Japanese Instagrammer Hotkenobi is making quite a name for himself, gaining thousands of followers who appreciate his talent for bringing superhero action figures to (often humorous) life.
Hotkenobi is an Osaka-based action figure photographer who uses a combination of photography, storytelling, and photo editing skills to make plastic figurines seem like they’re very much alive. Whether they’re interacting with massive real world objects in funny ways or reenacting a battle from a recent Marvel movie, the shots convey a surprising realism given that you know, beyond a doubt, you’re staring at little plastic toys.
Scroll down to see some of our favorite Hotkenobi creations, and then give him a follow on Instagram for even more action figure shenanigans.
UK-based photographer Joe Giacomet has published a new set of portraits based on one of the world’s most popular paintings. The photos parody the iconic “Chinese Girl” painting (also referred to as “The Green Lady”), created back in 1952 by Vladimir Tretchikoff.
Here’s the original painting, thought to be the most reproduced print in the world:
Giacomet shot the series for COY! Communications, which wanted images to show off the talents of their resident make-up artist, Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti. Rothstein-Longaretti transformed graphic designer Kate Henderson into the “Chinese Girl” by painting her face and costume.
“Once the make up was complete, there was so much shading that it required very little lighting so I completely simplified it to a mostly top lit set up, with just a touch of key light from one direction and it looked great,” Giacomet says. “We started by bouncing 2 lights into V flats to give the background a nice flat tone, this was bounced back in with a poly on the other side. I then added two lights bounced off the ceiling, which gave us a good general top light.”
“I then added in a Chimera XS Soft box to use as a subtle key light, and finally a large soft box behind camera, quite far back, to take out just a touch of the darkness in the shadows from the top lights,” he continues. “I also added in two ½ stop nets, one above the back of Kate’s head to create a bit more shape to the hair. The other was just under the key light to take a bit off the costume, I felt didn’t need as much light as the face.”
Here are the portraits that resulted from the shoot (in addition to the faithful recreation at the top, titled “East Croydon Girl”):
Credits: Photography by Joe Giacomet. Concept / Art Direction: Mark Denton Esq. Make-up & Costume Painting: Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti. Hair: Anna Longaretti. Costume: Emily Wilson. Stylist: Sabina Piccini. Retouch: Oli Carver. Art Department: The Joy of Sets. CGI Bubble: A Large Evil Corporation. Production: Juan Coello Hollebecq. Design Company: COY! Communications
Comedian John Crist made this humorous 3-minute video poking fun of the “The Millennial Marriage Proposal,” in which a girlfriend being proposed to (played by Megan Batoon) is too focused on the resulting photos and videos to enjoy the moment.
“Because what’s the point of getting engaged if you don’t post it on Instagram?,” Crist says.
Recently, I have seen a number of misconceptions floating around regarding the best way to improve oneself as a photographer. As a highly experienced photographer whose photos have been on the bottom of the Flickr Explore page on numerous occasions, I feel qualified to correct many of these assumptions and damaging tendencies.
Most photographers of lesser artistic vision will tell you that the best way to become a better photographer is to buy better gear, or shoot more photos, or travel to exciting locations, or participate in more art study and appreciation. In fact, all these strategies are objectively wrong, and I would know, because I have an Instagram.
Indeed, the best way to become a better photographer is to sit in a dim, empty room for 8 hours a day with nothing but your camera, and hone your skills as a visual storyteller.
At first it may seem counterproductive, but trust me, immersing yourself in a world with no interesting subject matter and no dynamic light and no compelling stories is definitely the quickest way to transform yourself from a mere shutterbug to a full-fledged artist. Genuine human interaction and leading an interesting life that satisfies one’s curiosity and desires is counterproductive to becoming a truly transcendent photographer.
After spending the last four months in my basement perfecting my photographic technique, I have really begun to see significant improvement in my photography. Before, I was merely taking pictures I thought would look interesting. But now, I appreciate the hidden artistry behind every piece of carpet fiber, every square inch of beige drywall. Sitting in an empty room has truly transformed the way I go about the photographic process.
To reiterate, experiencing the world might be a somewhat valid way to live out meaningful experiences and meet interesting people for some, but just because you’ve experienced life beyond the scope of your 200 square foot fluorescent-lit basement does not mean you’re a better photographer because of it.
Indeed, living a real, fulfilling life might somehow be attractive, but true artists are made not from real world experience, but from sitting in a dark, closed off room for 56 hours a week honing their photographic skill in isolation.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Literally.
About the author: Duncan Mullen is a Seattle-based photographer and social media influencer best known for his 100+ follower Instagram presence through the @self_defenestration brand. He enjoys long walks on the beach and browsing the Insta explore page for fresh PNW heaterz.