EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JAX NAVARRO
Spencer Witt Shot on location at the Capitol Reef National Park in Utah
THINGS ARE GETTING SERIOUS... We’ve arrived at Issue 3 of our showcasing magazine and this time we present exclusive content from community based photographers. We are also excited to share some industry insight from companies who have had the good sense to utilise photography to their advantage, in an increasingly crowded market where consumer interaction is separating the best companies from the rest. We’ve had an incredibly busy period since we launched our second issue back in December as we continue to grow and develop our content pool with an increase in features hitting exclucollective.com on a daily basis. We have launched the Exclu Network allowing our content team to expand to include 3 incredible community photographers Jason Yang - Shahzad Bhiwandiwala and Spencer Witt with whom we can collaborate with on a regular basis to provide a steady stream of amazing content from behind the scenes walkthroughs to product preview shoots. We really hope that as a reader you enjoy the content put forward here by our collaborators and that you learn some new tips and tricks to aid your own creative discipline. Be sure to go one step further and take the time to connect with our collaborating photographers on their portfolio pages within the Instagram community to stay up-to-date on all their latest shoots and projects and to show your support. Regards, Jack Sturman The Editor Exclu Design Collective @EXCLUCOLLECTIVE - WWW.EXCLUCOLLECTIVE.COM
A R T I S T F E AT U R E S 6. JEFF LEBARRON @DARKSIDESINCE77 18. MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK @MISIEKMISTRZ 24. YUDHA ALWIN @TOYSNOOP 34. JENNIFER NICHOLE WELLS @JENNIFERNICHOLEWELLS
6. COVER FEATURE
30. YUDHA ALWIN @TOYSNOOP 52. FELIPE MONARDES MENA @REBELPELICANO
58. RYAN FOGG @SERIES209 78. DONOVAN GUERTIN @WARVIEWS 84. ROHAZMI BIN ROHANI @AZ_7R 90. MAX SABIN @FOVMODELS 96. NICKSON TIRTANDI @_MR_RAINBOW 4
78. Director / Creative Lead Jack Sturman email@example.com
Co-Editor / Marketing Lewis Woollard firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect With Us
@exclucollective Facebook/excludesigncollective www.exclucollective.com The material seen here-in may not be replicated or reproduced without the express permission of Exclu Media Ltd. Any instances of the above will be treated seriously
38. SPECIAL FEATURES 26. JACOB PEYTON @ALASKANSTORMTROOPER
68. JAX NAVARRO @PLASTICACTION
38. THE INDUSTRY JOINING THE DOTS
74. WORD OF THE MONTH WINNERS & RUNNERS-UP
46. AZWAN KABAR @TOYFLOXIN
100. MARK 45 IRON MAN EGGATTACK REVIEW
62. ADAM MCGRATH @THE_CHIP_MONSTERS
104. ARTIST UPDATES JUST CHECKING IN
F E AT U R E JEFF LEBARRON @DARKSIDESINCE77
THE CLINICAL FINISHER Weâ€™re proud to present an exlusive shoot from our cover artist Jeff LeBarron as we sit down to better understand the man behind the lens who has created some of the most engaging and striking imagery that we see on our feeds on a weekly basis. Jeff talks about his experiences as a high profile photographer within the community culminating in his involvement with the recent Hasbro Toy Pic project at the New York Toy Fair. A natural collaborator and hard team worker , we have been able to closely work together to ensure that the cover feature is of the highest quality for our dedicated community of readers so a huge thank you is due to Jeff for putting in the hours and late nights to perfect his craft and to inspire the next generation of photographers by showing them whatâ€™s possible with time , effort and practice.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JEFF LEBARRON
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, how are you? Yo!!! Sorry…LOL. Hey, I am doing pretty good, thank you for asking. I’m actually pretty excited. I appreciate you guys giving me this amazing opportunity to do this interview and bring you exclusive photos of my creations.
Starting from the darkroom, to setting up the diorama that I built, light placement, figure placement, creating the atmosphere, all so in the end the picture seems alive. That, I guess, is my style and my go to choice. Even though I love going outside and roughin’ it with my figures, I still prefer and am fascinated by creating my own darkroom shots.
We’re huge fans of yours here at Exclu! So Being a toy enthusiast yourself, how long please do tell us, what do you love most have you been collecting and just how about toy photography? many figures have you got? The Toys!! Actually let me elaborate, I love the toys first and foremost but also enjoy the concept of photography as a whole. As a kid, I always played with my toys recreating different scenes from Star Wars. It wasn’t long after that my parents gave me my first 35mm camera. I then started taking pictures of those action scenes I had created. My Father would also participate in my creations! He would get down and dirty with me and my toys and helped expand my thoughts and ideas with make shift explosions, simply by using an air compressor to blow dirt debris and give that explosive effect. We also used firecrackers…that was really cool and blew up a few figures in the process… What I love the most about all of it is it brings back all these memories as a kid playing with my Mom and Dad. Now my daughter, Savannah age 7 has picked up a camera and is snapping photos of toys.
I have had toys since I was a kid, but didn’t take care of them as a “collector” would. I played with my toys, broke them, blew them up, got them filthy dirty and basically got my monies worth from my toys. It wasn’t until I was about 18 years old that I started actually purchasing toys “as a collector.” Keeping them in the original packages and keeping them on the shelf to enjoy from afar. However, if there were a toy I really liked I would buy doubles just to be able to open one of them up. Over the years I collected many, many toys. In the mid-90’s to about 2003, I was heavy into collecting McFarlane Toys. I bought EVERYTHING they made during that time from Spawn to Movie Maniacs to Alien and Predator, I mean everything...I am sure if you name it I probably had it!! And not just their regular size figures but all the way to their 18 inchers. Soon after 2003 my life took a turn for the worst. I went through a divorce and was left with nothing but my toys and ended up selling From intimate, emotion filled stills, to my collection to stay financially afloat and get high-intensity action shots, your portfolio back on my feet. After that, the heartbreak of is filled with an array of photography, having to part with all my figures led me to quit but what is your style choice that you will purchasing them and I left the toy world behind. always go back to? It wasn’t until a little over 10 years later that the toy world would open up for me again. In 2012 That is a difficult question to answer. I like to I met my fiancée and lucky for me she liked toys have a lot of diversity in my photography. Much too. In 2014, she bought me my first figure and of my photographs are emotion based and resurrected my love for toys once again. That what I mean by that is how I am feeling at that figure was the 6-inch Darth Maul from the Star moment play a huge part in the type of picture Wars The Black Series line. I know I am I take. To get back to your question though, the rambling, but I want people to know me and style I would always go back to, which I still do know my story. Now how many figures do quite often, is to create something from nothing. I have? Do you really want me to count or can The idea of taking a blank canvas and creating a I answer by saying A LOT!! ok, ok roughly 500+! beautiful picture is awesome.
“NOW HOW MANY FIGURES DO I HAVE? DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO COUNT OR CAN I ANSWER BY SAYING A LOT!” 9
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JEFF LEBARRON
“I Failed him in life...”
We’ve also noticed you are a huge Star Wars fanatic too, so what would be the dream figure that you want to have in your collection one day? That’s a good question as there are so many, but if I must narrow it down to just one, it would have to be the Life Size R2-D2 by Sideshow Collectibles. Since, after all, R2-D2 is what made me fall in love with Star Wars as a kid. Moving back to the photography community now and a question we always like to ask, what do you think the future holds for the toy photography industry? Well let me first express where it has been before expressing the future of it. Back in the mid-90’s I would hang out on the Spawn.com message board, which was the first online community for toy collectors, photographers,
artists, etc. I shared all my collection and photographs with my online pals. It was great! Even though there were a lot of people on the forums, it was still a somewhat small group of people involved in the toy photography aspect of it compared to today. I joined Instagram in September 2015 and created my page to start sharing my toy collection. At first I never gave any thoughts to the toy photography side of it when I created my page, so it wasn’t until I started getting followers and myself following others that I saw the bigger picture of the toy community, which in my opinion was still small. Many of these guys had been doing this for about a year or two before I even came on the Instagram scene. With that I was able to see the growth in the toy collecting and photography aspect and decided to take it up again. One of the main accounts that instantly brought back my childhood memories and lit the
torch for me was @thekennerboy. His toy collection and photographs, is what motivated me to pick up a camera again. As for what the future holds for the toy photography industry, I think the sky is the limit. Instagram and all the social media has helped catapult this industry into another dimension.It has brought collectors, photographers, artists, sellers and buyers all together as one big family. Even toy companies are collaborating with toy photographers. Hasbro opened that door even further when they announced in 2016 a photo challenge called #hasbrotoypic which called on Star Wars fans from the toy community to take pictures and tag Star Wars The Force Awakens figures to be chosen and displayed at Hasbro’s booth at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con. So with that being said, the future of the toy photography industry is expanding and endless.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JEFF LEBARRON
Here we are having a usual afternoon when all of a sudden we see the incredible Hasbro press release out of New York and spot a very familiar name! How did that all come about ? Yeah!!! Hasbro contacted me back in December asking me if I would be interested in participating in a very exclusive #HasbroToyPic project. That would be revealed at the 2017 New York Toy Fair at their booth. Of course I said YES!! It felt really great to be invited back to work with them again. I previously had one of my photos on the #HasbroToyPic display at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con. It was for Hasbro’s Preview Breakfast Special Event. At the time I received Hasbro’s invitation I can honestly say it was very surreal. I must have read the email 20 times in awe of what they were telling me. It wasn’t until I received the package from Hasbro at my doorstep when I said WOW! This is real! LOL. When I opened the box to reveal what was inside I felt like a kid again back in 1977. The figures they sent me were Leia, Luke, Han, R2-D2, Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. All these figures are part of the celebration of the very first Star Wars movie “A New Hope” which marks this the 40th Anniversary. These 6” Star Wars The Black Series figures will be packaged in blister bubbles on vintage style Kenner card backs from 1977. This was a very fun project for me to do. It was right up my alley in recreating scenes from A New Hope.
