The next photographer to take on our themed challenge is Austin Anderson who tackles his assigned theme word “Depleted” with a greatly varied shoot from C3PO to Steven Strange.
Kudos to however Exclu landed on the word “depleted” because the idea posed an immediate challenge for me. Depleted made me think of someone that felt drained or worn out but not someone that would give up. So, that’s the emotion I was looking to get.
C3PO was the first figure I thought of. I actually Imagined him in a different setting, and obviously a different position and a different purpose. I took those shots and didn’t like a single one. So, after getting my other shots I went back out to reshoot later in the week with no real plan. I just knew he was a good fit for that look I wanted. I love playing around with saturation or coloring in general. It can really alter the mood of a photo. I think the vintage look, it has a nostalgic charm to it and transport you somewhere else.
For my trooper pic, I knew I wanted to do something without a weapon. I found this spot on the beach and the idea of a friendly but competitive footrace came to me. I also liked the idea of one of them being the Scarif and the other being the Driver. Both have that same helmet scheme but look different and I thought that was a cool contrast.
I thought Marvel Legends did a great job with Dr. Strange. I took 2 photos of him when I first got him and nothing since. The FX I’ve seen people use with him have been incredible and I felt like not using bright, lighting and magical elements wouldn’t do justice to the figure. However, his alternate hands gave me a great idea. Rather than firsts, they’re open and gave him a little more freedom to use them in a different way.
I thought Marvel Legends did a great job with Black Panther . Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘you literally said the same thing about Dr. Strange’ and you’re absolutely right. That said, it’s still true. The unmasked idea is nothing new but it’s an effective way to show someone reflecting. I envisioned a green and brown background that would have that awesome jungle look and feel. But during the editing and just playing around with removing that element of color I found the B/W shot far more compelling. I haven’t met a single artist in any medium that hasn’t questioned if they’re doing the right thing for them. Because that challenges to reflect and look ahead and it can give you an opportunity to shape the next steps forward and that’s rarely, if ever, a bad thing.
I thought Marvel Legends did a…nah just kidding you get where I’m going. I actually broke Groot’s leg getting him in this position. It was avoidable and unnecessary but hey, it happens. I wanted to show a gentler side of Rocket Raccoon and highlight the friendship between them. When it comes to friendships, sometimes it’s more important to leave the words out and simply let your presence say, “You’re ok.”
Always looking to do something different, I got this nighttime shot of Han Solo. Talk about a great figure for action or exuding confidence. To make him depleted, you need to knock him off his feet. This moment of weakness is out of his character, in my mind, and I’m rooting for him to get back up. The night vision green adds some urgency to that.
Let’s get real. I said that I wanted to capture emotion. There was no excuse for me to not use my Hot Toys Rey. It’s the Cadillac of my collection. The Cadillac I keep in my garage because I’m afraid of scratching it. It’s an incredible figure. I think it’s super funny that there are people that think Rey is Disney’s way of making Star Wars “Politically Correct”.
I mean seriously I relate to her character far more than my favorites like Han Solo, Obi-Wan or even Senator Jar Jar Banks…hahaha nah here’s the deal, the best thing about Star Wars is that it’s for everyone. We can escape to it and we can also take that inspiration back to our real lives. Even after these years it still holds your curiosity and keeps your imagination – It’s fun!
Thank you for taking the time to read and view my work. And thank you Jack and to the Exclu Team, this was a fun challenge.
A huge thank you to Austin for curating a really diverse body of work for this exclusive shoot featuring some real stand out shots. Be sure to catch more of his work over on Instagram @toy.at.heart and for all things Toy photography stayed tuned to Exclu.