Jack Sturman email@example.com
Editor / Marketing
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Lewis Woollard firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Eglington email@example.com
@exclucollective Facebook/excludesigncollective excludesigncollective.bigcartel.com
Isaac Renteria @isaac.renteria
EXCLU is a design collective that combines artistic talent with contemporary popular culture. Our aim is to give both professional and amateur designers a digital exhibition space from where they can show off their work. We also strive to promote emerging sub-genres such as Toy photography and help to give them the exposure and recognition that they deserve. As a collective we actively encourage collaborations and themed projects with artists and designers in the the community that will strive to shine the spotlight onto new and emerging techniques and practises. The artists that we look to feature all share a passion for popular culture in its various guises from film and television to games and comics.
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A conversation With. @isaac.renteria
Spencer Witt Artist Insight. @swittpics
Dano Wong Artist Insight.
Will Barker Artist Insight.
Danny Oâ€™Toole Artist Insight.
David Cubero Artist Insight.
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Oghuzhan Poyraz A conversation With. @ozzhead
Chris Rose Artist Insight.
Marcus Excell Artist Insight. @mexcell90
Shahzad Bhiwandiwala Artist Insight.
Yogi Karsana Artist Insight. @bmyhero
A Conversation With. @workmoreorless
In our first ever Exclu cover feature interview, we had the privilege to chat with Isaac Renteria; a pop culture photographer with a new vision for his genre. With a solid following on social media and a glowing portfolio, we spoke about how he grew up with art, his creative influences, cutting edge style and his main dream as an artist...
Hi Isaac! How is everything going for you at the moment? Hello! These last few weeks have been a bit stressful because of my work but I really enjoy it. Also I’m so happy to have a chat with you, I feel honored! We feel very honored too! For some of our readers who don’t know, could you explain a bit about your work and how you’ve developed your unique style? Well, I’m a 32 year old artist based in Mexico; I do painting’s, sculpture’s and photography (which I’m known more for); basically toy photography and still life. I’m not sure how to describe my style, but a sure thing I can say is that each photo is created by something important to me in that moment. Everything from events, to feelings from boredom, to the desire of being provocative. Because of that, I think the word “selfish” may fit to my work instead of doing what the most people expect toy photography to be. I show my own vision. I often use characters from the popular culture, but they are not treated as celebrities, instead they are brought down and set in a place where they are just symbols of mass consumption. My work is always in the search of showing that toy photography is not a minor genre like other photographers think. We could do more than film re-interpretations or funny scenes. Undoubtedly, many artists have inspired me and in a way, my work has little tones of their 6
works. I could name some such as, Rene Magritte, Edward Hopper, Jack Vetrianno and photographers like Irving Penn and Guy Bourdin. We’ve read on your Instagram in a piece called “Why?” that art has been a big part of your families and your own life for some time now, so do you think with your father being a creative himself, that has inspired your work in any way? Completely! The first memories I have of my father are of him creating wood sculptures of anything he had in mind, haha! He spent more time in his workshop than with us. Of course we could “visit” him as long as we let him work in peace. I mean; we could see his passion and effort in each piece and how much he enjoyed the process. I remember the bookshelves in our home full of books about art, home décor, everything culture related, photography and sculptures. Everything was related to art. Also my mother is an awesome interior designer, so I’ve learned from both. Before I decided to be a photographer at the age of 20, I started to work with him designing furniture but some of my designs were sold as “art” more than furniture. The people who bought them found them quite uncomfortable but visually pleasant (In their words), So we began to think I should try a different work and leave the furniture design to the experts.