One of my favorite scenes to date of all the Star Wars movies is the duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan. This was a perfect opportunity to do this scene that I haven’t done as of yet in my photography. Even though I have watched this movie and scene many times, I had to watch it, yet again, to capture every detail of it in order to duplicate it. The moment I captured in my shot is right after Vader’s lightsaber slashes the wall. I wanted to included every detail I could possible do so I took one of the @gtptoy Space Walls and created the saber slash. It wasn’t until February 18th that I became aware of who else was apart of this project. When it was revealed at the Hasbro booth at the New York Toy Fair, there was 10 photographers, myself included that participated. Can you imagine that….. out of all the photographers out there only 10… TEN!!! Talk about a huge honor! The other 9 are my friends on Instagram so this was even more exciting and surreal. These photographers are: @swittpics, @plasticaction, @blksrs, @workmoreorless, @x_captain_kaos_x, @forcedadphotography, @fathersfigures, @sgtbananas and @glowormphoto. All these guys had amazing photos on display and are very talented photographers. If your not following them now is your chance to start, I highly recommend it. To top all this off, all 10 of us had one of our photos from the project featured on Entertainment Weekly’s website in a article about the project. Mind Blown!!! .
Spread Darth Vs Darth as inspired by the comic “Resurrection”
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JEFF LEBARRON
Truly incredible – what a fantastic achievement! As a veteran and @avanaut this was years back when I came renowned artist, are there any key accounts on Instagram who you across some of his work searching for Star look up to for inspiration? If so, who are they? Wars photos online. He does amazing work, his Lego shots, snow scenes and his Forced The toy photography community as a whole is an inspiration to me. Seeing Perspective photography is on a whole other everyone’s photos and work puts a smile on my face. There are so many level. I highly recommend everyone to check great artists old and new to our hobby. It is mind blowing seeing the level of out his work if you haven’t already. progression these days from everyone. Most of my inspiration comes from Oh and I cannot forget @starwarstheblackmovies I have seen and recreating scenes or from just inside my head. When series which is the first page that featured it comes to photography I try to be original, but there have been accounts one of my photos and continues to do so to such as @sgtbananas with his blood and snow effects for example and this day. Matt’s page is my go to page for Star @x_captain_kaos_x for his flying speeder bikes that have given me a bit of Wars The Black Series 6” figures. He keeps us inspiration. Both of those guys are a huge impact on the toy community and all up to date on new figures coming out and many look up to them. They are amazing photographers, they have inspired features Star Wars The Black Series photos everyone at least once or twice in some way or another. from all the great toy photographers in the Before joining Instagram back in 2015 I discovered this guy Vesa Lehtimäki community.
“SEEING EVERYONES PHOTOS AND WORK PUTS A SMILE ON MY FACE”
that missing link. It’s great to be able to talk freely about this movie without fear of a spoiler alert! It was impressive to see the CGI effects for Grand Moff Tarkin as well as for Leia. It was also great to see the back-story behind the stealing of the Death Star WOW…that is another difficult plans and how they came to be in Leia’s question, LOL! I love doing crossovers Sticking to the theme of movies, possession. Most of all it was mind and have done a few over the period of Rogue One came out in December, blowing to see Darth Vader in action in time my account has been up. so what were your thoughts on the a way we hadn’t seen in prior Star Wars Speaking of crossovers, I would love to latest installment in the Star Wars movies. I am sure I am not alone when see a Justice League vs. The Avengers saga? I say that I can’t wait for the rest of the “Team Captain” movie. Hey that just Star Wars saga to come out. struck a thought…there is an idea for my Loved it!! For starters A New Hope was next photo shoots, because I personally my favorite Star Wars movie, so to see haven’t done it. Back to the question, Rogue One was like filling in a blank, Also with your portfolio, you’re seen shooting characters from multiple different movies, but if you had to do a crossover/ collaboration shot, which two characters would you choose?
if I had to choose two characters to do a crossover/collaboration shot I would have to say Ghost Rider vs. Spawn. Both of these characters I have enjoyed for quite some time. I collected Ghost Rider comics for years and when Spawn came out I began collecting him as well.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JEFF LEBARRON
And finally, we can’t wait to see more from Darksidesince77 in the coming year, so what have you got in the pipeline for 2017? Well I can say 2017 has already started off fantastic, from this interview with you at Exclu! and working with Hasbro seems like a dream. I am still in shock from it all. I have been writing down my ideas and have my list of what I wanted to do, but have never gotten to them. Most of the stuff on my Instagram is stuff on the fly. One of my goals for 2017 was to start on that list and I felt the photos I took for you guys was the perfect opportunity to start, so most of the photos I submitted to you were those that I had been putting off. I will continue to take pictures and posting on Instagram, getting to my to-do list and keep on having fun with what I love to do! Thanks for you time! It has been a pleasure speaking with you and we wish you all the best for this year. Thank you Exclu! again for this wonderful opportunity. I want to give thanks to my Mom and Dad for everything, my kids for their support with my dream, especially my son Craig who bought me my 60mm Macro lens. I would also like to give a huge Thank you to all my Instagram friends and followers that have supported my work old and new. I would list you all individually but…..that would be a long list, so know that if you are reading this I mean YOU!! A BIG HUGE thank you to Hasbro for inviting me to participate in the #HasbroToyPic project and for the awesome figures. My daughter Savannah who I love so much and I enjoy every moment with you. Keep chasing Ant-Man you’ll catch him sooner or later LOL. Last but not least, I have to thank my #1 Big Supporter, my fiancée Danya, for everything, without you none of this would have been possible. You are my biggest fan and my rock. My final image, this image, is dedicated to you. I Love You!
“MY FIANCE DANYA....THIS IMAGE, IS DEDICATED TO YOU...” 16
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK
F E AT U R E MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK @MISIEKMISTRZ
WHEN YOU GO FULL ROGUE I didn’t like photography. I never enjoyed taking pictures and always wanted to be a filmmaker. My teenage years were a time when I devoured one film after another and read or watched everything that could bring me to the world of moving images interviews, Oscar ceremonies and, in particular, behind-the-scenes clips. I knew I had to be prepared, the day will come when I’ll shoot my first movie and I have to be sure what I love the most about cinema and what I would like to convey to a wider audience myself. ...I’m still waiting for that day. Various circumstances found me as, instead of a film school graduate, a psychology major which, to my surprise, has given me a lot of pleasure and fulfilment in work but also secured me a lot of spare time to develop my other interests. Film school dream was a long gone and I had void in my head that had to be filled with something creative. “I can’t do movies now; I have to find something else” – I thought.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK
“IN RETROSPECT, MY EARLY WORKS WERE PRETTY BAD...” I must admit I discovered Toy Photography solely by accident. I was browsing through the B-side materials from Star Wars (which I am a die-hard fan) when a project called “Stormtroopers 365” (by DocChewbacca) came up to my attention. His pictures were not stylized or anything but presented a small 3.75” figures of Stormtroopers in ordinary, everyday situations. He was using tiny props or just throwing figures out to interact with full-size everyday objects. I fell deeply in love with these small troopers and downloaded plenty of his shots in case they disappear from his Flickr account. I guess it was just then when I decided I would try my hand at this game - after all, movies are just an images played in sequence. From that day, Toy Photography was going to be a substitute for my dreams about cinema. In retrospect, my early works were pretty bad but they got me to publish for the first time on Instagram. It was my own original content for which I received my first comments and later on - followers. Pretty soon I discovered hashtags and from that moment, I tell you, my world has expanded dramatically. It turned out that there are thousands of people like me, deeply intrigued by Toy Photography, adults who refuse to stop collecting their figures, making art of it. The first serious Toy Photographer
I followed was Zahir Batin, who made me realize the importance of post-production - colours, lights, it all can change the expression of the photo. He was also always heavy with smoke which I also gladly took as my hallmark. It wasn’t a long time until I stumbled across the works of all the giants. They all, besides being insanely better than me, had one thing in common - they had their own style. I could spot their images just with the single glance. One of them was master of flying particles, another was lighting perfectionist, I wanted to know it all. My goal was always to get better with every shot and look for my own way to be unique – which is not that easy since I’m complete amateur. I draw inspirations from my devotion to cinema, films that I love but also from the films that I’d like to do myself. I always try to compose my pics so they look like taken straight out of the action flick. Very often the characters are looking straight ahead, as if they are peeking outside of the frame, frame that’ll be long gone in a second and the action will go further. I do not write background stories associated with a particular picture – I try to capture an emotion instead. The interpretation of what happened before, or what is expected to happen next I leave to the recipient. I like to place my characters in tough spots, sometimes danger is implied, other times we find them in the middle of the action – they are always challenged.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK
Opposite left Dialing down the tone of the shoot
I like to torment heroes of my stories for which I have to thank Quentin Tarantino or Mel Gibson. I’m not going lightly on my figures too. I love them all but they’re more of a tool to me than a collector’s piece, I’m not shedding tears for every scratch and burn. My pictures are characterized by darkness - the shadow is, in my opinion, one of the greatest allies for Toy Photographer - it builds the ambience of the scene, perfectly hides all imperfections that figure might have and it lets the light expose their most prominent features. I’m a big fan of practical special effects and try to include at least one in each of my pictures. One of the most important aspects of my photos is capturing the movement -
figurines are inanimate objects so to create the illusion of life, I generously use effects such as water, fire or real explosions. Light reflecting from the armour, flames presenting its glare in lenses of the helmets or flying debris bouncing off from exhausted bodies makes my toys more rooted in a scene and give a sense of their impact on the environment. Besides my artistic preferences – it is always fun to blow something up. When I look back at my feed, I can clearly spot the defining moments where certain inspiration possessed me completely. I can change my style rapidly when I’m in awe of someone’s work, I guess that’s how I learn – by replicating and moving on with some stolen bits.
I can’t stress enough how big of an impact the Toy Photography Community had on my development. I’ve met loads of amazing artists that are constantly influencing me either by their art or by giving me their tips and tricks on how to become a better photographer. I can’t compliment enough the works of such great guys like Spencer Witt, Chris Lynch, Matt Ferris, Jax Navarro or Isaiah Takahashi – they are a constant source of awesomeness, they always keep me on the edge of my seat and make me willing to do something at least as cool as theirs.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK
Opposite Right Michal showing off his mastery of the all out action scene utlising pyrotechnics and adept posing
I find myself often browsing their accounts just for a bit of inspiration, I like to get back to their older shots as some sort of a template which I use to squeeze through some of my own ideas to create something new. I am also a sucker for every opportunity to collaborate with someone on the other side. Whether it’s my photo or theirs, I’m game. The X-Wing shot I did for this issue is, in fact, a collaborative effort of myself and a great artist, Lego photographer, and my countryman Mikołaj Lewiński (@fullnilson). I knew I wanted to composite spaceships into this shot but I really struggled to get it right. I knew Mikołaj is a spaceships expert so I gave him a holler and he just jumped right into it, shot his own X-Wings and composited them perfectly.
