Setting themed challenges is one of our favourite ways of testing the mettle of the photography community and so we turned out challenge over to Illan aka @uncanny_toy_photography to create a themed series based around the single word “Obsolete”. The series that was created perfectly touches upon the theme word in imaginative and inventive ways proving to us once more the value of challenge based features.
Obsolete was certainly a strange word for me. It’s never anything I’ve thought about, feeling old or useless. I’ve never met anyone who regret’s being old or dislikes their age. I’ve never felt useless before so I really had to start thinking about what actually makes someone feel obsolete.
It’s only a matter of time before I become like them
Then it hit me… death. What’s worse then watching those around you fall before you were ever able to do anything about it? There’s the awful realisation that you will die, and as a soldier, you will be replaced.
I tried to capture the Scout Trooper’s mindset of realising that he doesn’t matter to the Empire. He is another trooper with a number instead of a name. I think black and white should only be used to show detail and convey darker feelings. The colour can distract the viewer from those thoughts.
Who would’ve thought the faceless soldiers feel emotion?
This shot is meant to have the same themes and emotions as the last one, but this time with another person having to watch this Trooper feel emotion. Not only is the Trooper realising his own mortality but whoever is watching this is seeing a Trooper have feelings. For those who live within the Star Wars universe, this would be an extremely rare sight to see.
Troopers aren’t meant to show their face. A face can show fear, weakness, or sadness. But to see a Trooper who was never meant to show that, is a strange and depressing sight.
Just a helmet
This shot may have the same themes as the previous two but now it’s been broken down into it’s simplest form. There are no bodies. There’s no one in this shot at all. Yet just a lone helmet, sitting in the desert, can tell a story. Maybe this trooper is dead. His head was blown off by a Rebel missile. That Rebel doesn’t care for who was under that helmet. He’s probably forgotten that there’s an actual living, breathing, person under all that amour. It’s an easy thing to forget.
Or perhaps this Trooper quit. He’s done being nothing but a number his whole career. His life isn’t meant for the Empire to control. So he decided to throw away the armour and commit treason against the Empire. But he doesn’t care anymore what Vader or Palpatine thinks. Or even his drill sergeant who molded him into this faceless creature. He’s letting down everyone who has pledged allegiance to them. But he doesn’t care. He’s done being a another useless tool.
Who knows why that helmet is there.
Just because I’m old, doesn’t mean I’m useless.
I do have a meaning of Obsolete that isn’t as morbid. I feel that it can be hopeful or endearing term instead. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the first old man you will see in Star Wars. He’s seen everything. To him these are the newest Troopers. He had lived with the Clones thirty years ago, and they were his friends.
But times have changed. These white clad soldiers are now his enemies. They are meant to destroy his old ways of the Jedi Order. There is a new power in place and he is not meant to be a part of it. However, it’s the ways of the old and “forgotten” Jedi that are about to keep him alive. He may be an old man, but he can fight.
Huge thanks to the Exclu Collective for giving me this word. I had to put a lot of thought into these shots and the meaning behind all of them. A good change of pace for me and I really enjoyed the challenge. Can’t wait to see what the Exclu Collective has me do next.
A big thank you to Illan for taking the time and dedication to craft this image series for our theme challenge. To see more of Illan’s work simply head over to @uncanny_toy_photography on Instagram and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the series in the comments below!