Continued... Minimalism has become something inherited in my work and the cause is my father’s vision. He understood that movement so well because he lived its best age in his youth and in a way of speaking, he embraced it so tight that he passed it onto me unintentionally. My three older brothers “escaped” from art but not me; since a younger age I knew I must make art my way of living. We’re glad you chose art! For any of our readers who are aspiring to be creative and to make a career out of their art, what advice would you give them moving forward in the modern era? I would suggest to keep doing what they enjoy. Although at first they don’t get much attention, the only way to bear criticism, insufficient attention or the lack of sales is by doing what you like and what makes you feel good. Also, give a complete freedom to creativity and don’t automatically depreciate your ideas by thinking what others will say or thinking your idea is kind of dumb. Just try everything and usually while trying, you will find a better idea or a complete new one. Paint, burn, break, be provocative, write backwards, turn your photo (or painting) upside down and find another use for simple things. Do not copy. It’s true that when we are beginners, the need of artists who inspire us is basic but we need to find our own style as we go on. 8
EXCLU Compete with your latest work; put all attention in your work first, don’t look for opportunities. Opportunities will find you sooner or later. Great advice! It’s clear to see that you like to use color to bring your photography to life and give basic concepts a such as a piece of Lego a huge lift, so what would be your personal highlight from your portfolio? Yeah, I love saturated colours! In fact my favorite photo is one called “In the upper room” and it is a complete saturated photo using only blue and orange. This piece is part of a photo series inspired in Sandy Skoglund’s work. “In the upper room” is a turning point in my work. I don’t know why, but after doing that photo my way of thinking was different. I started to let myself to be ‘more free’ when taking about creativity. Even though it’s a very simple shot, it means a lot to me. “In the upper room” is one of my photos that makes me go back whilst looking at my gallery.
EXCLU By doing away with film re-interpretations and bringing Toy photography into its own art, you have made some really engaging projects, but what direction do you see the industry moving in? When we talk about toy photography focused in art, it’s difficult to guess its future. We could start by seeing how it begins. A toy photographer is usually a person who is barely a photographer or an artist; he only want to show a scene he made, so he takes a photo and uploads it to social media. As he gets more attention or gets more interested in toy photography, he starts to search for inspiration (as I mentioned in your question about beginners advice) and usually finds the same three or four popular artists who represent the movement, and who have placed “the higher standard” in toy photography. Nowadays, we can realize that although their works are at first sight striking, the ability to impress with their works dissolves after seeing the same all over again; just like fireworks do. So I think the lack of toy photographers focused in art, left the new photographer with very few choices when they look for inspiration.
Instagram and other emerging art collectives like Exclu, we the artist will have the opportunity to make our work more known and make toy photography a more diverse community. Thanks! We pride ourselves on providing a platform. Do you believe that there should be a gallery/location where Toy photography and art is dominant, and do you think it’ll ever happen? Definitely! I think toy photography community has grown quite fast but as I said before, it has grown but not focused on art. Many photographers think toy photography is a minor genre but we need more support to the artists who dare to create different content, and to give them the opportunity to show their work, and a gallery, may be a great way to encourage this. Yeah, I believe it could happen if the correct people join to make it possible. The project will need people who love what they do and have faith in it. We all know that earnings are important but I think the first goal of starting a project like this with a new concept is to hold it up.
I think unless more and more toy photographers change their standards and dare to create different content, the industry is moving into a loop. But I’m faithful that won’t happen, thanks to platforms like
In terms of your own career now, what would be the ultimate goal as an artist? That’s difficult to answer, haha! I think I have achieved my most desired goal, which was to dedicate my complete time doing photography and also sell my work, and in order to give people a further insight into my work. I decided to involve myself in the process of building the wooden frames for my photos (Unfortunately I can`t do that outside Mexico at the moment). So in that way, the buyers have a complete work of the artist; the intellectual work and the physical labor. Also in a near future, I’m planning to make a book with my best photos. I think my ultimate goal would be to become a pioneer of an Avant Garde based in toy photography. There’s no doubt you can achieve it! We absolutely adore your Global Warming style pieces in your portfolio, but how did you go about creating them and where did the idea originate? Thank you very much! “Global warming” has become a big surprise for me; it was very well received even though it born as a critic against our habits of consumption. Also, I wanted to show the contradiction that we find in plastic toys (especially in this brand that makes tons of toys). Between the purpose of the toy and how harmful the process is, and that is where the color red adds more information about the meaning. Social messages are better received when they’re presented by toy photography. We also love that your style can be quite varied in the way of props, but out of all the props on your list, what has been 12
your most challenging to use?