A will to help, to share each other’s experiences is the greatest strength of this community and I hope it’ll only get better. I’m really looking forward to where this journey will take me.
FEATURE JACOB PEYTON
A PRIZE PHOTOGRAPHER My name is Jacob Peyton but most of you guys know me as the @alaskanstormtrooper on Instagram and Facebook. I currently reside in Palmer Alaska and Iâ€™m beyond stoked to befeatured in the third issue of Exclu Design Collective! I always enjoyed nature photography as a fun creative outlet, and being able to explore Alaska has definitely fueled that hobby. In February of 2016 I stumbled upon the instagram accounts of two great photographers, @swittpics (Spencer) and @blksrs (Isaiah). After seeing their amazing shots I had to try it myself! Being a huge star wars fan and the force awakens still fresh in my mind, taking pictures of star wars action figures was the only natural thing to do. Most of the inspiration for my pictures come from movies and fellow photographers in this community. Iâ€™m a fan of outdoor photography, as most of my shots are on location.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JACOB PEYTON
Opposite Right Jacob is very capable when it comes to showcasing the physical quality within his collection of figures
I love to try out new techniques as often as possible and practical effects (Such as explosions or rain) are always fun! I’ve recently began shooting my figures with scale dioramas. It has added depth to my photographs and enhanced my skills in a way that I’ve really appreciated. I would say my work does not have a definitive ‘style’ as it’s constantly expanding into different techniques and genres, there is always room for improvement. I mainly shoot one twelfth scale figures keeping it to a six inch basis, but have been enjoying the awesomeness of one sixth scale (twelve inch). The community that I’ve seen develop in the toy fam has definitely enhanced my experience. Nothing beats having one of my fellow photographers share some knowledge on topics ranging from lighting, weathering figures, or mastering practical effects. This is part of what makes our movement so special in my opinion. The future of toy photography promises great things, in part due to the amazing community that has developed through the connection of social media.
Left Lighting is used to great effect throughout the shoot to highlight the sculptâ€™s details
F E AT U R E YUDHA ALWIN @TOYSNOOP
VERSATILITY My name is Yudha Alwin, I’m 28, a husband and soon to be a dad. I really love games and movies; Toy Story is a special one because my passion came from this movie since I was little boy. I have this imagination that I also want to make toys come to life which I realize is impossible. I’ve been collecting Toy Story collectibles since 2007 but never thought to take a picture of them before but I was really amazed by people who took picture of their toys on Instagram. Besides Toy Story, growing up I also really loved superhero movies and Star Wars which results in my photos depicting superhero figures from those licences. I get the ideas mainly from game’s or scene’s from movie’s but I do also like to create original ideas too, and sometimes inspirations come from my friends in the community as we shared our idea sometimes.I started toy photography in the beginning 2016 when friends of mine @figs_pix and @akunsonfighua asked me to buy a toy and take picture of it. The first toy I bought was SHFiguart Iron Man Mark 43 and I remember I only took a picture with my camera phone with a landing pose and ignored the lightning, background, etc. A month after that, I received a message from @rizky_smex who invited me to join a toy photography community @Toysportal and proceeded to tell me more about toy photography on Instagram. Afterwards I jumped into the world of toy photography on Instagram and met many great photographers’ alongside being offered to join other toy communities such as @Btstp_id and @Legographerid.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE YUDHA ALWIN
Opposite right Yudha shows his skillset extend beyond any single style of photography
EXCLU I’m very grateful for being part of them because I’ve learnt alot about the technicality of photography, camera’s, toys and many more from them. The first camera I used was the iPhone 4 until I got advice from my community friends to start using a DSLR camera or mirrorless. I fell in love with the mirrorless Fuji xa2 camera and used two lenses which were the Kit Lens and Nikkor Macro Lens 105mm f1, 4.
For the lighting in my room I used two techniques: for my darker toys I always used light painting techniques but when it come to my colour toys I prefer to use flash. Originally I only took pictures with 1/12 scale figures both outdoors and indoors and I got nice responses from a lot of the toy photography community on Instagram. After 6 months I played with 1/12 scale and then I got introduced by some of people from my community to try Lego: I thought it was easy at first, but it wasn’t. Lego doesn’t work well with articulation but rather with concept’s and in the end of 2016 I bought a 1/6 scale Hot Toys figure. My first HT figure was Armoured Batman because of all the superheroes, Batman is my favourite. And it turns out that taking pictures of them was really different than toys of 1/12 ,1/6 and lego as they are far more detailed. Taking picture of toys gives me satisfaction and I love make people laugh with something I post on my Instagram. My plans for my Instagram account is to have bigger content of toy figures and a lot more photography as I’ve gained a lot of creativity and have more fun ideas to create more entertaining photos which shows my passion of sharing it with other people who have same interest. It’s amazing that together through social media we can create a world toy community from different places with different exciting ideas.
F E AT U R E JENNIFER NICHOLE WELLS @JENNIFERNICHOLEWELLS
THE MINIATURE MAESTRO I’m a 26 year old out of Jacksonville, Florida. I majored in photography in college, after discovering my love for it during high school. My original passion was dark room photography - with which I made 5 or 6 toy photos. I liked the hands on process and having control of the image through each and every step of the way. At first, digital photography felt so quick to me, but I wasn’t really thinking about my images. I wasn’t passionate about the process and needed to find a way that I could truly create every piece of the scene in front of the camera lens. I think my turning point was in a digital photography class early on in college. We were assigned a narrative project. I decided I wanted to tell the story of a woman receiving the news of her loved one’s death during WWII. While considering the elements for each scene, my mind went straight to dioramas. Knowing nothing about train scale modeling, I researched and ordered N scale figures, a car, house and a couple scenery pieces. They were delivered the night before my project was due and I set up and shot late into the night, printing the images in the lab right before it was time for the critique. I don’t typically procrastinate on art projects, so this one stands out. I just couldn’t see myself creating the assignment in any way outside of the use of miniatures. So, as I saw it, I just had to wait for them to arrive if I was to do the project right. Out of the series, today I only use 2 of the images in my portfolio, so not my finest work, but it got me started on this track of creating and
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JENNIFER NICHOLE WELLS
Opposite right Jennifer’s ability to create scene’s with a great variety of physical depth is amongst her strongest photographical skills
I can’t ever seem to settle on a scale of figures to use for my images. Largely I work with HO scale train figures. However the series here is 1:18 scale, which made the set building much more of a process than I’m used to. I also sometimes use 1:12 dollhouse items, or 1:35 pieces. I really just choose whatever will best represent the idea I have building in my head at the time. While my scales might not be consistent, I do keep coming back to the theme of stagnant war and the aesthetic of fog. I state on my website, “Miniatures serve as iconographic objects. Not real people, places or things, but simplistic versions of such. This allows for abstracted views of reality. The perfect medium for
creating visual representations of memories and emotions – abstractions of reality within themselves.” I think that statement leads nicely into the series I share here today. This set, which would work well for action-filled scenes, is instead still, quiet, contemplative. With each figure, scene, object, I aim to get across an emotion - how it may feel to be in this environment day after day, out of place, with no real place of refuge. Inanimate figures typically don’t have varied facial expressions with which to portray their emotions in photographs, so instead body positioning and lighting, or lack thereof, relays this to the viewer.
I call this ongoing series ‘Monachopis.’ As The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines, monachopis is “the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.” I’ve used the word doubly, to be the name of this strange land you see before you, as well as a description of the overwhelming feeling of its inhabitants.
ENGAGEMENT COSMIC TOYS @COSMIC TOYS
TOY THUG @TOYTHUG
JOINING THE DOTS We always try to engage with the entirety of the toy community and that includes getting to know the many various retailers and manufacturers which serve as our point of reference as toy enthusiasts. The toy market is increasingly crowded with every jostling for space and to reach directly into their own target audience but theres a rising tide of individuals and platforms that are taking a different approach. We’re really lucky to have a look behind the doors or two such platforms that are interacting with the toy photography community on a daily basis to re-define what a business can be within this environment of social media interactivety. Our first port of call is Cosmic Toys who are a Canadian based platform that specialises in providing a wide range of Star Wars figures with a focus on selling lines and series that are not so commnoly found or lines that are backdated but that are still ultimately in demand by their customers. These include figures from the late 90’s Power of the Force range right through the Clone Wars figures and up to the latest Black Series launch. Our other discussion is had alongside ToyThug who are a platform dedicated to the designer toy movement and offer a whole range of toys from Funko Pop Vinyl’s to Tamashii nations figures but its the unique way that they de-formalise their social media engagements which really makes them stand out by celebrating toy photographers alongside images of latest releases and new items to hit their store.
COSMIC TOYS A truly unique enterprise, Cosmic Toyâ€™s is quickly becoming Canadaâ€™s primary source for out of circulation Star Wars figures and its achieving this through their relationship with Toy Photography.
Introduce your business and tell us your story My wife and I started Cosmic Toys and Collectibles in early 2016 to offer out-of-circulation Star Wars toys to the underserved Canadian market. Before launching our website, we had started introducing our children to the great saga of Star Wars. It was not long after seeing the movies that they began pleading for toys of their favorite characters. Finding older Star Wars toys turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. The online options, particularly in Canada, for buying these out-of-circulation figures were slim. Scouring local comic stores yielded a few results but the process was slow and arduous. We pretty much had to take what we could find. To make things more convenient for us, we began buying bulk collections on sites like eBay and Kijiji. We would take out the toys we wanted for our collection and then piece out the rest for individual sale. If we made any profit, we would put it towards further expanding our collection. After this process was repeated enough times, we decided to create our own online storefront. With our own store, we could take the branding into our own hands and develop direct relationships with our customers. We knew there would be other families experiencing the same challenges. We envisioned an accessible website that would allow customers to browse and order toys conveniently with clear photos of every item, both loose and boxed. As a team, my wife and I are lucky to share a complimentary set of skills that helped us get started and to keep operations running smoothly.
Currently, I handle the web development, branding, inventory, customer service, Facebook and Twitter while Hollie handles the accounting, photography and shipping. What are your goals for the company? We would like to become the number one seller of out-of-circulation Star Wars toys in Canada. As we are web-only, we recognize that our reputation will be the determining factor in the ultimate success of our company. We want all our buyers to become lifelong, repeat customers. Our goal is to make sure each customer is extra satisfied with every interaction. We implemented a points program that rewards our loyal buyers for their continued patronage. With every purchase, points are accumulated that can be directly applied to future orders. The points program provides a benefit to both us and our customer and provides a good reason to come back and check out our latest offerings (which we update frequently). How do you incorporate toy photography into your business? Toy photography is vitally important in gaining visibility for our brand and is directly responsible for a large portion of the traffic to our website. Hollie spends a lot of time planning, setting up and taking amazing photographs that she shares through Instagram we try and keep things fun and encourage engagement with daily Star Wars trivia.
