Written by | Community Voice, Featured

Part 2 of a 2 articles series from Nate Strong (@coronafour) as he explores the stories behind the communities of Toy Photography.

Last time we visited the subject, our stories were focused in or around water. This time around, we start with the other end of the spectrum — fire!

Jason Michael

Jason Michael’s story (@jasonbmichael) proves playing with and shooting toys can be quite treacherous. While setting up for one of his first ever shots, he attempted to work in some sparklers to create an explosion effect. This is a common technique so nothing new, right? Problem is, he did it inside his house. And to make matters worse, he tossed in some flour for a snow effect and little pieces of wood for debris. With the help of his father, the sparklers were lit, the debris was blown with a drain blaster and BOOM! A huge cloud of fire erupted right in his living room. Unfortunately, he hadn’t known that the airborne dust particles and flour made for a highly flammable combination. Jason said his action figures, along with his father’s arm hair, caught fire for a split second. But, he did get the shot, and after a good laugh, he decided not to ever do that again. Hear that, kids? Don’t try this at home. Especially in your home.


Oli Jess

Oli Jess (@chewbacookie) ran into a similar problem when he also tried using sparklers for the first time. And even though he wisely set his up outside, he did put them up on stool. With a cushion. And a plastic plate. Of course the sparklers burned through plate and caught the cushion on fire. Thankfully he had a glass of water handy to douse the flames. But now he has to keep his stool covered with a blanket to hide the burn marks. He also vowed never to do that again. We at The Exclu Collective are holding both of you fellas to your word.


Eric Hill

Our last couple of stories revolve around curious passersby. Eric Hill (@heatfour) shared one about lying off the beaten path taking shots when a hiker yelled out, “Are you dead, man?” I’m not sure what kind of answer this dude was expecting to hear if he was indeed a corpse. But Eric simply responded that he was all good – just taking pictures of toys. That got a quizzical head tilt from the stranger who just continued on without another word. All which spurred an idea from Eric to create a tee-shirt that reads, “I’m not dead. Taking toy photos.” Hey, Eric — if ya make them, count me in for a large.


Lizzy Repp

And lastly Lizzy Repp (@force_of_light) offered a lighthearted tale that took place last summer. She and her family were hiking around Lynx Lake in Arizona where she noticed a huge area of sand that made her immediately think of Tatooine. She had brought some figures with her, as any good toy photog would do, so she stopped along with her reluctant family and began to shoot. Artoo got perfectly placed and Lizzy laid down in the hot sand (which she pointed out was irritating and got everywhere) when a family passed by and stopped themselves. A little kid cheerily piped up “Daddy, look! It’s BB-8!” As Lizzy was overwhelmed by cuteness, the dad quickly corrected his child in the most serious tone you can think of with a, “What?!? Son, that’s not BB-8! That’s R2-D2!” This really got Lizzy rolling in the sand laughing. And it encouraged her even more to continue shooting her toys in public. You never know what you’ll encounter! Or the lessons you’ll help impart!


Stay tuned for more stories behind the shots. And if you have one to share, please reach out to @exclucollective or @coronafour for a chance to be featured in an upcoming article.

Last modified: August 23, 2019

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