For Lyn Miller-Lachmann

A Reply

Shelly wrote a most interesting piece on the nature of square pegs and round holes. She pointed out she may not be fitting into this community of toy photographers. Some of you agreed wholeheartedly and gave me some further food for thought and public disagreement discussion.

First of all the gender diversity (I am taking these in a different order and you can all blame the rebel inside me for this). I knew when I used the word photograpers testosterone I was asking for a gender biased reply or wink from Shelly, yet I was surprised to see quite a few reactions of people (read woman) actually agreeing with this view that toy photography is a male dominated field. I must admit I am surprised with this, cause while there are quite a few male toy photographers out there, the list of seasoned female toy photographers is equally long, and I doubt there is a true gender bias to men. Off-course boys and their toys and the eternal star wars discussion may give a view that we are living in a boys world, but here are some good pointers that may tell us a different story.

Almost 50% of all posts here on Stuck In Plastic have been written by women. More than 50% of the book exchanges I did last year during my significant twelve were with women. My list of toy photographers I follow on Instagram includes quite a lot of women, and I promise I will dedicate this Feature Friday to a first selection of great female toy photographers just randomly selected from my following list. And last but not least, some of the people I follow are truly gender neutral and I have no clue if they are male or female. I personally have been mistaken in the past for being a female toy photographer. Who cares ? Why would it matter if you are a male or a female photographer of all things plastic ?

The second point Shelly made was about age (it was her first, but like I said I like to take them in random order). I clearly remember the day when we were discussing age, and Shelly discovered that I am much younger than her. Almost ten years younger, a lifetime, while my kids most probably call me kind of old. I was told early on that you don’t discuss age with woman (at least not in public), but given that Shelly opened the door, I cannot let it pass. I don’t know how old Mike or Vesa are, but they for sure are passed their twenties, and do qualify as adults. I also know Shelly does not want to be called an AFOL but she is for sure an APOL (Adult Photographer of LEGO), just like Mike, Vesa and myself who are well beyond their twenties. I don’t think it really matters if you are in your thirties, forties, fifties or even sixties. Age does not matter, it just adds to your story. When I travel with Me2 and his plastic friends across the globe, I don’t feel awkward to take my plastic friends out for a photoshoot.
I am still a kid at heart.
Enjoying my toys.
Telling my stories.
And our adult workbench of of wooden kegs is filled with men and woman of varying age, size and experience and starts to feel like a shore full of pebbles. They may all look the same, yet each of everyone is different and unique.

Third. Being the odd one out and the rat race of being first versus throwing the proverbial brick in the ring. Mike only recently said in one of his latest posts, the amount of toy photographers was growing and for those of you who remember the early days of IG and Flickr, you will have to agree we have kind of gone main stream. I am sure if Gartner would do a study on LEGO Toy Photography following their hype circle they would place us in the slope of enhancement. By design the amount of quality (toy) photographers increases like a bell curve (which also implies that the amount of bad pictures increases).

People do take their toys out and practice their skills. Toy photography is no longer an obscure sub section of product or macro photography, but is well on its way to become a mainstream photo genre just like nature, portrait, sports, boudoir or wildlife photography. For some it is documenting their toys, for others it is learning the trade, and for some others it is telling a story, but for all of us it should be fun. Even when @pulup takes his photography into the social criticism and explores the more journalistic and political genre of photography, using plastic is fun.

So it really saddened me when I read Andrea felt like being the odd one out and considering to throw the proverbial brick in the ring for all the reasons outlined above by Shelly.

As I said there and then to Andrea, and here on the blog, our workbench of pegs feels like a beach of pebbles. And a pretty diverse one.  We have pebbles of all gender and age. We have pebbles from all over the world. We have pebbles who like the latest and greatest toys, and we have pebbles who make iconic images with classic plastic from an older age.

We are pebbles.

Each and everyone unique, sharing our passion for plastic.

Just another pebble (or was it a peg).

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8 years ago

So much stuff I want to reply to here :) I don’t have any numbers to back this up, but I haven’t felt a massive disparity in the number of female photographers in the toy photography population, but it does depend where you look. Take a wander through the Blythe doll groups on Flickr, there is some amazing photography there, it’s hugely popular, and it’s almost all female. The LEGO themed sets and Star Wars in general is currently marketed towards a male audience, and that’s probably why this area is skewed towards males. I’d love to see what the… Read more »

Shelly Corbett
8 years ago
Reply to  Balakov


Why don’t we create a “Toys” category on one of these photo sharing sites? It is high time one was created!


Shelly Corbett
8 years ago

You make a lot of great points here Boris and on some level I do agree with you. I do take exception with your comment that I like to play the gender card. I find it fascinating that the original post that this is responding to inspired a lot of discussion. The majority of the comments came from women, who shockingly felt the same way as I do. I think it is easy for male privilege to dismiss a woman’s point of view as nonsense… It’s no wonder that women have created groups like the Blyth doll groups mentioned by… Read more »

Andrea Mad_Phoenix
Andrea Mad_Phoenix
8 years ago

Thank you Boris for mentioning me in this post, it is appreciated. I’m holding off on throwing in the brick for right now. I’m hoping Spring and finally having nice weather will get me inspired. In terms of gender, I think further studies are needed. There are so many factors that can affect a person’s photography, gender, age, life experiences, camera equipment, indoors, outdoors, etc that you can’t just say men vs women. But I hold no degrees on such matters, just my collection of plastic. In other news, I realized for the 3rd time I’ve found that logging onto… Read more »

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