Cosmic Toys provides a wide range of Star Wars lines with everything from â€œThe Power of The Forceâ€? line up to the latest Black Series.
Above The nostalgia factor of all those lines that we used to see in stores across the land
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE COSMIC TOYS
The shots used by Cosmic Toys are created by Hollie Jeakins who runs half of the platfom alongside her husband Jeff.
As a company, we are committed to supporting the toy community and are careful to make sure that our Instagram account serves as a showcase for toy photography and not just an advertisement for Cosmic Toys. Many of our followers and customers are toy photographers themselves. We love being able to supply our fellow photographers with new figures and then to see those toys show up in their work. It has been such a rewarding experience to be so deeply engaged in the toy scene and to have become active members within this tight-knit community of artists, photographers and toy fans. We feel very honored to have established genuine friendships with other contributors that we have met through these communities.We are super thrilled that showcases like Exclu exist to bring attention and visibility to this scene and shine a light on the inspiring work being produced within!
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE TOYTHUG
ToyThug are setting a new example of how a Toy based business should behave by placing the community at the heart of their ethos and interacting on a daily basis to create a laid back environment for enthuiasts and customers.
Introduce yourself and tell us your story.
I’m Clint aka Brawnz one of the owners of Toy Thug. Toy Thug is a brand that caters to pop culture with some Golden Era Hip Hop influence. We have an online store that sells Toy Collectibles such as action figures, vinyl figures, and Designer Toys such as Quiccs along with some of our own products such as spoofed Tee shirts.We have a mascot name Thugga, he’s a cute bear with a bandana. Even though he’s cuddly he also has lil gangsta in him. And that’s what Toy Thug is about, you can be a geek and be streetsmart. You can be into Marvel Legends and listen to Notorious B.I.G. That’s Toy Thug. Some of our customers collect other things like Sneakers, Streetwear brands you know Hypebeast Stuff So we kind of aligned with them.
There are tons of Toy Podcasts out there ,they are informative but sometimes boring so our goal is to be entertaining and informative so be on the look out for that. How do you incorporate Toy photography into your business? Toy Thug started off sharing dope and amazing photos of action figures on Instagram. As we gained more followers and shares we decided to do the business venture. We recently collaborated with @Sgtbananas for a giveaway of Tamashii Nations SandTrooper. He is one of the best in the game in toy photography. The ACBA community has been a big inspiration for us and for everyone else so hopefully we can collaborate with more amazing photographers in the game like them.
What are the goals for the platform/company? Our Goal is to become Millionaires! Jokes - we have other businesses that are successful. Toy Thug is a love project as we are into the Pop culture scene and the Toy community. We know we’re not gonna be able to compete with the Big Box stores. We are into the culture and when we have a funny idea we want to share we’ll put it out in T-shirt form or whatever. We also want to make Thugga come to life, we are looking for writers and toy designers to make it happen. We invested in a 3-D printer for prototyping and one-offs so if there are any designers out there hit us up! Toy Thug allows us to be really creative and thats what so fun about our company. We are also starting up a podcdast called Toy Thug Podcast. We will cover the Toy Scene also movies, sports, music, sneakers.
F E AT A TUURREE AZWAN KABAR @TOYFLOXIN
THE PREDATOR I always enjoyed shots that involved more than one figure, so for this particular shot, I used 5 figures and they are all from NECA. The theme and concept for this shot is “Undefeated”. It showed how strong the Predators are and humans can’t win against them. The best way to capture this scene is to do outdoor photo-shoot so for this shot I choose my backyard because it has a “Jungle” feel to it and also I love the natural sunlight. I added couple of props like a tree branch and rocks which I find it nearby before I set up figures.Posing is very essential in Toy Photography. As a reference, it came from movies, comics, anime, video-games etc. I decided to put the Concrete Jungle Predator at the front because I want to show how menacing it looks when he pushed his feet on Nathan Drake’s body to display his power plus the sculpture for this figure is beyond amazing. The second Predator (Bad Blood) was at the back uplifting Dutch with the same intention, to show the domination of this this fight and ready to finish him off.
Equipment List • • • • • • • •
Canon 600D DSLR Camera Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Tripod Smoke Cake 2x Lighter DIY Stand (Semi-Hard Iron Wire) Piece of Cardboard Adobe Photoshop + Adobe Lightroom
Figures Used • • • • •
NECA Concrete Jungle Predator NECA Bad Blood Predator NECA Lost Armored Predator NECA Jungle Patrol Dutch NECA Ultimate Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4)
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE AZWAN KABAR
Below A lot of time and effort can go into creating the perfect scenario as evidenced on Azwanâ€™s shoot.
For this set up, I used a D.I.Y stand that I made prior using Semi-Hard Iron (Rectangular shape for the base and two hooks at the edge – see picture). This stand was designed to hold the predator so he can stand on top the tree branch and surprisingly no problem holding up Dutch without using other stand. The third and last Predator (Lost Armored) was more far back, which I personally like how it turns out. You can only see the silhouette of it because of the smoke and by that, it gives more sinister look and mystery for this Predator as he ready to joins the battle. I always shoot in RAW format because it gives me a better control in editing process (Photoshop/Lightroom). I do not have remote shutter so I used a timer instead. Below were my settings (Manual Mode) • • • • •
Timer 10 secs Multiple Burst Mode ISO 100 f/4.0 1/640 sec
I took couple of shots with different positions first just to see which one is better. After I’m happy with it I set the camera on timer mode. Practical effects are very tricky, you got to try and error in order to make a good photo. In this shot, I used a “Smoke Cake’ to create smoke/foggy effects which designed for Photography, you can find it at your Local Camera Shop. I fired it up with lighter and put it behind the figures and used a piece of cardboard to spread out the smoke so it will look more natural.
Thus, it can last about 3 minutes per piece. I brought 2 or more pieces just in case! I am using Windows 7 and I created a special folder then transfer my recent shots in that, RAW file is bigger than JPEG in size so it may take a while for transferring process. By using Adobe Lightroom, I imported the RAW files that I already transferred and choose which one that I like the most. I made some adjustment in Temp, Exposure, Contrast, Highlight, Shadow, White, Black and etc. After I’m fully satisfied with the result, I exported the photo and open it in Adobe Photoshop.
Right Just some of the equipment that aid’s Azwan in creating his scene such as wire crimped and shaped to hold figures.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE AZWAN KABAR
Top Right Azwan puts his image’s through an Adobe Photoshop based editing process
Top Right The final Image post edit
In Photoshop, the only task is to remove the stand using “Clone Stamp Tool” feature. First, always create a new layer before making changes with it. I mostly zoom in on the spot that I’ve been working on and adjust the size of the brush. Press ALT and left click mouse button at the area that able to duplicate the unwanted spot and start cloning the desired area. After that I used “Patch Tool” feature to clean a specific area after the Clone Stamp Tool process. Highlight the area and drag it to the side and you will see the small amount of results but very effective so the photo looks more natural. Next, flatten the image once you are happy with it and save it in highest resolution available and maximum quality. Then my favorite and final part is toning! I imported the photo back in Adobe Lightroom, this will give me a chance to play with the tones and set a mood for this photo. I choose a darker tone because I think it is best to picture this action scene and also represent some horror mood in it. Before I post it on Instagram, I would choose Instagram filters (my favorite is Juno or Ludwig) and make some adjustment and tweaks. After that, I’m all done.
F E AT U R E FELIPE MONARDES MENA @REBELPELICANO
DIVERSITY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE Like any other kid born in the late ‘70s, my life long relationship with Star Wars began a long time ago. The Original Trilogy was some kind of religious experience for me: a flamboyant tale of of sword and sorcery mixed with bizarre creatures and spaceships. That was everything I needed to become an acolyte. As I grew up, I was deeply fascinated by one of Star Wars’ key elements, its mythological structure. Just like every myth around the world, Star Wars is full of symbols and imagery of profound meaning. Images that can tell a tale by themselves. The shape of a helmet, the color of a cloak, a harsh environment, everything my beloved OT depicted was full of stories and symbolism. I discovered then how powerful an image can be. When I was eleven years old I decided I’d become a filmmaker someday. Eight years later I moved to Santiago, our nation’s capital city, to attend a Film School. My thesis was… well, about Star Wars: A New Hope and the Hero’s Journey structure.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE FELIPE MONARDES MENA
In those days I never suspected that my full time activity and job would turn out to be photography instead of cinema. When you are in love of images and stories and your goal is to create new ones, you can achieve it through a wide range of artistic forms. So, as soon as I returned to my home town I discovered in photography a remarkable media for image and story to co-exist. Since then I’ve been involved with photography for thirteen years. I’ve worked in a lot and diverse photographic projects and assignments, from my first and ongoing personal work (you can find it in www.flickr.com/monardes-mena) and exhibitions, to photo shoots, weddings and publicity. Since 2011 I’m the official photographer of our city’s Symphony Orchestra (www.sinfonicalaserena.cl), and I’m teaching photography workshops since 2013. Until in late 2015, a couple of months before the release of The Force Awakens, Rebel Pelicano was born.
I was an only child, so my first playmates were dozens of G.I. Joes and Masters of the Universe. I also had Super Powers, Transformers, Marshall Bravestarr, Captain Power, M.A.S.K and Rambo figures. I still have many of them, but sadly some other were lost. However, the oddest thing is that I never had a single Star Wars toy. No, I’m lying, I did have a figure, just one: Zuckuss, wrongly labeled then as 4-Lom. Unfortunately, he’s one of the lost ones… Anyway, toys were always an important part of my life. And as an 80’s kid, I can assure that was a Golden Age of toys! I see them as an extension of a story, a chance to take some part of that cartoon or a movie that blew our minds and bring it into our house, into our private life. We can reshape it, rename it (I remember that I used to pretend that Iceberg from G.I. joe was Lando Calrissian during a visit to planet Hoth), transform the hero into villain or viceversa.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE FELIPE MONARDES MENA
Opposite Right Felipe’s strength for capturing character moments are clearly evidenced Toys offer us a way to imagine and tell new stories or reenact some, toys are a celebration of a story, a way to connect with others, even if the others live in another country and speak a different language. Somehow toys have a clear connection to symbolism, once again, an image, an idea to tell something in a colorful way. Rebel Pelicano is my response and humble tribute to Star Wars and toys, a search to fuse image and story in a single frame. But it also gives me the chance to escape for a while, create scenes that I’d love to see and share my personal approach to something that we have already seen. Rebel Pelicano started just as a hobby but it rapidly became my dearest photo project, and perhaps my most personal and passionate work. I’m a big fan of the Black Series 6” line, I love its points of articulation, details and size. And I have a good bunch of 3.75” figures as well, from different lines and years. However I don’t see myself as a proper toy collector. For instance, I purchase only the figures/characters I like the most, and as an Original Trilogy hardcore fan, you can imagine which ones are my top priorities. And of course, I took all the figures out of their boxes. I loved The Force Awakens and Rogue One, so there are quite a few characters from those films in my room too. And yes, I have a couple from the prequels, mainly because their design was to cool to say no. All of my first Rebel Pelicano photos were made indoor, with controlled light and environment, and I still work in such way especially for lighting conditions.