I think Lego pieces are quite peculiar and challenging for photographing. They’re blocks; a geometric shape, but unlike other toys, they have no face so we don’t have any emotion to work with. All this emotionlessness lets your create with complete freedom. That’s why I have chosen Lego as the most challenging prop. Finally, what projects have you got lined up for us heading into the winter period? We can’t wait to see more of your work soon! I’m very exited because there are some interesting projects returning to series that for one reason or another, I left. For example, the series inspired by Sandy Skoglund; an original series called “ Electric” and “Global warming”. I have a project called “Tribute to” which basically is to make a list of the artist (Photographers and painters) that have inspired me and make photo shoots combining both styles. And there are some options to collaborate in Toy photography galleries, so this winter period, I will be a bit busy which makes me quite happy! Stay tuned my Instagram, Flickr and Facebook page! Thanks for your time Isaac, it has been a pleasure having you on board here at Exclu and we hope to collaborate again in the near future. You’re welcome! it was my pleasure to have this chat with you. Thank you for the invitation and I wish the very best to Exclu! 13
SPENCER WITT @swittpics
â€œMy background in nature photography has spilled over unto my toy photography. My style and my technique has developed and changed over time. I like to recreate scenes from movies, or photos inspired from movies. I also try to pose the figures in a way that creates some kind of emotion. I am inspired by other photographers to try new things with my photography, whether it be an action shot using fireworks and compressed air, black and white, or using nature as a backdrop. This type of photography has so much potential, whether it be ultra macro photography, to wide-screen nature landscapes. I am still developing my style and artistic direction, but I enjoy trying new things and pushing the boundaries with my photography.â€?
DANO WONG @mybrickandbutter
I still feel being called an artist is a little far-fetched. A little over a year ago, that was the last thing I could ever imagine. As a science degree holder, I had no prior artistic background. My passion for toy photography started purely because I wanted to give life to my growing collection of Lego sets and minifigurines. That, and of course the release of The Lego Movie made me realize that it could work. The funny thing is, I only realized there was a huge community of toy photographers when some of them started interacting with my posts. Great works from @avanaut, @samsofy.s, @dreepycark and @isaac.renteria, to name a few, are what I found truly inspirational in my earlier days - and even now they never cease to amaze me. My work is all about telling stories, and to tell each story within a single photograph.
The account name “mybrickandbutter” came after much thought about telling stories by having toys interacting with real world objects. It’s an obvious word play of “my bread and butter” with brick representing Lego, and butter representing something from real life. During the first few months I learnt what works, and what doesn’t from the community’s interaction. I’ve switched from shooting simple poses on plain background, to scouting around town for suitable outdoor shots. Recently I’ve added building miniature settings for my work. For now, I enjoy spending my free time picturing new ideas while looking at my growing collection. Sometimes these ideas fail at execution but when they turn out well, the satisfaction from that is what keeps me going. That, and having my girlfriend (now fiance) as my biggest fan truly helps to make the journey much more enjoyable. Follow @mybrickandbutter for the full range of Dano’s work
WILL BARKER @division_skywalker
Being a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I was instantly captivated by the first toy photography picture to show up on my Instagram feed. An amateur filmmaker with a passion for creativity, I soon found myself with a new hobby I couldnâ€™t resist, despite my busy schedule as a sophomore in college with a part-time job. So far I am self taught and my style leans towards dramatic images, focusing on landscape and topography, though sometimes I let loose and snap a few light hearted pictures. If anyone is interested in joining the toy photography community donâ€™t be intimidated, a plethora of photographers will go out of their way to help you along your journey.
DANNY Oâ€™TOOLE @the_rocket_age
I like to get in really close with the camera, often times leaving parts of the subjects out of the frame, or a part of the action happening only somewhat in the frame. It breaks rules, but lends itself well to creating a sense of urgency. When I canâ€™t get something the way I like it in camera, I will often hack at it with the crop tool until I get something I like looking at. Sometimes I go out and I feel like shooting some kind of action scene, other times I will just shoot what ends up being an environmental portrait. But I always want to up the realness factor, the grit level- trying to tell at the very least a part of a story using these little toys. Each image is like an ultra short film. I always think of the movies made by Michael Mann and Tony Scott when I am shooting and editing. I grew up watching the work of these directors and they, along with some others, have had a huge influence on the way I like to frame things and create my images.
