Photographer Uses Pop Culture Toys To Create Awesome Action Photography (30 Pics) Interview With Artist
If you think that toys are just for kids, meet Jared Middleton, who will change your opinion and make playing with toys seem badass. Middleton, known as Sirdork to his 68.2k Instagram followers, is a toy photographer who brings popular action figures to life in cinematic miniature scenes. The New York-based artist uses any elements the Earth provides us with, like water, dirt, or snow, unexpected things you can find at home, and even fire and explosives to create awesome practical effects in his photos that look just like screencaps from a movie and make lifeless figures appear full of life.
"I’m just a massive fanboy and collector! Nothing brings me more joy than trying to bring these figures and characters to life, and even telling a story about them in a photograph!" the photographer told Bored Panda.
If you are curious how they're made, Middleton also thought you might be, so he reveals the behind-the-scenes of each photograph in his short videos on social media. What do you think about Middleton's creative photos? Let us know in the comments!
In an interview with Bored Panda, Middleton shared how his passion for creating epic action scenes originated: "I am a massive collector turned photographer. I had been collecting action figures for years and eventually started taking photos of them outside for Instagram. Eventually the art of taking photos became more important to me than the collecting!"
Middleton has a massive collection of figures of pop culture characters he can choose from in his photography projects.
"My collection of figures has gotten very large and very diverse! But over the years I’ve definitely evolved my collecting habits and only will buy figures I want to shoot in a photo. I personally love series like Star Wars Black Series, SHFiguarts, Mafex, Amazing Yamaguchi Revoltech, Hot Toys, and many more."
The artist says that the inspiration for action photos comes from everywhere: "It could be a new movie or TV show I see, or even a small puddle I see that could become a massive war swamp in a toy photo!"
He added that there is a big toy photography community on Instagram where you can always turn for ideas and inspiration.
"All of the characters I shoot are characters I love from franchises that I legitimately connect with and enjoy," Middleton admits. "Shooting a figure and character that I love and am passionate about makes the process that much more fun and rewarding! Although it can be fun to shoot and experiment with something I’m completely unfamiliar with!"
The artist stands out by using practical effects in his action scenes instead of taking the advantage of the digital age. And while it might be more challenging and time-consuming—it's also more fun and creative.
"I started out using mainly practical effects instead of digital because of my lack of knowledge with digital effects. Over the years, my skills with digital effects have gotten stronger but I’ve come to really love and prefer the practical side of things. Going out there and getting dirty is just too much fun!"
The artist walks us through the process of shooting action scenes from idea to a final result.
"Each photo can be completely different in process. But I will usually start with an idea, then I’ll pose my figures inside, then bring them along with my equipment outside, sometimes just on the pavement. Then I’ll shoot and take several photos with different effects and lighting. After shooting, I’ll go inside and bring up the photos in Adobe Photoshop on my laptop. I’ll combine/layer photos together to create one epic final product! Sometimes after all the work, the photo doesn’t come out how I want it, and I will scrap it all and start over! But sometimes it will all come together exactly how I want it."
You can learn what gear he uses, from figures to camera and other equipment, in a detailed video on his YouTube channel here. You will find it particularly useful if you'd like to try to create your own action scenes!
We asked Middleton what are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of his job.
"What has become the most challenging aspect is coming up with an idea for a photo that is not only awesome and original, but more awesome and original than my last photo! It can be pretty tough to constantly come up with something better than the last, but it is always SO rewarding when I execute something I’m actually very happy with."
Follow Sirdork on social media for more amazing action scenes, and you can be sure that he will appreciate the support:
"I’m very lucky and fortunate to have a group of people following my work and constantly giving me positive feedback on my photos. I love the art for what it is, but it makes it THAT much better to have a great reaction from people who enjoy my work!"