But without a doubt the most enjoyable process for me is taking the toys outdoor. I just love doing photos in the wild! Here we have many beautiful beaches, and also we are very close to countryside, so there’s a lot of options to shoot great outdoor scenes. There is a motto I constantly repeat: “Less is more”. For me the photo’s highlight must be the character(s) portrayed, its action, its pose, how the character deals with the environment, with the light. Everything connected, at the service of an idea, aiming to awake in the viewer some emotion. In a battle scene the presence of many characters, debris and FX is understandable, but other themes require other approaches, fewer elements, and for me that’s “less is more”. The other issue is “light”. Light is everything! Light creates the mood, enhances the emotion, the drama. You can have the coolest figure ever, but if you fail in the lighting set up, that exclusive and cool figure will look terrible. Nowadays we are very lucky to have those cheap LED lights, they come in different colors and sizes, a great choice to get a very nice lighting. Regarding sunlight, it’s a little more tricky. I never use artifical light outdoor, but I do use a small DIY bounce panel, and it has helped me immensely. I often do outdoor photos in locations I’ve already been before, knowing how the light behaves in that place, its color palette or its best backgrounds helps me to obtain the right set up for the scene.
“STUDYING THE ART OF THE MASTERS IS A GREAT WAY TO LEARN IMPORTANT STUFF FOR OUR OWN CREATIONS...”
But when you go to a location for the first time, it’s just a matter of have enough time to explore the place and shoot once and once again until you get what you envisioned. The beauty of it is that nature always surprises you, so try to be open to improvisation. One of my all time photography heroes is Edward S. Curtis, he was a creator of such beautiful and iconic images about the Old West and Native Americans. I constantly find inspiration and guidance in others master artists such as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Sergio Toppi, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alex Ross, and of course, Ralph McQuarrie. Studying the art of the masters is a great way to learn important stuff for our own creations. Composition, use of light and color, theme development , characters are brilliantly depicted in his works. Last year (actually the first year of Rebel Pelicano) was awesome. Among the good things that happened I was invited to feature my work in two conventions of toy fans and collectors, I started to sell my work at a specialized store in Santiago and Asmus Toys from Taiwan, among others toy photographers, contacted me for doing a collaboration on its “The Lord of the Rings” toy line. I’m really thankful for all of that, it was support for my project to continue. And last but not least, I want to thank to all who follow my work on Instagram and Facebook. I truly appreciate their constant support and it makes me really happy to do something you can enjoy. Wish you all the best from Chile!!!
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JAX NAVARRO
F E AT U R E RYAN FOGG @SERIES209
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Iâ€™m a 29 year old amateur photographer from the U.K. At first I used IG to display my artwork, after being convinced by friends to download the app. I had no idea what was in store. Getting familiar with Instagram I slowly started coming across the toy community, which I found incredible. The amount of impressive shots and creative artists I came across blew me away. Though limited with my knowledge of photography, equipped with nothing more than an iPhone I decided to give it a shot myself. I originally started off taking photos of my MP Transformers then eventually moved primarily onto my Hot Toys collection. I really enjoyed and still do enjoy reading the feedback from people, it encourages and pushes me to develop my skills as a photographer. I try to add a sense of realism to my photos, breathing a little life into the subject. My work consists of various close ups, I like to let the detail shine on these masterpieces while creating a natural and believable pose that appeals to the audience.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE RYAN FOGG
Up until last month my entire gallery, all my shots were taken using an iPhone, I had to make the most of what I’d got at the time. Using various apps to tweak my shots exactly how I wanted them to look. Apps such as Photoshop, Snapseed and LensLight. I try not to overly edit my work, reducing the noise, adjust the contrast and maybe adding the slightest effects.
My light source was always natural light as I hadn’t invested in any equipment such as light boxes or studio lights. Right now I’m experimenting with all kinds of LEDs and techniques. I go for a dark backdrop in my photography as not to distract the eye away from the subject, it allows your own imagination to create the scenario for which the character is in. I may experiment in the near future using different locations for shoots. Recently I bought my first DSLR camera which has opened my eyes to a whole new level of photography. Not knowing which is the best brand or model to go for or which was a decent starter camera for a beginner, I had some great advice from my followers and friends. It’s because of you guys my Instagram and photography skills are where they are today. I’ve always been surrounded by toys and movie merchandise throughout my life, being introduced to the cult classics at a young age. Movies such as Robocop, Star Wars, Predator, Alien, Terminator...I could go on. Those movies mixed with the 80’s cartoon era made for a great childhood experience, also influencing my creative side today and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Above The ability to work alongside various genres within photography such as humour based-shots or glamour photography is a great indicator of a photographers overall skillset.
F E AT A TUURREE ADAM MCGRATH
ABOVE AND BEYOND Returning to the fold is a special guest Adam McGrath who featured with us back in Issue 2 with an incredibly varied submission of shots that we desperately fought to showcase as practically as possible. Its Issue 3 and Adam is back again with a huge submission presenting us with the challenge of showing you as many of his latest series as possible featuring some really intriguing looks behind the scenes from the shoot. Expect to see a lot more from Adam across our platform as we will be sharing some exclusive behind the scenes video detailing the various steps and locations that he shot in for this feature.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ADAM MCGRATH
When I was asked if I wanted to contribute my photography work for a second consecutive issue, I was instantly on board. It’s a rewarding feeling to have your work elegantly presented and showcased alongside the work of your peers. It’s also a great challenge creatively with so many amazing talented artists being featured in every issue, you know you have to bring your A game. I’ve been doing toy photography for a year now. I feel my work has gradually improved, but it isn’t at the level I wanted it to be at. The toy photography that I considered being at the next level was created by the photographers who were incorporating the use of practical effects and were spending more time adding subtle visual effects in post production. I wanted to create work on that level, but before I could do that, I needed to step back and re-examine my work flow and my approach towards toy photography. With issue3 beckoning, now seemed like the perfect opportunity to reassess.
EXCLU “...I NEEDED TO STEP BACK AND RE-EXAMINE MY WORK FLOW AND MY APPROACH TOWARDS TOY PHOTOGRAPHY.” Bottom Left As ever, Adam is an instinctive group composer capable of managing groups of figures at a time.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ADAM MCGRATH
Adam goes out of his way to find the perfect shooting location such as in amongst old machinery to make his shots come to life.
EXCLU Time to ditch the iPhone. I love my iPhone. It’s easy to use, great in low light and the slim form factor allows you take shots at obscure angles and perspectives, but it’s time to move to a more professional setup. I now shoot solely on my Canon DSLR. It’s mounted on a flexible JOBY tripod and I trigger it with a remote control. Less is More. Previously, my whole work flow was done using iOS devices and apps. I would shoot all my shots on an iPhone 6S Plus. The images were then color corrected, posted to social media channels on the same device or sometimes from an iPad Pro. Having the ability to process my work with very minimal effort and time allowed me to process more images, but usually at the cost of quality. A work flow based solely on the iOS ecosystem has it’s limitations, there are some great iOS photo editing apps but there really isn’t a substitute for Photoshop out there yet. To remedy this I chose to focus on a select few images from each shoot and spend more time perfecting them in post production using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on a MacBook Pro.
The volume of images I output has decreased but I feel the quality has definitely improved. Using Practical Effects. This was a big unknown for me, especially when it concerns the issue of using fireworks. Growing up in Australia fireworks were banned so I never experienced the thrill of setting off some bottle rockets or Roman candles. I never really considered using practical effects in photography. My first thought would be to add them digitally using Photoshop, but it just seems like a lot of fun, so I decided to give it a crack. Using some leftover fireworks from New Years Eve, I did a few shoots and I was instantly sold on it. It’s challenging and a bit more time consuming but the results are well worth it. Unfortunately, I ran out of fireworks and now have to wait until July 4 before I can buy some more, so my stormtroopers are safe for now. Choosing to focus on a few images and dedicating more time to perfect them is what I feel I need to do to improve my overall body of work, hopefully the results of the past six weeks are evident in the work you’re viewing in issue 3.
F E AT A TUURREE JAX NAVARRO @PLASTICACTION
PLASTIC GIVEN LIFE First, I would like to thank Exclu and their partner Beast Kingdom for selecting my photo as Top Toy Photo of 2016. It was late January of 2016 when I was introduced to the world of Toy Photography so to be featured here in this publication a year later is just mind blowing! When I began Toy Photography I was already a “seasoned” Instagrammer where my wife and I ran a dog photography account called @thefugee. One of our main goals was to not only take crazy, fun photos of our insane Border Collie, but to spread awareness to the rescue and adoption of shelter pets. Social media is very powerful and I am honored to be one of the many voices for those who don’t speak.Because of @thefugee, we have had the opportunity to travel the country and shoot some really cool events these last few years. We have also been fortunate enough to have our work featured in three books last year. Its crazy, I would have never imagined any of this when I started taking iPhone photos of my dog 5 years ago! However, I eventually started to feel like my dog photography content was becoming stale, so I knew I needed a change. I was craving something new, fun, and challenging. Following the release of The Force Awakens, my wife Lora bought me a Sphero BB-8 for Christmas. I started taking photos of it, launched a new Instagram account, and the rest is history!
