We’re really excited about this one. Photographer Fred Hiles brings his own flavour to bare on an Exclu themed shoot as he tackles the “The Boss” and who better to fit that that the great Hutt gangster himself – Jabba.

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About a week ago I was offered the opportunity to take part in a themed project for the Exclu Collective After a few emails with their creative director I decided to give it a go. During our discussion, and my review of their website, I’ve noticed all the amazing featured photography of great toys. I began to question why I was approached on Instagram. I had asked Jack Sturman if it was alright to use vintage toys, to which he replied “Of course, feel free to use whatever figures and whatever creative direction you wish!”. So, I accepted the featured opportunity.

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That brings us to the themed project “The Boss”. Did anyone have The Return of The Jedi children’s story book? The one with the picture cover of Luke on Jabba’s sail barge. In the first few pages there were pictures of the main characters with small descriptions. One read, “Jabba The Hutt, the intergalactic gangster who rules Tatooine.” If that’s not boss, I don’t know what is. Coincidentally, Kenner’s Jabba The Hutt action play-set happens to be one of my favorite play-sets of all time. I feel it fits the theme perfectly.

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Every boss has their seat at the head of the table, Jabba is no different with his throne which doubles as a dungeon, according to the box. Armrest, hookah pipe, and favorite pet – Salacious B. Crumb (action figures sold separately). This vintage toy is over 30 years old, and in my opinion, still holds up surprisingly well today. Which is why I’ve chosen to photograph it in a simple manner to showcase the strength of this character. He doesn’t need fancy backgrounds, complicated displays, he just commands your attention. Did I mention it has a collar to chain prisoners? … I mean, it’s a rope but it was the 80s, we all knew what it was.

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Every intergalactic gangster has their crew, servants, enemies and captives. Other characters pictured with Jabba include: Jawa, See-Threepio (C-3PO) With Removable Limbs, Bib Fortuna, Gamorrean Guard, Squid Head, Klaatu (In Skiff Guard Outfit), and Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight Outfit). All figures mentioned are all part of the vintage Kenner Star Wars line. A large part of the inspiration comes from Kenner’s card backs and Jabba’s packaging.

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Also, featured is Hasbro’s The Black Series Jabba The Hutt, which happens to be a modern release. Even though he came without a throne, or accessories of any kind, he still commands attention and has massive appeal. Hopefully Hasbro will release denizens of Jabba’s Palace in a near future.

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I still question why, among all the amazing creative features, I was asked to participate in this project. Even though my images may be simplistic, and I am an amateur photographer at best, it’s easy to see how Jabba captured people’s imagination over 30 years ago. Jabba is captivating today. He was often the boss in my toy box, and is still a boss on my toy shelf. I’d like to thank Jack at Exclu for the feature opportunity, and I’m happy to be featured among great photographers.

An incredible shoot from Fred which really goes along way in proving his credentials as one of favourite community photographers with his slick use of that solid backdrop which places all the focus on his arrangement. To see more of Fred’s work be sure to head over to his Instagram page @indgo1 and for more of the latest toy photography shoots stay tuned to Exclu.

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