DAVID CUBERO David Cubero Pascual, Barcelona, Spain. Born in 1976 -Compositing Artist for Movies and Animation, worked for several animation and movie companies and now I have my own studio where we make VFX for Ads and motion graphics. We also have a little 3D printing area. I started shooting pics of my toys with my iPhone around 6 years ago to have a library of posing actions as a reference while I was drawing some comic books. Soon I realized that that pics had their own life and just needed a little caption to be like a little comic strip. I started sharing them on facebook and other social media platforms and saw that there were other people doing the same. After five years I have tried to improve the lighting and edits in my photos as I try to make new themes.
The toy photography community grows every day and there is a big creativity behind almost every toy photographer, seeing other peopleâ€™s work is always encouraging and motivates us to make better pics every time. Maybe the best part of all the toy photo stream is that is there is no gain anywhere, just the fact of sharing your work around and wait for the feedback of your friends. We all just do it for fun, thatâ€™s the main point. Follow Davids work on these platforms instagram @suppaduppa666 www.facebook.com/SuppaDuppa666 www.flickr.com/photos/suppaduppa666 twitter.com/suppaduppa666 suppaduppa666.tumblr.com
After discovering some of Ozzheads quirky pop culture photography on Instagram, we instantly became huge fans of his work. With a love of beer and all things Star Wars, Ozz took some time out of his summer vacation to talk about how he came to adore Guinness, his opinions on social media and why you should never let your inner child dieâ€Ś
Hi Ozzhead! How is everything going for you at the moment? Thank you, everything is fine at the moment. First of all, I am a Turkish citizen. Until only a short time ago I was living in Istanbul and working for a popular newspaper as an editor. In February, I decided to leave my job, and my wife and I moved to a little village on the south-western coast of the Aegean sea. Before we left, I packed all my mini figures and toys. Soon the car was full of toys. My wife was oaky with that, as she packed too many clothes and shoes that she would never wear anyway. Luckily there was some room left in the car for me and my wife. I spend my days walking, swimming, reading, discovering and photography. I enjoy serenity of nature away from crowd and noise of city. Fantastic! Your account is now just over two years old, has over a thousand posts and is constantly growing in popularity, did you ever think your work would gain as much attention as it has? In fact, it has been over 4 years! Originally, I started taking photos of momijis as a hobby and then I opened my Instagram account to enter competitions organized by @bywonderland in Turkey and @momijihq in England, and won many prizes. I did not have many followers then but I really did not mind.
Afterwards, I combined Star Wars and Lego mini figures together to create new stories and found my style. And guess what? Lots of people started following me. I knew that most people loved Star Wars and Storm Trooper mini figures but this was not the reason why I photographed them; because I loved photography and I loved taking photos of Storm Troopers. I used my imagination and my childhood fantasies in my projects. So, Iâ€™m very moved by the fact that people are drawn into my photographs. Your pictures are great! Weâ€™re real fans of the humour you bring to life in your toy photography collective, so in what way does your style reflect on your personality? Well, thank you. I am 42 years old and I collect a lot of stuff such as comic books, Star Wars figures and Legos. Some people think collecting toys is childish. I used to feel so alone and thought I was the only one collecting such items, but I was wrong. Thanks to Instagram, I know now that there are many others in the world who share my passion for toys. Toy photography introduced me to new friends and taken me across the world on crazy adventures. I am still a child at heart. My photographs demonstrate my imagination, creativity, my past and what I dream of every night.
Lego is a very dominant in your photography too, so have you had any plans to expand on this style or do you tend to keep your themes more concentrated?
I wish I could say that I love all my photographs. When I look back I see some really bad photographs but I never delete them, because they are my own work, they are an evidence that I got better in time.
Lego mini figures are adorable and their photographs are shared by many social media users. I never want to concentrate on one style or theme. Each toy has a place in a different story. When I think of an idea, I have to think of which toy or toys to use to create a wacky theme. I always have an idea of how the final outcome should look.
If I can choose one on the basis of good lighting and the end result my favourite piece is “Alone in the Dark”. I would say the cutest piece is “Crime and punishment”.