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JAX NAVARRO
Fast forward to a year later and this hobby is now an obsession. My figures collection is growing big enough to warrant its own room in my house. The Darth Vader and Shadow Trooper figures from Beast Kingdom are a welcomed edition and I am delighted to share some photos of them with you. Right out of the box, the first thing I noticed is how solid they feel. Most of the weight is in the head region but they are really easy to hold pose without the use of stands. Obviously, you want to take caution in windy conditions as you don’t want to damage the shiny paint job with an unfortunate fall. All the photos you see here were posed without the use of any stands. The range of motion and points of articulation are also very good, especially for having shorter limbs. As you can see, I was able to accomplish very natural looking poses with them. In addition to weapons, each figure comes with different sets of hand gestures (relaxed, fist, weapon hold, etc).
Right Vader retains his ability to dominate the shot regardless of his stylised form
My favorite hand gesture is Vader’s grip as shown in one of my photos. Another cool bonus is Vader’s panel and lightsaber light up as well. They are approximately 6 inches tall and they can fit well with your existing 1/12 scale vehicles and accessories. I demonstrated this with my photo of Vader riding a Black Series Imperial Speeder Bike. Did I mention how beautiful these figures are? They are super photogenic and bring a “cuteness” factor to even the roughest of battle scenes that you create. To say that I am a fan of these figures is an understatement. In fact, just days after I received these two, I ordered a couple of Sandtroopers and preordered and couple of Dewbacks to go along with them. I’m going to need a bigger room…
“IM GOING TO NEED A BIGGER ROOM...”
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE JAX NAVARRO
BEHIND THE SCENES Jax Navarro shares a quick breakdown of the behind the scenes process for one of the exclusive images taken from his Beast Kindom shoot. One thing I love about these Beast Kingdom figures besides their amazing appearance is the scale. Even though they appear larger than 1/12 scale, they are a perfect fit with the accessories and vehicles that belong in that scale. Here’s a behind-thescenes look at the shot I took with Darth Vader on a 6 inch scale Black Series Imperial Speeder Bike. The camera I used for this shot is a Fuji XT-1 with 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens. Connected to the camera is a wired remote shutter release. I set everything on my camera manually, including the focus: ISO 250, 60mm, f/2.4, 1/2000. Play around with your shutter speeds. If you want motion blur, 1/2000 and below is a good setting. 1/2000 + does a great job in “freezing time.” The tripod you see is the JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom with Ballhead. I recently partnered with Joby but I’ve been recommending and using their products long before our partnership. I love the versatility of this tripod and its flexibility especially works well in rocky environments like Vasquez Rocks. Speaking of Vasquez Rocks, this is the location of my shoot. It is located in the city of Agua Dulce in Southern California and is a well known shoot location for movies, television, and photographers. If you shoot here, chances are you may run into me or Mitchel Wu who also shoots toys here (@mitchelwuphotography).
EXCLU My shoot occurred the day after a rainstorm, so there were plenty of puddles and the clouds were still covering the sun giving me optimal lighting conditions. Before I do any type of effects, I always make sure my posing is on point by taking a bunch of sample shots using different angles and poses. I did about 3 poses and 3 angles before deciding on this one. I used splashing water as an effect to display the feeling of motion. I also focused on Vaderâ€™s cape positioning to also add to that feeling of motion. A cool feature about this figure is that the cape itself has a wire inside to help with the positioning. Now that my pose is set and subject in focus, I made sure my camera is set to burst mode so that I could take multiple shots while performing the water effects. Finally, I simply took a flat rock and threw it into the water while pressing my remote shutter as it took 3-4 shots of Vader on a Speeder Bike with splashing water in the background. I repeat this until I get a good amount of solid shots, giving me a decent amount of inventory to choose from in the end. I hope you learned something from this. This community is so giving and encouraging that it gives me great pleasure to give back. Check out my Instagram hashtag #plasticactionBTS for other behind the scenes posts.
Left Finding the right location is often the make or break component of outdoor shoots
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE WORD OF THE MONTH
WINNING ENTRY 74
JAX NAVARRO “The Battle Of Scarif” When I hear the word companionship, I immediately think of the men and women who served in the military. Although I have never served myself, I can imagine the friendships and bonds that are developed. Everyday, those men and women are put into challenging situations where fellowships build instantly, and those same men and women help shape each other. My photo titled “The Battle of Scarif,” shows 3 Scarif Troopers engaged in battle. It’s a scene where they are trying to survive, and will do everything and anything to protect each other. The process behind creating this scene was fairly simple. I don’t know much about military tactics except for what I’ve seen in films and documentaries. What I do know is that you just don’t run into heavy fire with guns blazing like Rambo, unless you’re Rambo of course! So, add some “realism” to the scene, I had the Trooper laying down to provide cover fire for the middle Trooper who is just about to engage.
The Runners Up Above Top “Simple Kind of Lovely“ by Benedictus Anindityo Above Bottom “Attempting Normal“ by Jennifer Nichole Wells
The Trooper in the background is running from an explosive that just detonated. The explosion component, to me, creates the energy of the photo and solidifies it as a battle scene in a time of war.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE WORD OF THE MONTH
ALVIN RAMIREZ “A Monster In My Garden” Since I was a little kid I grew up watching the 90’s X-men animated series and playing with action figures. This was the reason I became a huge fan of this superhero Marvel Team. For this particular picture I wanted to create a night attack of Sabretooth. The setting was in a secret base at my garden, where the X-men protect and train powerful mutants that can’t control their powers. Professor Xavier believed that those new mutants could be dangerous and lethal if they were approached and trained by the wrong people. For this reason he recruited young mutants and gave them shelter in an isolated location. Sabretooth was following a clue that lead to the location the X-men kept the new students. Guided by Magneto’s order he started his mission to kidnap them. Magneto wanted to convince the young mutants that he would develop their skills and powers to their full potential, without any restrictions and faster than Professor X. The only thing Magneto wanted was their loyalty when he needed it. Cyclopes and Wolverine caught Sabretooth in its attempt before he got inside the base.
The Runners Up Above Top “Last Survivor“ by Mike Facci Above Bottom “Portraits From The Darkside“ by Pepe Jimenez
To take the photograph of Sabretooth I went to my backyard at 7:30 pm ET approximately. My approach was to create a night scene with a monster in an isolated place. Some of the techniques I used on my composition where the rule of thirds and the rule of space to make Sabretooth like he is chasing something. I placed the figure on my doghouse, and then placed a concrete brick with the hole in front to create a cave and add little texture to the composition. Also I added some dry grass with cotton that I found at my garden to create a location that simulates desolation and destruction. I used a little tree led light set up to create a particular lighting. One of the lights was in front of the pop between a water gallon that I use to diffuse the light. The other light was two feet on the left side of the figure and the last one was placed to the upper left side. At first I took some pictures and I didn’t like them, because I felt that the composition needed something else in the background. Then it came to my mind to add more lights to the back. I placed little Christmas orange lights at the background at a distance of 5 or 6 feet and the blue lights at 3 feet, because I wanted to add a soft bokeh effect and color to the photograph. The lights added some mysterious atmosphere to the composition and by this achieving my atmospheric goal. I made the background out of focus to bring the attention to the figure. I didn’t wanted to lighten the subject completely because I really wanted some shadows on him to create a realistic look. The aperture that I used was an f/1.8 and a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second at 400 ISO with a 50 mm lens.
WINNING ENTRY 77
F E AT U R E DONOVAN GUERTIN @WARVIEWS
THE NEXT GENERATION I started my journey into photography four years ago when I was ten years old, taking photographs of legos with my iPod (My shots were very basic but I enjoyed creating new things and capturing them on camera). My parents gave me a point-and-shoot camera to use, and my love for photography really began. I started taking photos of my action figures outside in places I found while exploring. The outdoors gives me the ability to use my creativity and take still pictures of my action figures in unique settings. I self-taught myself most of the basic rules of composition necessary to enhance the quality of my photos. My goal was to make my photographs more like stories playing out in front of my lens. Wanting to get more out of my work, I saved my own money and purchased the Canon Rebel SL1. The quality of my photos improved greatly, and so did my drive to create works of art. I personally love photography because I find it to be a nice creative outlet that gets me outside and exploring.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE DONOVAN GUERTIN
Style is very important to my photography. I want people to see a photograph and identify it as one that I took. I find that my style is two different things. The first is capturing the beauty of a landscape with figures incorporated into the frame. The second style is showing the grittiness of war, usually with the added practical effect. In fact, that’s the reason I chose my online alias, Warviews. When shooting to capture a beautiful location, I pose my figures as if they’re on patrol or walking to a destination. I do this to make the focus less on the figures and more on the beauty of the location that they’re in. The gritty shots are my favorite, though, as I get to pose and frame a photo that expresses a fast and action packed mood. One of the things I love about toy photography is being able to make simple changes to a figure’s pose or position that can affect the overall feeling of the photo. Location is also a huge part of photography that I feel can make or break a photo. I am lucky enough to have some absolutely awesome locations to shoot in. There’s a sandy area for practical effects, and a river for water based shots, a high area for sunsets and a low area for elongated shadows. Picking and choosing a location is something I work hard at and try not to overlook. Sometimes the mood of the photo I am trying to take doesn’t fit into the area in which I am attempting to shoot. For this reason, I try shooting in multiple locations. Doing so greatly enhances the variety of photos I can shoot. Most of my photo ideas are spur
Right Donovan has a real knack for group composition and dynamics
of the moment and usually based on the location I am in. It’s amazing how such small places can create even larger worlds for these figures. On the same topic of location, one of my favorite shots was taken in my backyard. Often overlooked, the backyard can produce some of the best images. I use creative techniques to overcome situational difficulties. In one of my favorite shots I created a snowy environment, using flour to act as snow. To overcome the difficult location, I used my telephoto lens to zoom close to the figure, therefore compressing the image.
Above When timing meets that perfect shot.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE DONOVAN GUERTIN
â€œIT HAS A WHOLE LOT OF POTENTIAL TO BE A NEW FORM OF RECOGNIZED ARTâ€?
Since the backyard fence created a brown background, I made sure when I blew on the flour that there was enough smoke to fade out the background. The final product looked as if the figure was standing in an endless blizzard that has no end in sight. The toy photography community inspires and drives me to continue pushing my creative limits. There are so many great artists who continually do new things and push the rest of the community to achieve new heights. I enjoy working and receiving critiques or praises for my photos. The Instagram community provides a place to share my work and grow as a result. It also introduces me to new techniques and figures to shoot. I hope that more people can see toy photography and appreciate it more because the people who shoot it really put effort into their work and create pieces of art. Toy photography is a hobby that I will always continue to do. I thoroughly enjoy seeing it evolve, and I love seeing the community grow as well. It has a whole lot of potential to be a new form of recognized art.
