I have tons of respect for Sgt Bananas… and that’s a statement I never thought I would say. The Sgt, real name Johnny Wu, is a photographer that specializes in toy photography. An still somewhat new and growing art form where photographers use toys as their models instead of people. Something that just wasn’t possible years ago. But between the quality of the toys improving, the advancement of tools like photoshop and some great imagination, you can get a photo that tells a story like the following:
Your mind almost fills in the story. Years after the battle on Hoth, the Empire returns and there is a valiant Rebel pilot who ejected from his snow speeder but likely died before help could get to him. Between the elements and what wildlife that can survive on that frozen hell, all that is left of him is skeleton, his blaster and his helmet. Its an amazing image that could’ve been painted, but the realism of photography adds more weight to the image. You could get cosplayers, but that’s a lot of coordinating for a single picture. You could just get a single guy in a Snow Trooper outfit, but it take so much extra work to get the overlays right. But a half dozen toys off your shelf, a hand full of coarse salt for snow falling and you’ve got your image.
A collection of Wu’s work is being put together by Dynamite Entertainment as part of a Kickstarter. The book looks cool and they have some pretty interesting incentives from other books from Dynamite to getting your favorite toy shot by Wu. On the page, Wu explains his passion for this kind of work:
I’ve been a toy collector my whole life. I’ve always had a strong connection to toys, but it wasn’t until I started taking photos of them that I felt that I was able to share how special they are. Ten Frames Per Second is my lifelong love of toys and photography coming to life. I never stopped being a kid, and I hope that my photos reach the inner kid in all of us.
One of my favorite things in look at his work is that there is no crossover issues. You want ET to meet Marty McFly, snap a picture. Batman vs Daredevil, snap a picture. Heck, with Sideshows new line of James Bond figures, you can have Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig and the rest all in action together. Here are some more of Wu’s work and check out the kickstarter page.