If I am not happy with the end result (my wife will tell me if it is not good enough anyway) I will change everything. If the photo does not come out right again it will go into unused photographs folder. So I can’t really say whether or not I will be focusing on Lego in the future. It all depends what I think or imagine at the time. Brilliant! From Storm Troopers kick flipping skateboards, to BB-8 rocking bunny ears, your imagery certainly catches Instagram users eyes, so if you had to choose a favorite piece, what would it be?
Great choice! And you often like to use props too! Beer is one that we’ve seen cropping up and you state in your bio ‘I believe in I’ll have another beer’. So what would you rather do, crack a can of Guinness with Darth Vader or enjoy an Efes with Homer Simpson? Very good question! By the way, when I heard this question I thought of a new theme. If I go ahead with the theme and publish I will let you know. Anyway, Homer and Vader, Guinness and Efes… In my opinion none of them are dispensable. My brother in law is English and he introduced me to Guinness. Years ago, I visited him and he offered ma a pint of warm Guinness and I hated it.
Continued... Another day, I was cycling in Cranleigh and it started raining.I got really wet and wanted to warm up in a pub. I ordered myself a pint; it was in the afternoon and people sitting next to me were drinking Guinness. They started talking to me and told me that Guinness was the best beer. One of them actually said he was Robert Plant’s neighbour and he bought me a half pint of cold Guinness. I took a small sip from Guinness and loved it. I had to walk home that day but that is how Guinness came into my life. The same year my brother in law bought me a mini fridge full of Guinness cans as a Christmas present. So, I can’t really choose between Efes and Guinness. I think I would love to have a few pints of Efes with Homer then after Homer passed out I would have Guinness with Vader. Have you tried Efes? If not, I would recommend that you try. You can find buy it from Tesco! We’ll have to get some in at the office! Going off track a little, Hodor is mentioned a few times within your feed as well, but which Game of Thrones character is next to bite the bullet in your opinion? Hold the door and Hodor! I am looking forward to watching the new series soon. I was really upset when Ned Stark died. I was very surprised when Jon Snow got killed and I shared Jon’s photograph saying, “I’ll be back”. I knew that he was not dead and would be back. I could say the same thing about Han Solo. I have an idea of who is going to die next (or who is going to sit on the Iron throne), but 40
I don’t want to give any clues and make the GOT fans upset; however I might share a new photo just before the new season and let you know my prediction. Just watch this space! We’ll keep an eye out! Moving aside from beer and GoT, Instagram is now proving to be a huge platform for budding artists, but what are your thoughts on it being someone who has had success using the social media? Instagram was quite simple at the beginning; we were taking photos then adding some simple filters and sharing them. It was great! When Facebook bought Instagram everything changed such as the brown logo, user preferences, filters etc. I will not even mention the silly adverts and boring photos on the home page. Everyone is copying and pasting each other’s photos. Sad really… On the other hand Instagram/social media allows us to contact anyone in the world and share our interests or elements of our life. One of the main advantages of social media is that people update themselves from the latest happenings around the world. Newspapers and TV channels are using social media for marketing purposes. The number of Instagram users is raising and everyone wants to take a photo and share on Instagram. For example when I was working on my latest project “Castaway”, everyone on the beach was taking the photos of me. Who knows how many people shared pictures of me working on my project.
EXCLU Do you believe that Toy Photography will have a bigger and brighter future ahead because of it? Toy photography has been out there for years. Flickr and Deviantart had a lot of groups that were dedicated to this purpose. However, Instagram was a revolutiownary platform for us toy photographers. Some toy photographers have more than 10,000 followers. I think the number of their followers will go up. Society is changing via our mobile phones, iPads -the way we share information with the others. Do you know anyone who does not have Facebook or Instagram account? Well, I donâ€™t. I think Instagram is the future for toy photography, however that does not mean every toy photographer will be successful on Instagram. Some will win, some will lose. Back to your art now and there have been a few greats over the years, but past or present, which photographer or artist would you have most liked to have collaborated with and why? There are very good photographers on Instagram and some of them are really worth following, in particular, Vesa Lehtimaki (@avanaut). His projects and photographs are excellent and his techniques are very different than anyone else. I would love to collaborate with him. It would be great fun to watch him while he takes his photos, get to know his techniques and of course have a cold beer afterwards.