F E AT U R E ROHAZMI BIN ROHANI @AZ_7R
KEEPING IT FRESH Hi! My name is Rohazmi or @Az-7r on my IGâ€™s page and I live in Singapore. I Work full time in an engineering company and photography has been my hobby for the past 5 years. My main camera is Sony A7R Mark2, Lens Carl Zeiss Prime Macro 100m/ f2.8 manual. I was a general landscape and portrait photographer for some events. Since I am not a full time photographer and do not have any portraiture source, I have decided to take up other alternative that is action figures/ toys for my photography hobby instead. All my photography techniques and knowledge that I have learnt are from my guru @bajanfari and would like to thank and appreciate him for being a great teacher in the past when i started this hobby. By chance, in November 2015, I bought a Stormtrooper 1/6 scale figure to shoot and post it in my Instagram page and a few days later, the photo was featured in Sonyimages Instagram page. This has triggered my mind and heart to start action figures/toys photograpy which has escalated until today. It has inspired me then to do more action figures/toys photography that has blossomed to be my favourite pastime.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ROHAZMI BIN ROHANI
Opposite Right A fantastic example of lighting to set the tone for a series shoot
From then on, I have started to take it seriously and I have proven to myself that it is a stepping stone to become a successful and an awesome action figures photographer.In the Instagram toys photography community, I have noticed and came across a lot of talented and top class toy photographers that have driven me towards my progress of learning new techniques and overcome any difficulties to adapt with my new hobby. It has given me more exposure about figures photography that I have never expect and it also helps me a lot in gaining more references and knowledge of what and how the community wants the photographs to be displayed. Therefore, posting my photos in Instagram is a good platform for me to showcase my creative shots which are done on a daily basis.
I love realistic figures and most of the Action Figures/ toys that I have bought for my photography sessions which are either 6â€? or 12â€? inch scale, must have a good face lightness and articulation. Most important part of the figures is its articulation which some should have at least above 20 points or more articulation joints and a good face lightness. If the the figures satisfy the requirements that I mentioned, then it will be very easy for me to pose them the way that I want my shot to express in the scene or action. Most of my figures are selected from movies such as StarWars, Marvel, Dc and others. To me, the most important part in photography is how I can pose the figures such that they look realistic and dramatic which I believe that is what viewers love to watch and is shown vividly the realistic scene from my photography shots.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ROHAZMI BIN ROHANI
“MY FUTURE PLANS ARE TO INSPIRE MORE TOY PHOTOGRAPHERS TO PRODUCE CREATIVE SHOTS...” 88
Opposite Right A portrait fit for a maniac... Lately, I was inspired by many talented figures photographer who did some practical effects that make the shot scenes look more interesting and epic. Therefore, I tried to challenge myself to create my own practical effects by experimenting the sources that they used and did it in my own ways to make it looked different and to my liking. In the beginning, it was not easy and a lot of practice and hard work needed to get it right and up to my expectations. It is a norm for all photographer to have their own ways and techniques to make their shots look great and awesome. My shots are done either indoors or outdoors and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
As an action figures photographer, I love to be versatile in any conditions. Most of my figures photography shots are action scenes and a few of them are just portrait shots. Why I did this way, it is because, to me an action figure deserved to be posed with action shots instead of simple portraits and that is why the toy industry designed and engineered their figures with such articulations mechanisms and that is one of the reasons why I bought them and I also love to do the natural poses and enjoy shooting them. Some of my inspirations and ideas come from movie, comics, daily scenes such as human nature and surroundings. My favourite figures are varied as long as they have good articulations and realistic face lightness for actions photography and are versatile for any portrait shots.I have chosen these photos because the photos portray the new techniques I have learnt and help me to improve and produce good photos. My future plans are to inspire more toy photographers to produce creative shots with their figures, share my work and exchange my knowledge with other photographers so that all of us will grow and produce excellent figures/ toys photography to be featured on IG and being recognized by a few sources such as the Exclu Design Collective. Iâ€™m hoping that this will help to attract more photographers who may want to start figures photography. As for my future Instagram account, I will work harder and try new things to improve my figures photography shots and hope viewers will appreciate and love it.
F E AT U R E MAX SABIN @FOVMODELS
CONTEMPORARY HISTORY Hello everyone! My name is Max Sabin, and I am a 20 year old self-proclaimed Toy Photographer currently residing in the great state of Minnesota. I am currently attending North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, in hopes of getting a degree in English and somehow landing a job as an author or working for LucasFilm. I’m honored to be featured, and I can’t wait to talk about why I love the hobby that is Toy Photography. Growing up I always had a strong liking of military history, especially World War II. I read countless books about it, played whatever World War II video games that my parents would allow me to get and I was even fortunate enough to know people who had fought in it and listen to their stories. Because of all those driving forces, I basically became obsessed with it, and was even called the “War Nerd” throughout intermediate and middle school.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MAX SABIN
Out of all the things that I collected, my favorite were the Unimax “Forces of Valor” die-cast metal tanks, airplanes and other military vehicles in the 1/32nd scale. I was given several over years for Christmas and my birthday, but I had to buy most of them myself with my allowance money. When the weather was nice, I would take some of them outside and set up fictional battles and dioramas, always thinking of imaginary stories and what not that really made the whole experience a little bit more real for me. As I got older and outgrew my playing outside phase, I wanted to find a way to continue using my models and have a way to keep having fun outside. That was when I asked for a camera so I could set up battle scenes and capture them in a photograph and then share the pictures with my grandfathers and those I knew who had fought in the war. My first camera was a small hand-held one that took decent pictures, but was too small to really capture any of the details on the tanks and planes themselves. I vividly remember the first time I ever did outdoor toy photography. It was in my backyard, which is basically a small part of a large forest, and I set up a knocked out U.S. M4A3 Sherman tank with some American infantry fighting alongside it. I liked the picture so much that I had it made printed off at Walgreens, and now its somewhere in my room back home. Although I had been given that small camera for my 13th birthday, it wasn’t until my Sophomore year of High School that my love for taking pictures really took off.
Right Max is not a photographer who is afraid to get out and about to get the best shots possible
I had been given an iPhone 4 for my birthday, and I quickly realized just how good the camera was at the time. I was able to take pictures of my ever growing collection of rare and fairly expensive Forces of Valor models, and since it was on my phone, I realized I could simply take the picture and post it to Instagram, the biggest photo sharing app at the time. Before then, I had never really cared for Instagram.
“...IN ESSENCE I’M STILL THAT KID PLAYING WITH HIS MODEL TANKS IN THE BACKYARD...” It was something that all the girls in my class would talk and gossip about, so I thought of it as a pretty girly thing. It wasn’t until after I made my personal account in late 2012 that I came around to the idea of making an Instagram dedicated solely to my Forces of Valor collection. Along with that, I had lost my grandfather in June of 2012 was getting picked on in school for something that happened the year before and my love of Military History, so I saw it as a way to escape from reality and be alone with my thoughts. When I first made my page, I simply took a picture of a tank, wrote what kind of tank it was, where it fought, and a few hashtags to go along with it all. I was using really specific hashtags, but it wasn’t until I included the hashtag “toy” that I realized a lot of other people were doing what I was doing. No matter how hard I looked, however, I never saw someone using model tanks like mine for this so-called “Toy Photography”, so I embraced that and started following some accounts that I thought were really cool and a lot like me in hopes that they would notice me.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE MAX SABIN
One account in particular belonged to a man named Mike. He didn’t do toy photography all the time, but when he did, I loved his shots. I remember breaking the ice and asking him about what kind of music he would listen to while he was in the military, as I could see from some of his posts that he had fought in Iraq. He was very kind to me, and I quickly considered him one of my greatest “mentors” on IG. He was someone I could turn to and trust on an app that I was brand new to, and through him I was introduced to a ton of other accounts just like his that featured content that I enjoyed and enjoyed mine as well. As time went on, I noticed I was getting a lot of attention from those who were actually in the service, and it was one of those followers who suggested that I take my models outside. I was skeptical at first, as these tanks weren’t the cheap ones that I had gotten for Christmas or my birthday, so I decided to try it with one of my older tanks that I had
customized and considered my best “work”. The feedback I received was amazing. It was from that point on that I started bringing my tanks outside and setting them up in my backyard, doing what I had done several years earlier, only this time I had a camera in my hands. That’s basically where I am today. Granted, I now have my License, but in essence I’m still that kid playing with his model tanks in the backyard, telling myself fictional stories as I arrange the soldiers and tanks in different positions and locations. As many of you know, I love writing just as much as I love photography. They are two outlets that allow me to really express my thoughts and emotions at the time. For instance, I’ll write a story that is more happy when I’m feeling happy, and sad when I’m sad. Don’t think I’m always sad just because a lot of the stories my be sad back to back, its just that I feel more comfortable writing sad stories and have
more experience writing them too. Since I live in the great state of Minnesota, I get to work with a wide range of environments (and temperatures) for my outdoor shots. There have been some days during the summer that I’ve packed a cooler full of water and worn shorts, an old muscle shirt from my High School football days, and a pair of old tennis shoes. On the contrary, there have been some instances during the winter were I’ve worn snow pants, snow boots and a thick winter jacket only to stay outside for a couple minutes because the temperatures were just too extreme (like I said, Minnesota is nuts some times). For most of the shots that I have taken for Exclu Design Collective, they were taken in late December when it was rather cold outside, although a few of them are from the summer months.
