Over the past week we stumbled onto the work of up-and-coming photographer Alex Burchill  @toyssandstuff and his increasingly impressive portfolio.

The image that first came across our feed was an incredibly somber image of Cap bloodied and bruised but was executed in such a precise and clean manner that we instantly sat up and started to take notice of his wider body of work. So we reached out to find out how Alex created his shot and to give the opportunity for him to have his say on his own photographic process.

Alex Burchill

I’m Alex Burchill, 26 year old amateur photographer from Dublin, Ireland. I do not shoot professionally although it is an aspiration of mine. I’ve always loved photography and especially collectible photography. I’ve been an avid collector for over 4 years now and have run a popular toy blog sharing news and photos of the collectibles I like. I always admired the photographers who deliver some really amazing shots and it’s something I wanted to do for a long time. In early 2016 I got a cancer diagnosis and collecting really helped me deal with that, and that’s when I decided to pursue a passion which was always there but I never explored. In November I started expanding my knowledge of photography and a month later I was ready to delve into this world and share my creativity and passion for something I had loved for a long time.

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For my image analysis, I chose my recent series ‘Avengers Down’, the first photo in the run featuring Captain America. This series in intended to show the Avengers, a heroic group of heroes, in dangerous and life threatening situations. I shoot the photos in a striking, powerfully bleak way so that it fits in with the theme of loneliness, desperation, darkness and death. The actual photo was shot outside in fading daylight, against a worn down surface. The intention behind this was to make it look like a war torn environment or somewhere unfavourable. It’s bleak, dank and dark, there’s no signs of life, its all concrete and decaying, very dark and sad.

I had been looking to develop creatively as an artist, getting out of the studio and into more realistic styles of shooting. When I shoot my collectibles in a studio environment its to show off the subject, to present it as it is, but a lot of them are made to look real, they are interpretations of characters that exist in their worlds, so when I left the studio look and went for this shot, I wanted to try and capture some of the realism it portrays.

This was a leap for me in photography, I stopped seeing a singular way of shooting, and it opened my eyes to the fact that the world itself, many places I wouldn’t normally think twice about, when scaled down could be apart of their world. It translated well in this case. I chose to do the main colour portion of the photo using practical effects, I had a few types of acrylic paint so I went and painted what I wanted in the area I chose using a standard paint brush, I then mixed the paint with water and added more to the area, to make it look like it had been dripping down through the cracks on the wall, simulating real blood.
After this I added my subject and viewed the shot through my lens, it wasn’t quite right at first but I had limited time take the photo because of the fading light, something about it was off, so I went through several poses and changes to the scene before settling on what I wanted.
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When I changed things around, swapped parts, moved my camera, and looked at the photo from different angles, I still took shots, even bad ones, because I knew in editing I could still choose that one perfect shot, early on in the shoot I knew already I had the best shot but I kept going until it became to dark, just on the off chance I could out do myself and push my vision to the limits of what I could achieve.

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Post editing was where this photo came to life. There was a huge green hue off the wall, which didn’t work well with the theme of the photo, but after desaturating the image I got the look I wanted to achieve. It looked immediately darker, more bleak and disturbing. When I looked at what I created and thought about what people would interpret from this, seeing a hero, a symbol for hope and good, something strong… Dying and injured, alone and desperate, it felt powerful, and disturbing and I had hoped people would see it this way because while the image may be depressing it also shows something positive.

It shows the connection people have with these heroes, the emotion they feel when they see them hurt or in a situation like this, it reveals the bond people have with them, the love and emotional connections they have formed, and that’s the beautiful side of this photo series.
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A huge thank you to Alex for really going to extra mile in providing a rich content base for this breakdown article of his latest Captain America themed shot. Its always great to catch a photographer on the up-and-up and to watch them mature and evolve their skillset as we predict this is exactly what Alex will do so be sure to head over to his page @toyssandstuff and show your support.

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