We’d love to see it happen. Finally, where do you see the future for your photography and will there be any prints available to purchase soon? We’d love to have one in the Exclu office! I don’t think I am going to be famous or anything but I will continue to take photos of toys and mini figures. Currently, I don’t have a web site but I am working on it. I will let you know when I do. We look forward to it! Thanks! It’s been a pleasure chatting to you, bye! I would like to thank you guys for the invitation to participate in such a great project. I am very happy to be part of it. I hope your inner child never dies. May the force be with you… To see more of Oguzhans’ work be sure to follow him @ozzhead
CHRIS ROSE @chrisrosephoto I’ve always been a big fan of Star Wars and I’ve collected Star Wars toys and figures on and off since I was six years old. I studied photography briefly during my teens but only got a DSLR in 2009. When I stumbled across some of the amazing toy photography online, I thought I’d have a go at it myself. It seemed a natural progression to combine these two longstanding interests. I’ve always loved imagining the ‘backstories’ of the characters, wondering what happened once the main story had ended, or just making up my own tales for them. I hope my photos help bring forth a new dimension to some of these characters that I’ve known and loved for so long. I also love to try and add a degree of humour to my images. 44
I get a lot of inspiration from fellow photographers on Instagram and I like to try out new techniques that I pick up from them. Sometimes I’ll look at a figure and have an idea of a shot or scene I’d like to set up, then I’ll carry that figure around in my camera bag until the opportunity arises to capture the shot.
Sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head for months before it makes its way to becoming a photo.I prefer to try and create scenes and shots in front of the camera rather than post production. I’ll add the odd lightsaber here and there but I try to keep most effects practical as you can’t beat natural lighting. I’ve sold my prints at UK comic cons and I love to see and hear the positive reactions my work draws from such a wide range of people. I often wonder if there’s something there that connects them with their own childhood memories too.’ See Chris’ online portfolio at chrisrosephotography.com
MARCUS EXCELL @mexcell90 My name is Marcus Excell. I am an amateur photographer and videographer from Northern California. When I am not working my day job as an I.T technician, I am “nerding out” and taking photographs of my action figures. I truly enjoy Toy Photography because of the full control you have in expressing yourself artistically. It’s an incredible feeling to create a setting, a story and a world with characters that you’ve grown up with.
I truly enjoyed the instant gratification of creating and capturing stories with full control of my creative vision, that I wanted to keep doing this and perfect my craft. With my passion for all things sci-fi, I try my best to pay homage to the characters I adore, through my photography. I want each shot to highlight the characters personality, regardless of whatever I have them doing.
Sometimes I have my toys doing things that reference something they would do in their own respective world (movie, game, etc…), or I got into toy photography by accident. have my toys interact with the “Big world” they I actually bought my first DSLR with the live in. Regardless I try to do something that intentions of capturing photos and videos of the fans of these characters would appreciate. places I’ve experienced for my personal I enjoy bringing these characters to life with pleasure. To practice composition, lighting and my art. It’s an amazing feeling to share my other principles, I took pictures of a couple of work with a community who also enjoy these action figures I had lying around. Using toys characters as much as I do. allowed me to take my time with figuring out settings on my camera and practicing shooting techniques in a controlled environment.
