Well, today I got the news from SEAF. Of the five photos I submitted, they accepted four.
My silly little minifigs are going to be hanging in a show of “erotica” and I couldn’t be more chuffed! And shocked, actually. I was expecting that they might want one. Maybe. Four? Holy hell…
And the one they rejected? Honestly, I threw that in as a lark without really expecting anything so I’m doubly thrilled.
It teminded me of an argument I got into on a toy photography forum a while back. It was about where toy photos “fit” in the grand scheme of photography and the author was of the opinion that, nope, we could slot our photos anywhere we believed they fit. We should think outside the limitations of “just” toy photography.
Now, I agree with that to a point, but the examples given weren’t thought through. According to them a picture of a surfing Lego minifig surely belongs in a sports photography group, as does a picture of a Terminator action figure belong in a celebrity photography group since it’s clearly a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And if you had a bunch of minifigs posed around a building, that’s street photography.
Which is where I really got into it because those parallels are sketchy at best and insulting at worst. I mean, have you seen what photographers will do to get the best surfing photos? Jesus! And as nice as it is to have someone praise my dinosaur photos as being almost realistic…
I really like it, but let’s be real. The only way you’d see this image in National Geographic (or wherever) is if they did a special toy issue in the same way that Hasbro and LucasFilms will hold contests for the best toy photography featuring their action figures.
Sure, street photography is “just” candid shots of people, but there’s more to it. It’s about moments and humanity. Hell, I’ve been in groups that forbade any pictures taken indoors since clearly the mandate was photography on the streets. Strict, but fair.
It all ended in a damp squib of being told that if I didn’t believe my art belonged anywhere but Instagram, that was my problem…
Here’s the thing: I think my toy photography belongs in galleries. Absolutely, one hundred percent, some of my best work should be blown up to some ridiculous sized print and hung in a white walled cube for patrons to walk by in wide eyed wonder (at the prices). I want to see it in stores for sale. I want a book deal.
Between this and my studio work, I want to take over the world.
But some of that is knowing where the work doesn’t belong. I’m a straight white male photographer, my work does not belong in a space devoted to Japanese printmakers. Simple.
After that, though? It’s finding where I can slot my ideas in, maybe even without them knowing they wanted it. Like the places that are selling my Lego cards, both mundane and kink. Like the places I’ve shown my work.
The show’s in April. I’m vending in Tacoma in March. I’m sending line sheets to shops up and down the west coast this week, including Kink.com because why the fuck not.
And I’ll show you exactly where my work belongs.