© 2016 Barry Mountford

'FANTASTIC PLASTIC' a break from reality.

September 1, 2017


What started out as a little bit of fun with my son turned into a full blown project which has given me and my son some quality time together enjoying things we both love, photography can be time consuming but having this time with my son has been priceless! So where did it start?  Well with the 'WALKING DEAD'  I know weird or what! How can a popular tv show full of gore have anything to do with my young son? That part had nothing to do with him actually but it was the start of  this journey.

       Below are the first images created using toy figures, yes thats right TOYS! (who wants to grow up?) I found photographing and lighting a 6 inch tall plastic figure quite challenging at first as lighting these small objects directly or using the wrong modifiers made them look plastic,yes they are but i wanted a more realistic look I wanted  to create an image that at first glance looked real, that in itself was also a good challenge.  Combining my skills in photoshop to create a realistic looking composite image (train track shot) didn't seem enough so I decided to build a small set to further sell the fake if you like (wood, mud and rocks shot) With these two test images complete I felt compelled to investigating the possibilities of photographing more toys.


 I have great memories growing up watching Bruce Lee with friends as a young boy, so I decided to create some images of the legend allowing me share these memories with my son took me right back to spending time with my friends, a great feeling!  I came across some very realistic figure heads of Bruce Lee which are hand painted that coupled with a 1/6 th scale articulating body and an authentic looking out fit had me itching to create another  realistic image!

Now If I hadn't told you it was plastic at first glance would you of noticed? I was very happy with the results! Heres a behind the scene video of the process.

 Great fun creating these images but it didn't stop there, I was contacted by PIXAPRO who asked if they could use the video on there channel  having used there products in the video which obviously I said yes to and delighted to do so! I was then asked if I could take the set down to the Birmingham Photography Show to demonstrate there products and also the lighting setups over the 4 day event which I was honoured to do so and quite taken back that this fun project had opened the door to meet some really nice people! Now me being me I decided that the original set wouldn't be good enough for Photography show so i set about building a new set,   I had the game of death scene in mind. 



  Using 4 Pixapro 580 mkii flash   and a range of  magmod modifiers I lit the scene and photographed it with the Tokina 100mm macro lens. The results the whole process of building the set to lighting and photographing had me hooked!  


And this is where me and my sons venture starts, coming back from the show he was super enthusiastic to create some images with his toys I on the other hand wasn't to sure how I could create a cool looking image with these toys he showed me, which weren't realistic looking or made very good to be honest! so for a while we just played together with his toys, all his superheroes toys ( his friends his heroes) and this got me thinking.


 lets turn these small plastic toys into one epic looking image bigger than life and one that would make my son go WOW! The above image was the result but I didn't want to stop there, this group of superheros are his friends, his gang, and they needed a new member!

 This image hangs proudly framed  on his wall. We also put together a photo book with all the images we have created so far.


 Heres a little behind the scene video I put together.


This Journey in photography with my son has been really fun, I have no idea where it will go if anywhere but one thing I do know is the longer it goes on the more fun we will have together and that is priceless.



below are more images we have created together and a few more behind the scenes videos.





One of my favourite images, this figure had to be built from scratch painted and weathered to create a more realistic image which you can see the process in the short video. The ship we used is a £1 toy !




Using PlayArts variant models we created some cool looking images with batman, photographing backgrounds and and shooting on a 50 grey backdrop then combining them in photoshop.







 Another fun creation this time using Kotobukiya stormtrooper figures, in the video you can see the whole process in the studio using fake snow rocks and water and smoke to create the set.




Creating more Star wars themed shots below this time my son wanted some action in them.









This whole Journey has been fascinating, it has given me and my son so much fun and enjoyment and will continue to do so and has introduced me to some really great people and opportunities,  who would of thought that toys could do this, a break from reality is a great escape when life gets busy, I don't think life was meant to be so serious! Enjoy what you do no matter what it is and have fun!










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