SHAHZAD BHIWANDIWALA @sbphotographs1 The entire passion for toy photography was one that was brought to the surface entirely by chance and circumstance. I was trying to figure out a hobby where I could channel my creativity and my love for all things geeky when I happened to stumble across the toy photography community on Instagram just like many toy photographers out there. Since I was already into photography since 2012 I was already pretty handy with my camera though most of it was restricted to Landscapes and usual vacation photos. I started off with basic shots of my Lego mini figures and gradually progressed towards 1:12 and 1:6 scale figures. I have always been an absolute geek for Star Wars and could have a discussion for hours on end on characters right from Darth Vader (yes, I like the dark side of the force) to Figrin Dâ€™an and the Modal Nodes (the band playing in the Mos Eisley Cantina). At present I am among the first Toy Photographers from India and hope to bring mass appeal and recognition to this category of photography. My style is more of a wing it as I go type. I would have brief write ups and stick figure sketches of what Iâ€™d like to achieve as the end
EXCLU Continued... product but very often turn the plan around on its head and wouldn’t hesitate in going with that. On the weekends I go outdoors and shoot and then during the week I would get busy in my home studio. I don’t believe in restricting myself to one style of shooting and often dabble in Photoshop as well. I’ve recently started using practical effects to create dynamic scenes. If someone were to look at my images they would seem like a still from an ongoing film, one moment captured which would ordinarily be missed. If I had to pin down a particular style to my photography it would be freezing motion style of pictures coupled with portraits. Whether shooting indoors or outdoors the passion and joy I feel while shooting is unparalleled. When it comes to lighting I am not fussy about the light source and have used everything from light bulbs and LED panels to sparklers, candles, studio lights and natural light. I feel toy photography is nothing short of an art form and should be respected and appreciated as much as any other art form out there. Some of my inspirations would be Akira Kurosawa, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. From within the Toy Photography community I am truly in awe of the work of Johnny Wu (@sgtbananas), Vesa Lehtimaki (@avanaut), Shelly Corbet (@xxsjc), Edy Hardjo (@hrjoe_photography) and Alex Brooks (@bg_toyart) among many others I follow and look up to.
YOGI KARSANA @bmyhero
My style is made up of mostly close-up shot’s because the detail of 1:6 figure are so incredible, you need to show the world how I’ve always been a big fan of Superman, amazing that paint job, head sculpture and Batman and Star Wars since I was a kid, and cloth material really is. I also use lighting style started collecting 1:6 action figure since 2013. with contrast’s between bright and dark to add I started my Toy photography journey on cinematic feel into my picture’s. Sometimes I Instagram late September 2015, before that I create toy humor photography and its look like was an ordinary 1:6 scale action figure my audience love that style but toy humor collector mostly from Hot Toys and Sideshow photography need more preparation and Collectibles. One day I looked into Facebook original idea’s so I can’t do this everyday. and saw my friend’s photo and I was blown away -that action figure looked so alive. So I I hope I can still continue this hobby until I die decided to take some photos of my diecast Star as I enjoy every process and outcome because Wars C3PO and posted it on my new Instagram for myself this hobby is my sanctuary. Going as my first photo. forward I would like to create a book - not only focusing on toy photography but also My inspirations come from many things such combining tips and tricks on how to optimize as movie scene’s, movie poster’s, comic’s and your social media presence to maximize your sometimes from some fellow Toy toy photography exposure. photographers on Instagram.
TOYS WITH TOYS
A conversation with Jason Yang
Hi Jason, how are you? Hello, Exclu! I’m doing great, thanks. First of all, it states in your bio on Instagram ‘a place to play’ when you’re not working, but how big a part of your life is your toy photography? To be honest, it has definitely become a much larger part of my life than I had ever expected. I try to stay consistent by posting a handful of new toy photos throughout the week which also means I’m shooting pretty frequently after work hours in the evenings. Having three kiddos who love toys just as much as I do also makes “playing” with toys way more enjoyable as an adult. Over the years my wife has also come to recognize that I probably won’t ever grow up and has truly been my best supporter. I’ll be the first to admit that taking pictures of toys is pretty nerdy, but I love it! You’re page is really going strong with just over five thousand followers, but what was the main goal when you originally set up workmoreorless? I still can’t believe that @workmoreorless just recently passed the 5K followers mark! For the last couple of years I started to see an abundance of toy photos pop up in my personal instagram feed. At the beginning of 2016 I decided to invest in a professional camera and give it a try - Why should they be the only ones having all the fun, right? When I created my @workmoreorless account I really didn’t have any goals other than to just have fun while sharing my appreciation for toys through my toy photos.
