Noir? Bingo!

You may have already heard about our MeWe 2023 Photo Bingo Challenge [if not, you can catch up here]. It’s a creative, imaginative and fun contest, with a great prize – a Lensbaby lens and Lensbaby gift card!

The challenge is to create 22 images based on specific prompts. One of these prompts, as you may have guessed, is noir. If you want to know more about the noir style, Todd Rosenberg’s recent post will be helpful.

Another prompt is based on a song. And here comes me, with my old idea, combining these two prompts.


There’s a song called Humming by Portishead. It opens with a vibrating sound that reminds me of old sci-fi movies full of quivering flying saucers, electric coils, Gernsback-style spaceships, and pseudo-scientific jargon. However, Humming introduces something from the outside of the s-f genre: a noir mood.

Some time ago, while I was listening to this song and my mind was apparently wandering somewhere on the Gernsback Continuum, the following three visions occurred to me. Then it turned into my post on a [now inactive] music blog. After a few years, I came up with the idea that I could combine these ideas with my other hobby, which in the meantime came to the fore: toy photography. And the Bingo Challenge was a great opportunity and igniter to take these photos. Here they are, along with stories, inspired by Humming.

Noir robots

So imagine a noir Forbidden Planet: Robby the robot is doomed to fail. On the one hand, it wants to help and kill the monster, but the Three Laws of Robotics restrict it, as the monster seems to be part of Dr. Morbius, Robby’s master. On the other hand, the robot struggles with the commands of Dr. Morbius, who orders Robby to kill him, which is also contrary to robotics laws.

Every Robby’s choice is wrong and eventually, everything ends in failure. The robot’s coils burn out. Machines in the background are humming on idle.

Noir monsters

Imagine The Fly and The Creature from the Black Lagoon in the style of poetic realism [which was an inspiration for film noir]. The lack of prospects and intolerance push the Fly and the Monster from the Black Lagoon to the margins of society. These two barely make ends meet and slowly turn into barflies. In desperation, they plan a heist on a storage room with scientific equipment.

What they don’t know is that the warehouse was emptied the day before…

The air conditioning of the bar is humming softly in the heavy silence.

Noir aliens

Imagine E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as film noir. The main character is a cosmic bagman who transports valuable but very fragile goods. Or he was forced by gangsters to smuggle some very illegal goods. His ship breaks down, valuable cargo must be stored in specific conditions.
Time is running out…

A clumsy alien arouses the merriment of Earthlings, while the drama of his family, taken hostage, takes place light years from Earth.
The cargo’s cooling system is humming softly, imperceptibly ticking off precious seconds.

If you would like to participate in the challenge or search for more inspiration, please join us on MeWe.

We invite you also to sign up to our weekly Toy Photographers email roundup where you’ll get a recap of all the week’s babbling!