We recently got the chance to delve into the backstory of California based photographer Ardy Jo and get a handle of his photographic process when out on a shoot.
Ardy’s work is always at its most striking when he utilises the orange glow of either a sunset or sunrise as it adds a unique warmth to his shots and really helps to set the scene and ground his characters especially with his Star Wars orientated shots. Check out what Ardy has to say below .
“As an intro, I am a singular entity existing in the digital realm of Instagram with physical existence within the Mojave Desert of Southern California. I prefer to keep a degree of anonymity online and go by a spin on a childhood nickname, with a zero, with no particular story or meaning behind it except my big brother decided bequeath me with it one day.
I have been collecting various figures and toys for the majority of my 32 years of existence, but I must admit my collecting has greatly increased with all the hype for Episode 7 in 2015 and after attending the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in 2015. I have had a great love for all things Star Wars since watching the original trilogy on LaserDisc countless times at my grandma’s house as a kid. I do not recollect an instance where we just watched 1 movie at a time, it had to be EP IV, V, VI with brief intermissions of flipping discs over every 30 mins or so. Good times. Member berries? Empire Strikes Back is my all time favorite.
My favorite line has landed on the Hasbro Star Wars Black Series 6-inch figures, particularly the originals from 2013. These guys are what I saw in featured photos from some movie accounts and the @starwarstheblackseries account, and they blew me away! Had to give it a try. I really prefer the troopers, droids and aliens over “humans”, the plasticy-ness of the faces are just… meh. I have had to resort to getting some knock-off figures for some of the older figures, but you really can’t tell. I must admit the Beast Kingdom Egg Attack Action figures are so awesome/cute! The C3PO/R2D2 and Sandtrooper/Dewback is totally on my need list!
In addition to Star Wars, I do love movies in general but Star Wars just offers so many possibilities when it comes to scene shots. I am just a huge fan of everything it has to offer. The universe contains so many aspects relative to real-life. Classic good vs. evil, balance, love, adventure, discipline etc. The relatable content mixed with the fantasy angle is really appealing to me and I think that is the primary magnet that has got me hooked on toy photography. Imagining something and then creating it in real life, easily enough in 1/12 scale, is satisfying and addicting, and fits well in toy photography it seems.
Since my physical setting is the desert, I have embraced its natural landscape as my little slice of Tatooine. I have come to truly enjoy my little walks in the desert, usually before work. My eyes scan for something to incorporate with whatever plastic buddies I happen to have in my pack. Little dry patches of backlit grass glisten in the sunrise, dust flutters, the sun’s rays emerge over the ridge and the silence brings temporary tranquility. The variety of shots you could get on any given day depending on weather and location really take out the monotony for me.
I am enjoying the positivity of the toy community for the most part since my involvement, starting about 1 year ago now. It is nice to find so many Star Wars fans! I haven’t been shooting for very long but imagine artistically I may get burnt out from time to time and may need a break eventually. For now I am enjoying the creativity and experimentation of shooting. I take shots based on my personal preference, whether the execution/outcome is as good as it could have been or not. When I ain’t having fun anymore, or my camera breaks, I’ll stop.”
A huge hand to Ardy for sharing his story with us – Its always great to get to know the individual behind the lens and behind the shots that we see on our feeds every day. You’ve still got time to vote in our Word of The Month competition if you haven’t already. You can see who’s won when we unveil the person with the most votes on December 31st.