We absolutely love looking at your work! Especially the Star Wars photography, so I must ask, if you had to choose two elements to take out of the Star Wars universe to bring into real life, what would they be and why? There are so many great elements within the Star Wars universe, but if I had to choose two (excluding the obvious Âlightsaber), I would have to go with droids and holographic communicators. Who wouldnâ€™t want their very own R2 unit to help solve all of your firstÂworld problems? Need to automatically shut down your trash compactor? No problem! Hyperdrive letting you down again? R2 has you covered! The other thing I want that humanity should really have by now... Holographic Communicators. Of course if that was a reality I would probably always wear a Jedi
robe around everywhere I went so that when I received a transmission, I always looked ready to take on the Empire. The settings in your album are very attractive too, so when putting a shoot together, have you drawn inspiration from movie occurrences or do you prefer to have your own take? When shooting, I tend to use scenes that are relevant or familiar to the character(s) I am using. For instance, many of my first Star Wars themed photos were intentionally created to match scenes taken from the films, such as my Vader in the carbonite freezing chamber from The Empire Strikes Back, or R2 and C3PO aboard the Tantive IV from A New Hope. Over time however, I have tried to be a little more imaginative with my scenes while making sure they are still are grounded within the Star Wars universe aesthetic.
We can’t forget to mention the humorous images like the Greedo playing with smaller figures, but if you had to choose a comedy crossover for a photo with another film, what would you go for? One of my favorite directors is Wes Anderson, so a Star Wars parody with anything Wes would be quite fun. Perhaps Fantastic Mr. Fett, The Life Robotic with Artoo Detoo, or That’s No Moonrise Kingdom? I’ll have to think on that! Moving aside from Star Wars now, working in the industry has lead you to connect with some amazing artists, so who should we be following for great content like yours? Starting my @workmoreorelesss account has been a great way to meet other artists in the toy photography industry. Honestly it is the toy photography community that makes taking pictures of toys addicting and fun. I’ve met so many people who do killer work and most of them I’m fortunate enough to call friends. A couple buddies of mine, @blksrs (Isaiah) and @swittpics (Spencer) are always posting inspiring photos. We’ve even started a weekly Star Wars character themed collaboration we call #c3pbros_jsi, which has become a fun exercise for each of us. My shortlist of toy photographers you definitely need to follow are @division_skywalker, @alaskanstormtrooper, @chevy2who, @thebentpaperclip, @chezpics66, @jcmilone, @darksidesince77 and @sgtbananas.
EXCLU Obviously there are multiple platforms for showcasing work now as well, but do you ever believe there will be a place in galleries for this kind of art? I would love to see galleries showcase the work of toy photographers. I am certain that we will start seeing more toy photography enter mainstream culture as awareness of it continues to spread on platforms like Instagram. As you’re someone who has solid, professional experience in the industry, what single piece of advice would you give to someone looking to take design /creative roles up as their career? I’ve been working professionally as an animator, designer and illustrator for well over a decade. Like any industry, it has its ups and downs, but it is so rewarding to be able to design and create art for a living. For someone who is looking into a career in design, I would encourage them to find a creative community to belong to, whether it be physical or online. Surrounding yourself with those who inspire, encourage and critique you will only make you better as a creative. Thanks for your time Jason; it has been a fantastic talking with you! The honor has been mine, Exclu I greatly appreciate the opportunity. @workmoreorless
EXCLUSIVE Exclusive image fron Jason Yang - “Shadowtrooper”
EXCLUSIVE Exclusive image fron Jason Yang - “IG-88”
EXCLU DESIGN COLLECTIVE OF THINGS TO COME...
We here at EXCLU would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of our featured artistâ€™s without whom this issue wouldnâ€™t have been possible. As new-comers to this close knit community, we have been taken aback by the support and good-will directed our way in the run up to our launch. This issue signals the beginning of our relationship not only with our collaborators but also the wider Toy photography community as we seek to diversify and strengthen our content base over the coming months. We hope that you have enjoyed reading this publication as much as we have putting it together and we here at EXCLU look forward to future collaborations and interactions with this incredible community of passionate content creators. Thank You. 76
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Exclu Design Collective's Launch issue featuring work from 12 collaborating artists and designers from the Toy Photography community. Gain...
Published on Sep 28, 2016
Exclu Design Collective's Launch issue featuring work from 12 collaborating artists and designers from the Toy Photography community. Gain...