image in the compositing category.

Tree Of Life

Scavenger Hunt Overall Winner

The second award was being declared the overall winner for the 25th round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt. The Hunt has been hugely influential in my journey as an artist. I made my first toy photography for the 8th round of the hunt. For the last 10 rounds or so I have mostly submitted toy photos for the hunt.

The competition is stiff, and includes many pro photographers, and even a few previous Guru award winners. It means a whole heck of a lot to be named the winner of the Hunt.

Legitimizing Toy Photography

I don’t know about you, but I consider my work an art form. However I have always harboured suspicions that the public at large doesn’t share that opinion. I suspected it was hard for folks to see past the toys.

I will admit that I have low self esteem, and a healthy case of imposter syndrome. So I may be more pessimistic than some. This may colour my impressions of things, but I always assumed folks didn’t take toy photography that seriously. Compliments came my way, but they often came from fellow toy photogs, or people who knew me. Basically people who had a vested interest in my personal feelings. I always silently added … for a photo of a toy” to the compliment. Ya know what I mean?

However these awards, especially the Guru awards, came from people who are neither toy photographers, nor people who know me. The judges saw my work in the same way they saw everyone else’s work, but still liked it enough to give me nominations and awards.

To me that is irrefutable proof that toy photography can be an art form. Proof I can’t ignore or excuse away with my own self doubt. Having a trophy on my mantel is a wonderful thing. However having confirmation that toy photography is a legit art form is the best reward I could ask for.

Tho, let’s face it, the trophy is cool too.

Guru Awards come in a cool crystal trophy.


Want more toy photography goodness? Subscribe to our weekly email round up so that you never miss a post.  You can also listen to episodes of the podcast