This week’s Stuck In Plastic 52 week challenge is Flexibility. Whilst the above quote is more about the subject matter, the focus that I had for this week was the challenge from the medium itself – that of flexibility in the toy itself.
Some toys offer very little flexibility and mobility – and I suspect that may be the first issue here.
Lego figures, with the exception of the characters above, are in the main fairly inflexble, with only single arcs of movement (legs go front to back, arms swing front to back, head swivels side to side etc). But they do allow for parts swappage – so I can change the head, hair, body as I need. The Technic figure has a lot more inbuilt movement – the common phrase here is “hyper mobility”.
There are three courses of action to the Lego toyphotographer – either go non-standard, go non-purist, or get creative.
Going Non-Standard is simply about using other toys which work with the world’s favourite interlocking brick construction system, or using custom parts. Megabloks for example has the franchise on Minion figures – which do offer a lot more three dimensional movement:
A while back there was a Kickstarter campaign to introduce an additional range of arm positions that was compatible with Lego. This of course, starts to move us towards non-purist photography, but does offer the appearance of more flexibility. The other aspect of non-purist is to introduce flexibility by dislocating and pulling apart the figure, then using something like BlueTack to hold the limbs in their very non-standard position.
This approach does offer a lot more flexibility and mobility into the overall image.
The final approach is that of creative photography – working within the medium. For that I’ve presented two images. The first – the boxers – is working within the medium to make the losing boxer… well, lose his head.
The second image is careful camera angles. Here, the policeman can either smell something bad, or has seen something stupid. A wider context obviously helps here – and that in itself should be the cornerstone of a good image; what is the story in the picture?
So there you have it – flexibility. I realised as I was writing this that I have really focused on mobility, but as that’s not in the 52 week challenge I carried on regardless. And my favourite image must be the dancer – although I’m quite happy with the Tommy Cooper quote too!
Next week is “Integrity”. A challenging word for Toy photography, that’s for sure. See you next week!