Last year I tried to set goals to improve my toy photography. My two primary goals were forcing myself to take more outdoor photos and find a story I could develop as a long photo series.
The first one has been fulfilled more than I ever expected. I did take more photos outdoor to the point that I’ve almost stopped doing indoor toy photography. There are different reasons, that combined, led me to this situation. Even though in the year to come I’d like to go back to indoor photography (and working with strobes), I don’t know if this will end up with photos I consider successful. And it doesn’t matter. What matters more is the second goal.
Indeed, while I haven’t been able to come up with a story I could develop as a long photo series, I’ve managed to find something close enough to it. Forcing myself to take photos outside while thinking about how to develop a story that could work across hundreds of photos, forced me to focus on a limited number of characters. While it’s a bit different from what I initially envisioned it’s as good because those series were what I’ve been looking for since I started toy photography two years and a half ago.
So what’s to come for 2017? I’ve recently moved to Northern Finland, so there will definitely be more photos to come. There’s no doubt I will expand my ongoing series. I will of course still experiment with other figures because first, it’s fun, and it’s good to find inspiration too. I’ll try to expand previous photo series, such as Gollum and Spooky Girl, that I didn’t work on as much as some other. I also want to go back indoors to improve my skills with artificial lights. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether I successfully fulfill these goals or not. I have another goal that I think is much more important and a bit less related to taking photos itself.
I’m glad 2016 is over, overall it’s been most of the time a very stressful year, and sometimes a bit depressing too. However, there are a few moments too that were so good that they are among the best of my life. One of those big highlights is the Toy Safari in Hamburg. I had been waiting for this for a whole year. I was expecting a lot out of this, and for this reason, I was also afraid that I could be disappointed by the outcome. In the end, not only all those expectations were fulfilled, but it’s been even better than what I ever imagined.
Following the toy safari, I had the chance to be able to visit some of my new friends. First while going to Copenhagen for work, then while relocating by car from Belgium to Finland. Even though it was so short and I was so tired because of driving for hours, visiting those friends has been one of the best moments since Hamburg. I can’t wait to see them again, I can’t wait to see the ones I couldn’t visit, and I can’t wait to meet new toy photographers. So my primary goal for 2017 is to put the social back into social media. (And I’m glad I’m not the only one.)
I don’t know yet how I will achieve this goal. I can’t wait for the next European Toy Safari, and I hope I will be able to attend the one in San Francisco. But this won’t be enough. Moving to Finland didn’t make it easier. While I live now in a location I find deeply photographically inspiring, it’s also a very remote location. It won’t be easy to find many other toy photographers around, but I want to give it a try. I’m also prouder than ever to be a toy photographer, and I want people to know it. (Again I’m glad I’m not the only one: here and here) So another goal I want to set is to push toy photography forward. I want people to know about it, and one of the best thing that could come out of this would be to convert people to this wonderful hobby.