F E AT U R E NICKSON TIRTANADI @_MR_RAINBOW
REJUVENATED AND READY My name is Nickson Tirtanadi and I started collecting toys in 2013 and began to engage with Toy Photography in late 2014 using my phone. After I got a DSLR camera I took the hobby more seriously and created my photography account @_mr_rainbow. The philosophy behind that name is that I intend to make my followers’ day more colourful through my art (eww.. so cheesy I know). As times has gone by, I’ve met so many amazing people who keep encouraging me in this hobby. The person that I remember the most is my friend Sophie Riswandono (@cemen_rider). He is the one who kept showing appreciation when I first started toy photography and it really meant a lot to me as a newbie. Since then, I keep meeting new people in my beloved local community: “Behind the Scene Toys Photography Indonesia”. I never knew that there were so many people who shares the same passion as me before. Also, there are so many fellow toys photographer’s from other countries that I’ve met through Instagram and so thanks to @toypops2 who created a really amazing community for us toy photographers - I always appreciate their hard-work.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE NICKSON TIRTANDI
Recently I just sold most of my 1/12 scale figures, leaving only Power Ranger SHFiguarts and I’ve begun to collect 1/6 scale. really a big decision for me as I traded more than 40 figures for no more than 10 1/6 scale figures. It means my choices of action figure to shoot is kind of limited now. However, trying new stuff in toy photography is always one of many things that keeps me motivated so I think I’m not going to regret selling most of my collection. I can say though that this new experience of taking 1/6
scale figure shot’s is amazing as I now do many close-up shot’s that I’ve never done before. As for my shot ideas, I’m mostly inspired by many awesome toy photographers such as @hot.kenobi, @bmyhero, @sgtbananas, @d_amazing, @ metallix_xd, @ovic_yulkarnain, @qbal12, and many more. Sometimes I also use google as a point of reference, mainly for posing so the figure won’t look stiff and unnatural. I also love to recreate movie scene’s or improvise my shots based on an existing scene. Some iconic scene’s that I have done is the Batman & Joker in the interrogation room scene from the Dark Knight and Iron man vs Captain America from Civil War. I see my photo style changing and I don’t have any specific or unique tone or style that some of toy photographers have. I used to love bright tone’s and I took many bright outdoor shots with my figure’s but my recent shots are mostly ‘dark’ but this will most likely change again in the future when I take a liking to a certain style or tone. There was also a time when I didn’t feel like taking photos at all. I took a break for three months from September to November 2016 and I didn’t even check my Instagram. I don’t know why but I had no Inspiration at all during that time and I also got bored with my figures. After that I started taking photos again after I got myself a complete set of SHFiguarts Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which were on my long time wish-list. I think everyone must have that moment in their toy photography journey.
“KEEP SHOOTING, KEEP SHARING!”
In the future I see toy photography becoming more popular than ever as people now-a-days are more educated about toys. As the community keeps growing I hope we will not just aim for likes or followers but always keep showing appreciation and respect each to other, as it is what keeps us, or at least me, going. I’m really glad to be part of this community’s journey and I also thank every the team at Exclu who are willing to create this kind of platform for us toy photographers. You guys are awesome! Lastly, let’s make more friends and not enemies. Keep shooting, keep sharing!
Opposite Top Left Its Morphin Time!
REVIEW BEAST KINGDOM EGGATTACK SERIES
MARK 45 IRON MAN We continue in our series of reviews focusing on the offers of manufacturer Beast Kingom in a bid to offer an impartial look at the EggAttack figure line that is growing in popularity and presence within the community. Weâ€™re taking a break from the Star Wars figures and shifting over to the Marvel Universe to review the Iron Man Mark 45 EggAttack figure covering each aspect from aesthetics to posing and photographic practicality. You can check out pur previous reviews over on exclucollective.com and be sure to let us know your thoughts and opinions on the figures too to build up a conversation of the figure line as a whole.
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE FIGURE REVIEW
Stylisted figures and the Art Toy Movement are experiencing an incredible period of popularity with brands such as Funko propelling the genre directly into the mainstream market and are arguably one of the biggest Toy Brands off today outside of the traditional top dogs like Hasbro and Mattel. This period of confidence in stylised toys has allowed manufacturers such as Beast Kingdom to create and expand their own takes on popular characters from the biggest licenses like Star Wars and Marvel. The Mark 45 Iron Man EggAttack is derived from the Marvel Blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and has to be most detailed all round impressive EggAttack that I’ve come into contact with. Starting with the general appearance of the figures its clear to see the work that has gone into both the sculpt and the paint application - two areas that can plague figure makers - helping to create an instantly appealing outward look. The application extends across the accessories and into the small details through Stark’s suit from drag flaps on the back right down the split-foot. If a figure can get this right then its already on its way to becoming a respected figure. The price point for the EggAttack line does already suggest that higher level of quality and the actual figure itself really does justify the price based on appearance alone.
Details • • • • • • •
Beast Kingom EAA-021 LED Light Up Eyes LED Light Up Arc Reactor Die Cast Knee Joints 6 Inch Avengers Plastic Stand
• 2x Figure Support Stands
Accessories • • • •
3x Total Pair of Hands Magnetic Hand Blast Points Plastic Hand Lasers Magenetic Feet Blast Points
Articulation, especially in the Toy Photography community , is perhaps the single most important part of a figure as it aids immensly in the creative process. The Iron Man has a huge range of posing points allowing for the re-creation of famous character poses and the creation of new and original stands. The arms in particular are really great on this figure and although there is only the standard 3 articulation points (Shoulders, elbow and wrist) it comes coupled with the extensive detailing of the suit to allow the poser a really in-depth means of creating a scene. Whilst not strictly articulation points there are added areas of details that
move in the form of drag flaps that extend from the back of the figure as seen above. Its a small touch but helps to raise the figure above your average Iron Man but that does of course come with the far higher price point that a Marvel Legends figure. The special features on this particular figure comes in the form of the light up eyes and the Arc Reactor in the chest which add that little bit of realism. The mask is held in place by magnets allowing access to the battery bay. The magnets are a common component of the figure and hold in place the blast effects from the both the palm of the hands and the base of the feet.
The accessories of the figure are also of a really good standard and variety from lasers that extend up from the base of the wrist , to various hand poses and blast effects for the hands and feet which is a good selection for a stylised figures. All in all the various components of the figure from the articulations points to the various accessories and even down the paint application combine to create a really stand out figure from the EggAttack line so if youâ€™re looking for a figure that is both below the more premium price points set by Hot Toys and Sideshow but want more depth than a Marvel Legend then this is the figure for you.
F E AT U R E CATCH-UP CHASE WOODS
JUST CHECKING IN We always love to stay in touch with all the photographers that we feature whther it be through exclucollective.com or our magazines as its great to continue to track their development and to stay up-to-date with all their latest shoots. Weâ€™re checking in with a few guys from Issue 2 to get the lowdown on their recent projects and to see how they have continued pushing their own photographic boundaries to ensure that their photography remains as fresh and innovative as possible.
Cover Image Chase Woods
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ARTIST CATCH-UP
CHASE WOODS We catch up with one of the stand-out photographers from Issue 2 to get the lowdown on the projects that Chase has been working on since we last chatted back in December.
Hello everyone, I hope all is well. I guess it’s update time! The months following the release of Exclu issue two have been rather busy for me. Not so much with photography but with my personal life. In November my wife and I finally made it official and got married! We are both very happy and life has been great. Then in December we had the holiday season and in January Ana and I celebrated our birthday week (we are four days apart) in New Orleans, LA. Needless to say we have been quite busy, but in a good way. But, back to the issues at hand, the update! As we all know holidays and birthdays mean I have acquired new toys to photograph, although I haven’t really had to the time of late to do so. One major addition to my collection was the completion of my first custom 1/6 scale figure, Bane. He is quite possibly my favorite cinematic villain of all time, so expect to see a lot more of him in the future.
Also, among the new 1/6 scale and Playarts Kai figures everyone has become accustomed to seeing me photograph, there are some new recruits that are of various sized scales which I don’t normally work with, so it will be fun to experiment with them. Additionally, I’ve been squeezing in some time to complete more of my Gundam models and incorporate them into my photography. Although I haven’t been as engrossed in doing photo shoots as of late, it’s kind of nice to get back to where it all started; my love of toys and the characters they represent, the joy I get when I finish a Gundam model kit, or the excitement of customizing an action figure to my ideal representation of my favorite super villain. With this I hope to keep moving forward and challenge myself to become a better more creative photographer. Inspiration is all around us, I look forward to seeing the community continue to progress. And I am excited for what the future holds!
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE ARTIST CATCH-UP
MARK WALKER Hot on the heels of his Rogue One Competition Win , Mark was featured as a prize in Issue 2 and now we’re checking in to see what projects and series he has been working on since.
In my article in issue 2 I talked about being a part of a small group of photographers with a chat feed going on behind the scenes of Instagram. This year we’ve decided to launch a little monthly challenge where by we set a theme or brief and create a shot with the hashtag #SWBSStrikesBack. January’s theme was ‘Star Wars Mash Ups’ and as well as the image I posted to IG of the SHFiguarts Tony Stark (incredible figure!) giving the Revoltech C-3PO’s (another amazing figure!!) leg a tune up, I created this shot with the caption “Look kid, im no expert in this stuff, but I’m pretty sure you should be doing this yourself” in mind. Once again the detail on the Bandai figures really lends itself to close up shots. Im looking forward to seeing how our challenge progresses through the year.
Something else new for 2017 that I’m excited about is that by suggestion of my wife, I’ve started a Toy Photography blog! I’m planning on using this space to explain behind the scenes tips and techniques, talk about the kit I use, review some of the toys I shoot, and to shoot the breeze about the hobby in general. The blog address is toysinfocus. blog and although I’ve only written a few posts at present I’m really enjoying shooting with the blog in mind!
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE
“SO WITH THAT BEING SAID, THE FUTURE OF THE TOY PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY IS EXPANDING AND ENDLESS” JEFF LEBARRON @DARKSIDESINCE77
SPECIAL THANKS JEFF LEBARRON @DARKSIDESINCE77 JAX NAVARRO @PLASTICACTION MAX SABIN @FOVMODELS JENNIFER WELLS @JENNIFERNICHOLEWELLS MICHAL SKRZYPCZYK @MISIEKMISTRZ JACOB PEYTON @ALASKANSTORMTROOPER DONOVAN GUERTIN @WARVIEWS NICKSON TIRTANDI @_MR_RAINBOW RYAN FOGG @SERIES209 FELIPE MONARDES MENA @REBELPELICANO
YUDHA ALWIN @TOYSNOOP ROHAZMI BIN ROHANI @AZ_7R AZWAN KABAR @TOYFLOXIN MARKWALKER @MARKWALKERPHOTO CHASE WOODS @_VISIONS_OF_GREY_ ADAM MCGRATH @THE_CHIP_MONSTERS COSMIC TOYS @COSMICTOYS TOYTHUG @TOYTHUG BEAST KINGDOM @BEAST_KINGDOM
THE EXCLU NETWORK jASON YANG @WORKMOREORLESS
SPENCER WITT @SWITTPICS
SHAHZAD BHIWANDIWALA @SBPHOTOGRAPHS1
Issue 3 March â€˜17
The 3rd Issue of The Exclu Design Collective's bi-monthly showcasing publication taking a closer look at the individuals and platforms that...
Published on Mar 1, 2017
The 3rd Issue of The Exclu Design Collective's bi-monthly showcasing publication taking a closer look at the individuals and platforms that...