Secret Lives of Stormtrooper Toys

Bonnie Burton | May 7, 2008

(photo by Cindi Geeze)

Ever wonder what your action figures do when you’re not around? Star Wars fan and photographer Cindi Geeze pondered that same thing and decided to take snapshots of toy stormtroopers in action — dunking donuts, drinking coffee, having dinner and so on.

I chatted with Cindi about her entertaining candid shots of toy troopers in action.

Why did you decide to take photos of your stormtroopers and other Star Wars toys in action?
The stormtroopers aren’t my first or only toy subjects, but they’re really the most fun, and let’s be honest, my main reason for taking ANY toy photos is self-amusement. I bought my first Stormie after being inspired by Waihey’s brilliant Star Wars toy shots, and marvelling at the realistic poses she got them in. I had to have one. Then I had to have another. And another. I’m up to seven right now, which isn’t really all that many. I need more. I want an army of them.

They’re wonderful subjects because they just lend themselves so well to nearly every situation. Despite, or maybe because of the fact that they wear expressionless helmets, they can reflect any mood, any emotion, any message with amazing clarity. And they’re just clowns, somehow. Hapless fools. Or is that just mine?

(photo by Cindi Geeze)

Which photo is your favorite and why?
I guess it would probably be the “Dinner is Served” photo. I’d just bought a bunch of dollhouse props and printed papers for backdrops at the hobby shop and didn’t have a real plan for them until I made dinner, which was hamburger and gravy over mashed potatoes. The light bulb came on and the Stormies got hungry. Everything came together perfectly, somehow.

Its popularity on Flickr really blew me away. I’d never had ANY photo take off like that. It actually caused people to notice the other Stormtrooper shots I’d posted, which was pretty cool. I’ve got a handful of photos that, when I look at them again, I still think “Wow, I took that. That’s MINE!” This photo is one of those few. Oh, and it still makes me giggle.

How do you come up with specific scenarios for your photo sets?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, really. Sometimes it’s a pose they wind up in that sparks inspiration. Sometimes it’s the props, or maybe a location (because, of course, they, and other figs, often travel with me). Sometimes it’s the task at hand.

Sometimes it’s others’ works or input. I actually started a Stormtroopers group on Flickr based around that — my two moderators and I volleyed Stormie shots around and I thought there should be a Stormtrooper group for the inspiration of us all. Finding that, oddly, there wasn’t one there already, I made one. I’m always amazed and entertained by the wonderful shots that find their way into that group. That’s a constant motivation to create quality work.

I have a lot of fun putting them in scenarios that everyone can relate to, rather than in their normal “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” setting. I mean, come on, we’ve ALL had our legs humped by screeching undead monkeys in traditional Singaporean garb, right? Right?

Do you have tips for fans who want to start creating cool Star Wars toy photo series like yours?
Imagination is your best tool. Use it well. Some of the best advice I got was that perception is key — so long as you can make your viewers believe the scene, you’ve done the job. Of course, you have to have at least a little skill with the camera — if the photo’s too dark to view the believable scene or blurry beyond recognition, then how will anyone know it’s believable?

Just play. After all, they ARE toys!

Check out Cindi Geeze’s Stormtrooper Action Figure Photos

(photo by Cindi Geeze)


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