Written by | Themed Shoot

Dave Pettine gives us a break from Black Series Week by way of an exclusive themed shoot titled “The Other Side” utilising lesser known figures paired with practical effects that combine for one really special shoot from beginning to end.

The Other Side – An exclusive shoot by photographer Dave Pettine

“Every explicit duality is an implicit unity” – Alan Watts

“The Other Side”, that was the theme given to me by the fantastic crew at Exclu, and immediately I began to think, what does ‘the other side’ mean to me? How would I capture images that show these interpretations? There are so many ways to interpret this theme, both literal, and in concept, and the shots I created try to capture both.

To me ‘the other side’ implies many things. As the above quote mentions, the other side implies a duality, but in that duality, there is unity. The other side to me is also the greatest unknown. We don’t know what it holds, how we’ll get to it, what it looks like, how it feels, and if we’ll ever get there. We fear it. It keeps us from moving forward at times. But we always must push on and explore the unknown, the other side, in order to truly find out what’s in store.

The images below are my interpretation of “The Other Side”. All effects are practical (except for the final image):


I can’t think of ‘The Other Side’ without hearing Jim Morrison growling to ‘break on through’. In this image, that’s exactly what’s happening. This unit is about to break down the barricaded door, and break on through to the other side.  (figures used – Marauders Task Force Spec Ops, Recon Ops, and Valkyrie)


In this image, the fallen soldiers represent death being the other side. Also, the way I had this scene go down is that they never made it to the other side of the trench they were trying to cross, highlighted by the solider caught up on the barbed wire fence. (figures used – Rise of Cobra Shockblast, GI Joe 50th Anniversary Steel Brigade, 25th Anniversary Stalker, 50th Anniversary Spirit Iron Knife)


In this image these soldiers are entering the woods, and the soldier in the foreground is taking one last look before they enter, checking behind them (their other side), and also taking one last look not knowing what they’ll find on the other side of the forest, or if they’ll make it. I also wanted to show the backs of the figures since toy photos typically showcase the fronts. (Figures used – Marauder Task Force Spec Ops, Recon Ops)


In this image, Cobra Commander and Destro are running through the battlefield of fallen Cobra troops, trying to get to the other side and reach the safe house. This shows that sometimes a battle must be waged, and we must fight to get to the other side. (Figures used – 25th Anniversary DVD Battles Destro, Dollar General Exclusive Cobra Commander, 25th Anniversary Crimson Guard)


This split image is the interpretation of the other side being opposites. Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes are blood brothers, but fight on opposite sides and most Joe fans don’t often think of one without his opposite (other side) blood brother. So in essence they represent the duality and unity in the quote, and to me the other side of Storm Shadow is Snake Eyes, and vice versa. (Figures used – GI Joe Renegades Amazon Exclusive Storm Shadow, GI Joe Retaliation Tactical Ninja Team Snake Eyes [v65])

I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of this theme. Thanks again to the awesome folks at Exclu for this opportunity, and for all their hard work in showcasing the great work of our talented community!! Thanks everyone!!

Dave has a knack for shining the light on licenses and figures that are often outside of the mainstream and that is a very refreshing ability that allows his content to stand out and have that extra depth. Be sure to head over to Dave’s Instagram portfolio @the_left_hand_side for much more.

Last modified: May 9, 2017

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